Mylne research

Now an adjunct, while full time researching, my lab was interested in plant molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry and chemical biology. My lab was established at UWA in 2013 and moved to Curtin University mid-2021. Recent substantive funding:

  • LE230100156 (Bond, Vrielink, Moggach, Mylne, Bowman, Sarkar-Tyson, Ramsay, Smith) "Integrated crystallisation facility"
  • LP200301658 (Mylne, Stubbs, Williams, Lee) "Rethinking and revitalising herbicides to counter resistance"
  • Nexgen-UWA Herbicide Partnership (Mylne, Stubbs & Haywood) with Nexgen Plants
  • DP190101048 (Mylne, Stubbs, Haywood, Maxwell) "Putting new herbicide targets on the table"
  • DP190102058 (Mylne, Rosengren, Hara-Nishimura, van der Hoorn) "Buried treasure: bioactive plant seed proteins evolving inside hosts"
  • For all funding see section Funding overview at Curtin staff profile


    From my PhD starting in 1997 to when I retired from science in 2024, I've worked across disciplines in plant biology in five institutions as below:

  1. UQ (Botany), 1997-2001

    Plant genetic engineering, Arabidopsis genetics, plant development.

  2. John Innes Centre, 2001-2005

    Epigenetics, molecular genetics, vernalization, flowering time.

  3. UQ (IMB), 2006-2012

    Peptide biosynthesis, molecular biology, NMR, mass spectrometry.

  4. UWA, 2013-2021

    Structural enzymology, RNA-seq, peptide evolution, herbicides.

  5. Curtin University, 2021-2024

    Herbicides, protein biochemistry, fungicide metabolism, mass spec.

Lab Alumni

I have been a supervisor or a co-supervisor for 49 students pursuing post-graduate qualifications at UQ, UWA and Curtin (Honours, Masters, PhD). Nine students obtained their PhD based in my lab; namely Alysha Elliott, Achala Jayasena, Benjamin Pouvreau, Maxime Corral, Amy James, Jingjing Zhang, Mark Fisher, Kirill Sukhoverkov and Sam Nonis. Where'd they go afterwards and, perhaps, where are they now (updated February 2024)?

  • Alysha Elliott: Post-doc IMB UQ, now Biointelect
  • Achala Jayasena: RA at CSIRO
  • Benjamin Pouvreau: Fellow CSIRO, now Inari
  • Maxime Corral: Fellow CSIRO
  • Amy James: Post-doc Bristol U.
  • Jingjing Zhang: DPIRD, now Shenzhen Hospital
  • Mark Fisher: Post-doc CCDM Curtin University
  • Kirill Sukhoverkov: Post-doc John Innes Centre
  • Sam Nonis: Assoc Dean St Catherine's College

Mario Bani, 2018-2022

Mario earned his Masters in peptide biochem from the IMB at UQ working on recombinant production of spider peptide toxins. He obtained his M.Phil using Arabidopsis genetics and recombinant protein biochemistry to validate new herbicide targets.

Joel Haywood, 2015-2024

Joel did his undergrad and 3-years in industry in the UK before a PhD on protein structure at the CAS in Beijing. He worked on a range of protein projects seeking to bring a structural understanding of biosynthesis and bioactivities. He works on at CCDM.

Karsoon Ng, 2022-2023

Karsoon did his undergrad at Curtin University and did Honours with us on novel herbicidal compounds against HMGR by working closely with Joel Haywood. He used large scale docking combined with cheminformatics to find potential new herbicides.

Arundhati Singh, 2023-2024

Arundhati did a M. Biotech. at UWA with Chalie Bond before joining. She works on fungicide metabolism using the OrbiTrap, and collaboratively with Dr Hendra Gunosewoyo for synthetic versions of important metabolites found in planta.

Jordan Campbell, 2022-2024

Jordan did his undergrad at Curtin using the OrbiTrap to examine biotransformation of flutriafol in planta. For his PhD he's continuing and working collaboratively with Dr Hendra Gunosewoyo to confirm compounds he is finding in planta.

