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Frances Sussmilch

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Frances Sussmilch

ARC DECRA Fellow

Room 372d , Life Science Building

+61 3 6226 7583 (phone)

Frances.Sussmilch@utas.edu.au

Dr Frances Sussmilch is an ARC DECRA Fellow in Biological Sciences at the School of Natural Sciences. Her research focusses on investigating the genes that control stomatal responses to dehydration and their evolution.

Biography

After graduating with a Bachelor of Biotechnology at UTAS, Frances completed Honours and a PhD with Associate Professor Jim Weller’s group investigating the genes controlling inflorescence development in garden pea. She continued as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in legume flowering, before shifting research focus to investigate the evolution of genes controlling stomatal movements in land plants with Dr Scott McAdam and Professor Tim Brodribb. In 2017, she was awarded a Short-Term Postdoctoral Research Grant from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to complete a research project at the Julius-von-Sachs Institute for Biosciences at the University of Würzburg (Germany), and continued working at the Institute until 2020 as a postdoc in the groups of Professors Rainer Hedrich and Dietmar Geiger, investigating the evolution of guard cell ion channels and signalling pathways. Frances secured an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award to return to UTAS in 2020 to investigate the genes that control rapid biosynthesis of the plant stress hormone abscisic acid (ABA) in response to low humidity. Frances is also an Associate Investigator for the UTAS node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Plant Success in Nature and Agriculture.

Career summary

Qualifications

DegreeThesis titleUniversityCountryDate of award
PhDGenetic Control of Inflorescence Development in PeaUniversity of TasmaniaAustralia2014
BBiotech (1st Class Hons)Genetic Control of Inflorescence Development in PeaUniversity of TasmaniaAustralia2008

View more on Dr Frances Sussmilch in WARP

Expertise

  • Molecular biology
  • Plant genetics
  • Plant evolution
  • Plant dehydration stress responses
  • Stomatal regulation

Research Themes

Frances' research aligns to the University's research theme of Environment, Resources and Sustainability. Her research interests are focussed on understanding the gene networks underlying stomatal responses to water stress. In higher plants, stomatal pores, which are controlled by flanking guard cells, allow CO2 to enter the leaf for photosynthesis, while also regulating plant water loss. Stomatal functional behaviour likely evolved from a relatively simple, irreversible opening system, enabling spore desiccation in early land plants (as seen in hornworts and mosses) to a highly dynamic, sensitive and reversible system capable of responding to numerous environmental signals (as seen in flowering plants). In-depth knowledge of the mechanisms that control plant water balance is valuable for future optimisation of water use in crop and forestry systems, as well as our capacity to anticipate the effects of a changing climate on plants and ecosystems.

Fields of Research

  • Plant physiology (310806)
  • Biological adaptation (310403)
  • Plant cell and molecular biology (310803)
  • Biological physics (510501)
  • Conservation and biodiversity (410401)
  • Sequence analysis (310206)
  • Gene mapping (310506)

Research Objectives

  • Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences (280102)
  • Grain legumes (260303)
  • Climate change adaptation measures (excl. ecosystem) (190101)
  • Environmentally sustainable plant production (260199)
  • Hardwood plantations (260201)
  • Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences (280111)

Publications

Total publications

25

Highlighted publications

(6 outputs)
YearTypeCitationAltmetrics
2020Journal ArticleDreyer I, Sussmilch F, Fukushima K, Riadi G, Becker D, et al., 'How to grow a tree: plant voltage-dependent cation channels in the spotlight of evolution', Trends in Plant Science pp. 1-12. ISSN 1360-1385 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.tplants.2020.07.011 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 15

Co-authors: Hedrich R

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2016Journal ArticleMcAdam SAM, Brodribb TJ, Banks JA, Hedrich R, Atallah NM, et al., 'Abscisic acid controlled sex before transpiration in vascular plants', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113, (45) pp. 12862-12867. ISSN 0027-8424 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1606614113 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 50Web of Science - 51

Co-authors: McAdam SAM; Brodribb TJ; Nichols DS

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2016Journal ArticleMcAdam SAM, Sussmilch FC, Brodribb TJ, 'Stomatal responses to vapour pressure deficit are regulated by high speed gene expression in angiosperms', Plant, Cell and Environment, 39, (3) pp. 485-491. ISSN 0140-7791 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/pce.12633 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 87Web of Science - 80

