Professor Peer Schenk works to address food and energy security concerns facing today’s world using science and technology. Through his role at the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences at The University of Queensland, Australia, Peer heads laboratories in both Algae Biotechnology and the Plant-Microbe Interactions.
The Schenk Lab Team
Algae for food, feed and fuel
We use microalgal strains that are highly efficient producers of oil, protein or nutraceuticals and further optimise these by using cutting-edge molecular biology and metabolic engineering tools. Microalgae are likely the only renewable source of fuel that could match our current and future demand without competing for arable land and food production.
Microbial communities associated with plants
We are using molecular profiling tools, such as functional gene microarrays and next generation sequencing, to characterise highly diverse microbial communities that are associated with plants to identify novel compounds for pharmaceutical and agricultural applications. This environmental transcriptomics (metatranscriptomics) approach captures microbial activity profiles with direct implications for crop cultivation (e.g. soil-borne diseases, greenhouse gas emissions, yield increase or decline).
Disease resistant plants
We use a Functional Genomics and Biodiscovery approach to study beneficial and parasitic interactions of plants with microbes. Arabidopsis is used as a model plant to study signalling pathways that enable plants to withstand pathogen attack or severe drought. The up- or down-regulation of specific key regulatory genes has led to disease resistance and drought tolerance, and this strategy is used to improve crop species.
Affordable water filtration
We have developed a low-cost filtration system that enables high-flow removal of microbial, colloidal and oil contaminants from water.
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