Jordi Muria Gonzalez, 2023-2024

Jordi's PhD was on fungal metabolites, he dissected wheat barley diseases at CCDM before driving work at CCDM on the in planta biotransformation of commercial fungicides using tandem mass spectrometry and chemical approaches.

Karen Breese, 2020-2024

Karen is an organic chemist with a from PhD at ANU. She worked Epichem before joining the herbicide team at UWA. Karen remains based in the lab of Assoc. Prof. Keith Stubbs, where she works on organic chemistry synthesis of new herbicides.

Joshua Mylne, former lab head

Josh has a PhD (2002) from UQ, did a 4-year post doc at the John Innes Centre (UK) before a 7-year fellowship stint with peptide chemists at the IMB, UQ. He founded his lab at UWA (2013-2021) then moved to Curtin (2021-2024) before retiring from science.

Kirill Sukhoverkov, 2017-2021

Kirill hailed from Russia where he worked on chemically modifying proteins. Kirill did his PhD on herbicides and new herbicide targets before heading to the UK for a 5-year post-doc in the lab of Tung Le on bacterial chromosome segregation.

Sam Nonis, 2017-2021

Sam did his undergrad in Singapore, Honours at UWA then started a PhD with us in structural biology. He worked on concanavalin A collaborating closely with Joel Haywood and Charlie Bond. He's now Associate Dean at St Catherine's College.

Vicki Cornford, 2019-2022

Vicki did her undergrad at Curtin University then did Honours in our lab. She stayed on to complete a M. Phil in novel herbicides around the P450 area using recombinant protein and genetic approaches and with generous support from a GRDC scholarship.

Mark Fisher, 2015-2020

Mark did his undergrad and Honours at UWA before joining our lab for a PhD. He did his PhD on cyclic peptide biosynthesis, worked briefly during COVID as a post-doc before joining Lars Kamphuis at CCDM to work on plant disease.

Michael Wallace, 2017-2022

Michael is an organic chemist who did his PhD in the lab of Assoc. Prof. Keith Stubbs. During his PhD he helped with several projects and dabbled with antibiotics for their potential new herbicides, especially ciprofloxacin and analogues.

Amy James, 2014-2018

Amy hailed from Canada and did her PhD in protein biochemistry. She revealed Bowman-Birk Inhibitors are widespread through the plant kingdom plus helped understand the activity of butelase 1 being the first to make that AEP recombinantly.

Julie Leroux, 2013-2016

Julie joined the lab as a research assistanat and worked on a range of projects in the lab, but especially antimalarials as herbicides. After a productive period supporting the lab, she moved to Canberra and started a PhD at ANU.

Jingjing Zhang, 2015-2020

Jingjing joined the lab to do a PhD and pursued two topics. Firstly she revealed a large class of helical hairpin peptide buried in seed protein precursors. She also initiated some work on the statin class of compunds for herbicides.

Kalia Bernath-Levin, 2013-2015

Kalia joined after a post-doc at the Technion in Israel. She worked on recombinant AEPs and unpicking their cyclisation mechanisms. She returned during COVID for a short industry contract before taking up an industry position in Sydney.

Grishma Vadlamani, 2019-2022

Grishma is a structural biologist who joined as a post-doc and while working with us, was able to solve the crystal structure of HPPK-DHPS, the target of the herbicide asulam. More generally, she explored antibiotics for their potential as herbicides.

Colton Payne, 2018-2021

Colton did his PhD at UQ in the lab of Assoc. Prof. Johan Rosengren where he focused on solid state peptide synthesis, folding and peptide NMR. He published some nice work on hairpin peptides as well as cyclic ones without any Cys or some with two disulfides.

Bastian Franke, 2013-2017

Bastian obtained a PhD from UQ working in the lab of Assoc. Prof. Johan Rosengren where he focused on sunflower seed proteins, proteomics, recombinant protein work and NMR. He collaborated with Achala Jayasena from our lab.