Co-authors: McAdam SAM; Brodribb TJ

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2015Journal ArticleSussmilch FC, Berbel A, Hecht V, Vander Schoor JK, Ferrandiz C, et al., 'Pea VEGETATIVE2 is an FD homolog that is essential for flowering and compound inflorescence development', Plant Cell, 27, (4) pp. 1046-1060. ISSN 1040-4651 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1105/tpc.115.136150 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 26Web of Science - 22

Co-authors: Hecht V; Vander Schoor JK; Weller JL

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2012Journal ArticleBerbel A, Ferrandiz C, Hecht V, Dalmais M, Lund OS, et al., 'VEGETATIVE1 is essential for development of the compound inflorescence in pea', Nature Communications, 3 Article 797. ISSN 2041-1723 (2012) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1801 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 50Web of Science - 51

Co-authors: Hecht V; Taylor SA; Weller JL

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2011Journal ArticleHecht V, Laurie RE, Vander Schoor JK, Ridge S, Knowles CL, et al., 'The Pea GIGAS Gene Is a FLOWERING LOCUS T Homolog Necessary for Graft-Transmissible Specification of Flowering but Not for Responsiveness to Photoperiod', The Plant Cell, 23, (1) pp. 147-161. ISSN 1040-4651 (2011) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1105/tpc.110.081042 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 121Web of Science - 112

Co-authors: Hecht V; Vander Schoor JK; Ridge S; Knowles CL; Liew LC; Murfet IC; Weller JL

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Journal Article

(24 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2021McAdam SAM, Duckett JG, Sussmilch F, Pressel S, Renzaglia KS, et al., 'Stomata: the holey grail of plant evolution', American Journal of Botany, 108, (3) pp. 366-371. ISSN 0002-9122 (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/ajb2.1619 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2

Co-authors: McAdam SAM; Hedrich R; Brodribb TJ

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2020Dreyer I, Sussmilch F, Fukushima K, Riadi G, Becker D, et al., 'How to grow a tree: plant voltage-dependent cation channels in the spotlight of evolution', Trends in Plant Science pp. 1-12. ISSN 1360-1385 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.tplants.2020.07.011 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 15

Co-authors: Hedrich R

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2020McAdam SAM, Sussmilch FC, 'The evolving role of abscisic acid in cell function and plant development over geological time', Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology pp. 1-7. ISSN 1084-9521 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2020.06.006 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 3

Co-authors: McAdam SAM

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2020Reiter N, Phillips RD, Swarts ND, Wright M, Holmes G, et al., 'Specific mycorrhizal associations involving the same fungal taxa in common and threatened Caladenia (Orchidaceae): implications for conservation', Annals of botany, 126, (5) pp. 943-955. ISSN 0305-7364 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/aob/mcaa116 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 3

Co-authors: Swarts ND

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2019Ammitzboll H, Vaillancourt RE, Potts BM, Harrison PA, Brodribb T, et al., 'Independent genetic control of drought resistance, recovery, and growth of Eucalyptus globulus seedlings', Plant, Cell and Environment, 43, (1) pp. 103-115. ISSN 0140-7791 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/pce.13649 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1

Co-authors: Ammitzboll H; Vaillancourt RE; Potts BM; Harrison PA; Brodribb T; Freeman JS

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2019Brodribb TJ, Sussmilch F, McAdam SAM, 'From reproduction to production, stomata are the master regulators', The Plant Journal, 101, (4) pp. 756-767. ISSN 1365-313X (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/tpj.14561 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 13Web of Science - 13

Co-authors: Brodribb TJ

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2019Sussmilch FC, Roelfsema MRG, Hedrich R, 'On the origins of osmotically driven stomatal movements', New Phytologist, 222, (1) pp. 84-90. ISSN 0028-646X (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/nph.15593 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 13Web of Science - 14

Co-authors: Hedrich R

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2019Sussmilch FC, Schultz J, Hedrich R, Roelfsema MRG, 'Acquiring control: the evolution of stomatal signalling pathways', Trends in Plant Science, 24, (4) pp. 342-351. ISSN 1360-1385 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.tplants.2019.01.002 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 18Web of Science - 17

