Current Grants

Australian Research Council Discovery Project (2019-2021) Putting new herbicide targets on the table. Mylne, Stubbs, Haywood.

Australian Research Council Discovery Project (2019-2021) Buried treasure: bioactive plant seed proteins evolving inside hosts. Mylne, Rosengren, van der Hoorn, Hara-Nishimura.

Australian Research Council Discovery Project (2016-2018) How scissors learn to glue: the catalysis of ligation by proteases. Mylne, Tawfik.

Recent Grants

UWA Research Collaboration Award (2017) Structural analysis of cutting enzymes that evolved to glue. Mylne, Haywood.

Bayer CropScience Grants4Targets Scheme (2016-2017) Ripping plant plastid DNA replication in two. Mylne, Stubbs, Maxwell.

Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (2013-2016) Genetic evolution of plant proteins with biomedical applications. Mylne.

Australian Research Council Discovery Project (2013-2015) A new and rapidly evolving class of plant peptides. Mylne, Panero & Schilling.

UWA Research Collaboration Award (2015) The structural enzymology behind a ligating protease. Mylne, Bernath-Levin.

Australian Research Council LIEF Grant (2014) Biomolecular Interaction Facility. Bond, Vrielink, Filipovska, Mylne, Small, Mancera, Oliver.

Australian Research Council Discovery Project (2012-2014) How do sunflowers make protein drugs in their seeds? Mylne, Rosengren & Suga.

UQ-UWA Bilateral Research Collaboration Award (2014) How do sunflowers produce both a seed storage protein and a potent trypsin inhibitor from the same gene? Rosengren & Mylne.

National Health & Medical Research Council Project Grant (2011-2013) Harnessing plants to produce peptide drugs. Craik & Mylne.

Australian Research Council Discovery Project & QEII Fellowship (2008-2012) Circular plant proteins with pharmaceutical applications. Mylne.

UWA-UQ Bilateral Research Collaboration Award (2012) Exploring the genetic origin of a protein hijack event in daisies with next-generation sequencing. Mylne & Whelan.

Research Projects and Opportunities

Our research examines the genetic events that evolve new plant proteins, especially ones with pharmaceutical applications. We're also seeking to discover novel herbicidal modes of action.

Studying the biosynthesis of plant-derived molecules that interest drug designers provides us with fundamental new knowledge about the ways that proteins evolve and tools to engineer drug-like proteins, be they natural or variants thereof.

In close collaborations with local experts in organic chemistry we have also embarked on new research that seeks to discover chemically new herbicidal compounds by exploiting a surprising phylogenetic connection between malarial parasites and plants.

Positions Available

Post-doctoral: We currently have no salaried positions open. Post-doctoral scientists can also considering applying for fellowships by contacting Josh Mylne with their CV at any time.

PhD student stipends: Interested students can apply with CV any time directly to Josh Mylne. UWA offers competitive scholarships for prospective international and Australian students. The UWA International Centre has just launched a central webpage that provides an overview of relevant sponsorship and scholarship opportunities by country specifically for international students here.

Honours: This year's Honours course started at the beginning of semester 1 (late February). Projects offered by Josh Mylne, honours information and the full UWA School of Chemistry and Biochemistry honours booklet may be found by contacting the School administration for a copy of the booklet via this website.

Undergraduate: Interested students can apply with CV any time directly to Josh Mylne. Schemes exist which provide scholarships to excellent students to conduct lab research such as summer projects. Enquire for further details.

Student Projects Available


Transcriptomics - Jim Whelan - Australia: Prof. Whelan is a plant biochemist and geneticist with particular interest in plant chloroplasts and mitochondria. His lab at La Trobe University is developing de novo transcriptome assembly in non-models plants which we are using to discover the origin of seed peptides in daisies. In 2012 we won a small grant to do this together and have used next-gen sequencing to study gene evolution, with our first work together published in Plant Methods (Jayasena et al., 2014).

NMR structural biology - K. Johan Rosengren - Australia: Dr Rosengren is an NMR structural biologist based at UQ's School of Biomedical Sciences who is expert in peptide and protein NMR. He is helping us solve structures of the new PawS-derived class of peptides. He was a chief investigator on a recent ARC Discovery Project grant we held jointly.

Daisy evolution - Jose L. Panero - USA: Assoc. Prof Panero is a world leader in the classification and evolution of one of the largest plant families, the Asteraceae. We are using DNA from his own collection, as well as samples obtained from the region surrounding Austin (Texas) in our own studies of peptide evolution.

Sunflower evolution - Edward E. Schilling - USA: Professor Schilling has long experience working on the taxonomy and evolution of members of the Heliantheae. We are currently working on genetic and peptide material that was initally collected around Tennessee and extracted in the USA, before being brought back to Australia.

Living chromatin dynamics - Caroline Dean - UK: We continue to collaborate with the Dean lab who are expert in Arabidopsis flowering time genetics and epigenetics. There they use a system Josh Mylne established during his post-doc to study the movement of a specific gene's chromatin in response to cold. The power of this system is it allows one to monitor the position of a gene within the nucleus in a whole living plant using uninvasive confocal microscopy. As the system is alive it allows the study of dynamic chromatin movement. The first publication from this work came online in September 2013 in Genes & Dev.

We support

  • Global Polythene

    A UK-based manufacturer and supplier of bags made of cellophane or glassine paper that are ideal for the collection and storage of seeds. To visit them, click here.

  • GLBiochem

    A Chinese company that specialises in the synthesis of peptides. To visit them, click here.

  • Fascination of Plants Day

    The first international "Fascination of Plants Day" will be launched under the umbrella of the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO). The goal of this activity is to get as many people as possible around the world fascinated by plants and enthused about the importance of plant science. Everybody is welcome to join this initiative, via their website.

  • Arab-gen newsgroup

    The Arabidopsis or Arab-gen newsgroup (bionet.genome.arabidopsis) is a forum primarily for researchers using Arabidopsis thaliana as a model organism. However, researchers doing genetic or molecular biology research in other plant systems are also welcome to read and post to the group. The purpose of the newsgroup is to enable rapid exchange of information between labs around the world to facilitate progress in research on Arabidopsis and general plant biology. One can subscribe to Arab-gen at this website.