Ben Pouvreau, 2014-2017

Ben came from France to do his PhD on seed storage proteins using plant transgenesis, proteomics, genetics and peptide mass spectrometry. He explored the robustness of peptides evolving within latent regions of other pre-proteins.

Maxime Corral, 2014-2018

Max hailed from France and did his Masters in New Zealand. He was the spearhead for the new line of research in herbicides at UWA. Max explored large libraries of antimalarials, characterised several and some of their target proteins.

Achala Jayasena, 2012-2016

Achala studied peptide evolution using over 130 seed de novo transcriptomes coupled with molecular phylogenies and supported by peptide mass spectrometry. She could show the stepwise evolution of (cyclic) peptides in the daisy family.

Alysha Elliott, 2009-2013

Alysha was based at IMB at UQ where she explored the evolutionary origins of the Bowman-Birk mimic peptide, sunflower trypsin inhibitor 1. To do this, she used molecular biology, peptide mass spectrometry and NMR for structural biology.


Sam Nonis, 2021 PhD (UWA)

"Having spent a year experimenting with the directed evolution of proteins at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore, I became interested in how protein structure relates to function. I pursued that interest while learning to become a structural biologist in Josh’s research group, where I was a PhD student from 2017 to 2021. Josh is keenly aware of the important role that he plays as a group leader. He aims for his lab members to become and be successful scientists with promising careers. One way that Josh does this is by ensuring that we learn to be independent researchers. For example, Josh makes sure that every research group member learns to write their own stories for their research papers. He encourages and facilitates this process by running frequent writing retreats, where he imparts fundamental skills for manuscript writing. Josh also encouraged me to take the lead on a collaboration, where I learnt important soft skills often overlooked in research. He also made it a point to increase his presence when the going got tough. I completed a successful PhD thanks in large part to Josh’s careful guidance." (2 June 2021)

Dr Maxime Corral, 2018 PhD (UWA)

"I moved to Perth in 2014 to start a PhD in the Mylne research after completing my Master’s Degree in Plant Biotechnology from the University of Otago (New Zealand). Prior to arriving to Australia, I was granted a highly competitive PhD scholarship for international students (UWA) with support and help from Josh. My research projects looked at unconventional herbicidal compounds and their modes of action in Arabidopsis. From my PhD experience, I have learnt a large array of molecular, biochemical and genetics techniques. Josh made sure to equip me with the skills necessary for publishing high quality research articles which, I have no doubt, helped me obtain a post-doctoral fellowship at CSIRO in 2018. Hailing from France AND as a member of the LGBTIQA+ community, I was very grateful of being part of a lab that promotes inclusion, diversity and respect. Josh’s lab was affiliated to the Plant Energy Biology centre (ARC) and as such, I was extremely fortunate to have access to further laboratory equipment, growth facilities and peers’ expertise which greatly supported the success of my PhD at UWA." (27 May 2021)

Dr Amy James, 2018 PhD (UWA)

"I joined Josh’s lab as a PhD candidate after completing my Undergraduate and Masters degree at University of Victoria, BC, Canada. I submitted my PhD as a series of publications which included two published first author publications, one first author publication ready for submission, one co-authored published manuscript and one co-authored publication ready for submission. During my PhD, I developed numerous techniques in molecular biology and biochemistry. Along with Josh’s background in plant genetics and molecular biology, my co-supervisor Prof. Charlie Bond, with whom Josh maintains an active collaborative relationship, has exceptional knowledge and expertise in structural biology. Josh’s supervisory philosophy is to prepare his students for the next stage in their career by providing a well rounded and fulfilling experience. Beyond scientific ability, Josh encourages students to develop other skills important to a successful scientific career. For example, I had the opportunity to take part in all aspects of producing a published research article including writing of the manuscript, generating figures and writing the response to reviewers. He offers several workshops to assist in these skills including a photoshop/illustrator course and a bi-annual writing retreat." (9 Feb 2018)

Dr Alysha Elliott, 2013 PhD (UQ)

"Starting a graduate program in 2009 as Associate Professor Josh Mylne’s first primary PhD student was an exciting, challenging and rewarding time for us both. It was a great position to be in with a young and enthusiastic post doctoral supervisor who was keen to be by my side in the laboratory when needed as well as giving me the independence to find my own grounding and niche as a scientist. My thesis “A New Class of Daisy Seed Peptides” describes the discovery of a new and structurally diverse class of seed peptides. The majority of this work was [recently accepted] for publication in Plant Cell and other elements are currently being continued in the lab. I learnt a vast number of new techniques, as this project was multidisciplinary based on Josh’s plant molecular biology expertise, my own prior skill set in peptide chemistry and, via a strong collaboration with Dr. Johan Rosengren (NMR expert), structural biology. During my candidature, with the passionate support of Josh, I had the opportunity to attend international conferences, where I won student bursaries and prizes for my work, visited international collaborators to collect samples on a student travel award and competed in the GlaxoSmithKline student awards. My time in the Mylne research was highly successful and enjoyable thanks to a great group, of not only intelligent and enthusiastic but friendly and supportive young people." (21 Oct 2013)

Christina Delay, 2011 Honours (UQ), First Class, Dean's Commendation

"For my honours project, I set out to investigate how and when cyclic peptides first arose albumin genes in the daisy family. This project gave me the opportunity to use a range of different experimental techniques, including molecular biology, plant biology and protein chemistry. I received First Class Honours with a Dean's Commendation for High Achievement and my results will be included in a forthcoming publication [see here]. Josh is extremely passionate about his work and his enthusiasm certainly rubs off onto his students. The lab has a great dynamic, with a good mix of students and RAs who are always able to offer advice when needed. Additionally, the lab has a number of excellent collaborators. Next year, I will be starting a Ph.D. in plant sciences under the supervision of Assoc. Professor Michael Djordjevic at the Australian National University in Canberra." (3 Dec 2011)

Zaiyang Phua, 2010 Masters (UQ), Dean's Commendation

"I did my Masters in Molecular Biology in 2010 with Josh at the IMB on the genetic evolution of seed peptides and received a grade of straight sevens [7 is the highest mark possible] as well as the Dean's Commendation for High Achievement. It was a tremendously rewarding experience working under Josh and I have learned many invaluable laboratory techniques and skills which I will hold on to for my scientific career. I really enjoyed my time in the lab and Josh's dedication and passion towards his work will always be an inspiration for me. I now work at the Genome Institute of Singapore as a research officer performing next-generation sequencing." (17 Dec 2011)

Dr Kirill Sukhoverkov, 2021 PhD (UWA)

"After working for a couple of years in the field of enzyme chemistry my research interest drifted towards more into biology and I decided to find a biology focused PhD where my chemistry skills still could be relevant. That’s why in 2017 I decided to join Joshua Mylne research. Being educated in Russia, where the university system is quite different from Australia I had little understanding on how to write things like personal statement, CV and scholarship application. Therefore, I strongly doubted that I could get an offer from UWA. However, Josh understood my challenge and spent a lot of time and effort to help me, a complete stranger to him at that moment, to secure the highly competitive International Postgraduate Research Scholarship. During the four years in the Josh’s lab I learnt more than just a bunch of lab techniques and fancy Illustrator tricks. Most importantly I learnt how to grow idea into a project, and how to make a research project into a publication. So, if you are looking for PhD lab that will make you not a lab robot, but researcher then definitely choose Josh Mylne research." (11 September 2022)

Dr Jingjing Zhang, 2019 PhD (UWA)

"After I received my Masters degree in biophysics in University of Chinese Academy of Science, I joined the Mylne research in 2015 as a UWA PhD student. Thanks for Josh’s help, I was awarded the International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS) which was very competitive. During the next 4 years in Mylne research I focused on revealing the evolutionary origin of an ancient peptide family in seed vicilin and investigating the new herbicidal modes of action. Josh is perhaps the most passionate researcher you can ever find, and a very experienced supervisor as well. He’s always ready to help, and his insights in plant biology can always guide you through. During my PhD I learned a lot about molecular biology, peptide chemistry, bioinformatics, and structural biology, and got a bunch of co-publications including one first-author high quality paper in ACS Chemical Biology. Besides, I will always miss the numerous workshops that Josh hold, in which I have learned very useful manuscript writing skills, as well as the happy beer times afterwards!" (1 June 2021)