Co-authors: Hedrich R

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2018Zhang F-P, Sussmilch F, Nichols DS, Cardoso AA, Brodribb TJ, et al., 'Leaves, not roots or floral tissue, are the main site of rapid, external pressure-induced ABA biosynthesis in angiosperms', Journal of Experimental Botany, 69, (5) pp. 1261-1267. ISSN 0022-0957 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erx480 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 33Web of Science - 30

Co-authors: Nichols DS; Cardoso AA; Brodribb TJ; McAdam SAM

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2017McAdam SAM, Eleouet MP, Best M, Brodribb TJ, Carins Murphy M, et al., 'Linking auxin with photosynthetic rate via leaf venation', Plant Physiology, 175, (1) pp. 351-360. ISSN 0032-0889 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1104/pp.17.00535 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 21Web of Science - 21

Co-authors: McAdam SAM; Best M; Brodribb TJ; Carins Murphy M; Cook SD; Dimitriou T; Gelinas-Marion A; Gill WM; Maconochie M; McAdam EL; McGuiness P; Nichols DS; Ross JJ; Urquhart S

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2017Sussmilch F, McAdam SAM, 'Surviving a dry future: abscisic acid (ABA)-mediated plant mechanisms for conserving water under low humidity', Plants, 6, (4) Article 54. ISSN 2223-7747 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3390/plants6040054 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 14Web of Science - 16

Co-authors: McAdam SAM

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2017Sussmilch FC, Atallah NM, Brodribb TJ, Banks JA, McAdam SAM, 'Abscisic acid (ABA) and key proteins in its perception and signaling pathways are ancient, but their roles have changed through time', Plant Signaling and Behavior, 12, (9) Article e1365210. ISSN 1559-2316 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/15592324.2017.1365210 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 18Web of Science - 16

Co-authors: Brodribb TJ; McAdam SAM

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2017Sussmilch FC, Brodribb TJ, McAdam SAM, 'Up-regulation of NCED3 and ABA biosynthesis occur within minutes of a decrease in leaf turgor but AHK1 is not required', Journal of Experimental Botany, 68, (11) pp. 2913-2918. ISSN 0022-0957 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erx124 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 40Web of Science - 40

Co-authors: Brodribb TJ; McAdam SAM

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2017Sussmilch FC, Brodribb TJ, McAdam SAM, 'What are the evolutionary origins of stomatal responses to abscisic acid in land plants?', Journal of Integrative Plant Biology, 59, (4) pp. 240-260. ISSN 1672-9072 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12523 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 35Web of Science - 35

Co-authors: Brodribb TJ; McAdam SAM

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2017Sussmilch FC, Hecht V, Vander Schoor JK, Weller JL, 'Identification of the short vegetative phase (SVP)-like MADS-box genes in pea (Pisum sativum L.)', Plant Gene, 12 pp. 72-79. ISSN 2352-4073 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.plgene.2017.08.003 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1

Co-authors: Hecht V; Vander Schoor JK; Weller JL

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2016McAdam SAM, Brodribb TJ, Banks JA, Hedrich R, Atallah NM, et al., 'Abscisic acid controlled sex before transpiration in vascular plants', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113, (45) pp. 12862-12867. ISSN 0027-8424 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1606614113 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 50Web of Science - 51

Co-authors: McAdam SAM; Brodribb TJ; Nichols DS

Tweet

2016McAdam SAM, Sussmilch FC, Brodribb TJ, 'Stomatal responses to vapour pressure deficit are regulated by high speed gene expression in angiosperms', Plant, Cell and Environment, 39, (3) pp. 485-491. ISSN 0140-7791 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/pce.12633 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 87Web of Science - 80

Co-authors: McAdam SAM; Brodribb TJ

Tweet

2016Ridge S, Sussmilch FC, Hecht V, Vander Schoor JK, Lee R, et al., 'Identification of LATE BLOOMER2 as a CYCLING DOF FACTOR homolog reveals conserved and divergent features of the flowering response to photoperiod in pea', Plant Cell, 28, (10) pp. 2545-2559. ISSN 1040-4651 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1105/tpc.15.01011 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 17Web of Science - 15

Co-authors: Ridge S; Hecht V; Vander Schoor JK; Weller JL

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2015McAdam SAM, Sussmilch FC, Brodribb TJ, Ross JJ, 'Molecular characterization of a mutation affecting abscisic acid biosynthesis and consequently stomatal responses to humidity in an agriculturally important species', AoB Plants, 7 Article plv091. ISSN 2041-2851 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/aobpla/plv091 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Web of Science - 21

Co-authors: McAdam SAM; Brodribb TJ; Ross JJ

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2015Sussmilch FC, Berbel A, Hecht V, Vander Schoor JK, Ferrandiz C, et al., 'Pea VEGETATIVE2 is an FD homolog that is essential for flowering and compound inflorescence development', Plant Cell, 27, (4) pp. 1046-1060. ISSN 1040-4651 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1105/tpc.115.136150 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 26Web of Science - 22

Co-authors: Hecht V; Vander Schoor JK; Weller JL

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2014Liew LC, Hecht V, Sussmilch FC, Weller JL, 'The pea photoperiod response gene STERILE NODES is an ortholog of LUX ARRHYTHMO1[W][OPEN]', Plant Physiology, 165, (2) pp. 648-657. ISSN 0032-0889 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1104/pp.114.237008 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 28Web of Science - 27

Co-authors: Liew LC; Hecht V; Weller JL

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2012Berbel A, Ferrandiz C, Hecht V, Dalmais M, Lund OS, et al., 'VEGETATIVE1 is essential for development of the compound inflorescence in pea', Nature Communications, 3 Article 797. ISSN 2041-1723 (2012) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1801 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 50Web of Science - 51

Co-authors: Hecht V; Taylor SA; Weller JL

Tweet

2011Hecht V, Laurie RE, Vander Schoor JK, Ridge S, Knowles CL, et al., 'The Pea GIGAS Gene Is a FLOWERING LOCUS T Homolog Necessary for Graft-Transmissible Specification of Flowering but Not for Responsiveness to Photoperiod', The Plant Cell, 23, (1) pp. 147-161. ISSN 1040-4651 (2011) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1105/tpc.110.081042 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 121Web of Science - 112

Co-authors: Hecht V; Vander Schoor JK; Ridge S; Knowles CL; Liew LC; Murfet IC; Weller JL

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2009Weller JL, Hecht VFG, Liew LC, Sussmilch F, Wenden B, et al., 'Update on the genetic control of flowering in garden pea', Journal of Experimental Botany, 60, (9) pp. 2493-2499. ISSN 0022-0957 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erp120 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 43Web of Science - 40

Co-authors: Weller JL; Hecht VFG; Liew LC; Knowles CL; Vander Schoor JK

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Chapter in Book

(1 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2013Weller JL, Hecht VFG, Sussmilch F, 'Isolation and forward genetic analysis of developmental genes in pea', Legume Genomics, Springer, RJ Rose (ed), New York, USA, pp. 147-161. ISBN 978-1-62703-612-2 (2013) [Other Book Chapter]

DOI: 10.1007/978-1-62703-613-9_11 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Weller JL; Hecht VFG

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Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants

1

Total funding

$427,067

Projects

The quick and the dead: identifying mechanisms for plant drought survival (2020 - 2022)$427,067
Description
This project aims to identify genes that control plant responses to low air humidity, which enhance drought survival by restricting water loss. Most plant water loss occurs through pores called stomata. This project expects to identify the genes that close stomata within minutes of decreased humidity by determining the molecular changes that occur over this timeframe and testing candidate genes for a critical role. Diverse land plant models will be examined to ensure broad applicability of results. A major expected outcome is new knowledge of genes that minimise plant water loss, which would ultimately benefit plant-based industries through new targets for breeding improved, drought-adapted varieties for food security in a drying climate.
Funding
Australian Research Council ($427,067)
Scheme
Fellowship-Discovery Early Career Researcher Award
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Sussmilch F
Period
2020 - 2022
Grant Reference
DE200101133

Research Supervision

Frances is currently seeking highly-motivated students to work on a variety of projects investigating the genes that enable plants to regulate their own water loss, using a range of techniques (molecular biology, genetics, bioinformatics, hormone analysis, plant physiology). Please contact Frances (Frances.Sussmilch@utas.edu.au) for more information.

Current

1

Completed

1

Current

DegreeTitleCommenced
PhDCharacterising the Molecular Basis for Stomatal Responses to Low Humidity2021

Completed

DegreeTitleCompleted
PhDChlorinated Auxin in the Fabaceae: Distribution, evolutionary origin and genetic aspects
Candidate: Hong Kiat Lam
2017