Dr Lilia Costa Carvalhais

Senior Research Fellow

Centre for Horticultural Science
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
+61 7 344 32452


Lilia works to unravel the overwhelming complexity of the biological world and to assess ways to use it to solve problems of our time. She finds especially intriguing all the invisible interactions between plant and microbes. She investigates the drivers of these interactions and aims to address major societal challenges. Her purpose is to make use of nature’s arsenal to tackle problems that threaten environmental conservation and food security. She has worked with a range of beneficial and pathogenic microbes across model, forestry, grain, and horticultural plant species, grown in managed and natural habitats in different countries, including Brazil, Germany, Australia, USA, Costa Rica, and Papua New Guinea. Her expertise lies within plant pathology, molecular biology, plant nutrition, microbial ecology, biological indicators of soil health, bio-prospection of natural products produced by microbes, plant biotechnology, and molecular diagnostics.

Research Impacts

Lilia's research on plant microbe interactions is relevant to sustainable agriculture, plant protection and biosecurity. She has worked with interactions between plants and microbes at the community level, investigating the effect of plant defence signalling pathways on the associated microbiome. She has been studying the interactions between plants and pathogenic microbes, focussing on 1) the genetic diversity within microbial plant pathogen populations to identify genomic regions that can be targeted for molecular diagnostics; 2) the biology and epidemiology of different plant pathogens; 3) management strategies which allow the development of science based contingency plans to control plant diseases.


  • Bachelor in Biological Sciences, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
  • Master in Ecology, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
  • PhD in Agricultural Sciences, Universität Hohenheim


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Journal Article

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Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision