G2E for Verticillium control

A germinate-to-exterminate approach for control of Verticillum early dying in potato

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Potato industries often rely on prophylactic pesticide applications for control of soil-borne disease. Verticillum wilt of potato is a significant disease both locally in Tasmania, more widely across Australia and internationally. Infection (often facilitated by interaction with lesion nematodes) leads to early dying disease where crops die down prematurely that can result in substantial loss of yield associated with tuber bulking toward the end of the crops life. The pathogen can persist in soils for extended periods of time as small restign structures. Prior studies has shown that plant root exudates can encourgae germination of these resting structures faciliting efficient root infection.

This PhD will:
Test proof of concept that application of specific root exudate compounds can lead to premature germination of resting structures in absence of host plants leading to a reduction in soil inoculum and disease risk in subsequent crops planted in treated fields.

This PhD will work within a dedicated internationally renown potato pathology research team in collaboration with researchers and support personnel from Simplot from Australia and the USA, a major international potato industry partner. We anticipate the PhD will conduct trials in both Australia and the USA taking advantage of the off-seasonality of the two production systems.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof Calum Wilson


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Eligibility for entry into a PhD degree at the University of Tasmania
  • Skills and experience in plant pathology studies
  • Evidence of or capacity for advanced scientific writing skills

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience in laboratory, glasshouse and field studies
  • Experience with soil-borne plant pathogens
  • Drivers licence

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Prof Calum Wilson to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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