Thaveshini Chetty, 2019 undergrad volunteer (UWA)

"I joined Mylne research in 2019 as a UWA undergraduate student. Josh proposed a short project rediscovering Evolidine, a cyclic peptide first discovered in Australia. During this exciting project Josh was always very supportive and enthusiastic, he imparted his knowledge generously and patiently. He makes time to engage with all his students and fosters positive growth within his team, I felt lucky to be a part of his lab. He had a huge positive impact on my post-graduate goals and through my experience and research with Josh I gained confidence in my capacity to research and perform molecular biology techniques. Even better, I gained a publication before I had started my Honours [see here]. He is the dream mentor, and the Obi-Wan Kenobi of cyclic peptides." (10 Oct 2020)

Dr Achala Jayasena, 2016 PhD (UWA)

"I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from Sri Lanka and gained a Masters of Biology from Adelphi University, New York studying Arabidopsis genetics. With a desire to expand my skill set, I joined what would become the Mylne research (while Josh was hosted by the Craik lab at IMB, UQ) as a PhD candidate in 2012. I got to be the first student in the official 'Mylne research' at UWA where I continued working on my project studying the evolution of the dual-fate protein PawS1. My PhD journey (2012-2016) was an extremely successful and interesting one. I developed skills in de novo transcriptomics and proteomics in addition to strengthening my skills in molecular biology. I graduated in 2016 authoring six manuscripts in respected journals and I have a few more on the way. I was lucky enough to submit my PhD thesis as a series of publications. Despite being a small lab, we were well connected with big labs from whom we sought expertise in next generation sequencing, proteomics and daisy evolution. The lab always had a very friendly working environment and it was a pleasant surprise to see our lab head working in the lab along with us most of the time. Josh was a very supportive supervisor with a positive mindset, who helped me with all the steps in my candidature from the scholarship application to the thesis submission. I enjoyed my time in the Mylne research and thank Josh, my lab colleagues and our collaborators for their wonderful support." (2 Nov 2016)

Joseph O'Neill, 2011-2012 Summer, IMB Summer Scholar

"I was lucky enough to receive an IMB Summer Scholarship for an internship with Assoc. Prof. Mylne. I worked on a project that built on the effect antimalarial drugs have on plants. Specifically, I sterilised and sowed mutated Arabidopsis seed onto antimalarial-drug-containing plates of media, aiming to find a drug-resistant line. It is hoped that, given the shared evolutionary history between malaria parasites and photosynthetic plants, Assoc. Prof. Mylne's work in this area will help elucidate the mode of action of antimalarial drugs in parasites. Being in charge of my own project, albeit with expert guidance, I was able to learn and develop new skills that I was yet to do in my undergraduate education. I learned much about drug design and action, as well as practical skills like sterile technique, liquid and gas seed sterilisation, plant husbandry, making media, following scientific methods, researching techniques, and keeping a lab book. All of which will be useful for my science career. During my time I was supervised by the competent and engaged members of Assoc. Prof. Mylne's and Prof. Craik's group, and as my first experience of the research world my time in Assoc. Prof. Mylne's lab offered me invaluable experience and knowledge. As I am graduating from my B.Sc. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UQ in June, I feel I have made connections at the IMB that will serve me in my postgraduate education and my future career. I had a great summer and thoroughly enjoyed my time at the IMB." (13 Feb 2012)

Kate Martinac, 2011 Honours (UQ), First Class

"I recently completed my honours in B. Biotechnology on in planta peptide processing at the IMB and received First Class Honours. It was a privilege to have Josh as my supervisor and to work with such an intelligent team of researchers in state-of-the-art facilities. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the lab and found the experience both challenging and rewarding. I now work at QUT bluebox, assisting in the commercialisation of research outcomes." (30 Nov 2011)