Once again we received a strong field of nominations for the Goldacre award which recognises excellence in an early career researcher. I am pleased to announce that this year the Goldacre medal will be awarded to Mark Waters during ComBio 2015 where he will delivery a plenary lecture on the genetics of a hormone that was discovered in bushfire smoke, so this will have an Australian flavour.
Originating from the UK, Dr Mark Waters joined the University of Western Australia in 2010 to work on the genetics of karrikin responses in Arabidopsis. Derived from burnt plant matter, karrikins are seed germination stimulants that resemble strigolactone hormones. Dr Waters’ research has elucidated early events in karrikin and strigolactone signalling, specifically involving the karrikin receptor protein KAI2. His work has established that KAI2 regulates
diverse aspects of the plant life cycle, and may be a receptor for an unknown plant hormone. Evolutionary conservation of KAI2 suggests that KAI2-dependent signalling is a fundamental and ancient process common to all plants.
I congratulate Mark for his research achievements. I would also like to applaud the other nominees, who sadly missed out, but whose research was also of very high calibre.