Associate Professor Elizabeth Dann

Principal Research Fellow

Centre for Horticultural Science
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
e.dann@uq.edu.au
+61 7 344 32455

Overview

Dr Elizabeth (Liz) Dann joined QAAFI’s Centre for Plant Science in October 2010. She is a plant pathologist based at the Ecosciences Precinct at Dutton Park. Her research aims to increase the productivity and quality of tropical and sub-tropical crops through improved management of diseases.

She obtained her PhD in 1995 from the University of Sydney, and undertook post doctoral research at Michigan State University, USA and at the University of Sydney, prior to joining the Plant Pathology (Horticulture) research team within the Queensland Government in 2002.

RESEARCH INTERESTS

Dr Dann has broad expertise in the discipline of plant pathology. Her diverse area of research includes investigation of natural defence mechanisms in plants, plant disease epidemiology and diagnostics. Her research is very focused on delivering improved quality and productivity to horticultural industries through optimised disease management.

She is recognised internationally for her work on systemic induced resistance in plants and its practical implementation. A large component of her research is focused on assessing non-traditional products or treatments that may be valuable in disease management, such as compounds which activate disease resistance pathways. Such products are becoming more popular given concerns over pesticides in the environment and residues in fruit, and the drive towards more sustainable production of our food.

Dr Dann supervises several students on projects investigating molecular diversity and epidemiology of fungal pathogens and constitutive and inducible plant defences.

Current active areas of research include: assessment of avocado rootstocks for resistance to Phytophthora cinnamomi optimising phosphonate treatments for management of Phytophthora root rot epidemiology of brown root rot disease of avocados and related molecular diversity of causal “Phellinus noxius” fungi assessment of best management practices for reducing losses in mango and avocado caused by postharvest diseases investigations of UV-C exposure of fruit for disease control systemic induced resistance in passionfruit to Passionfruit Woodiness Virus evaluation of soil amendments for improved soil and plant health and soilborne disease suppression.

Dr Dann is currently supervising or co-supervising PhD students, as listed below: Ms Merran Neilsen “Mechanisms of cultivar and race-based disease resistance to Phytophthora root rot in avocado” Mr Trung Kien Do “Investigation of disease resistance mechanisms in mango and related species” Ms Louisamarie Parkinson “Investigating avocado tree mortality during early field establishment”

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Sydney

Publications

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Grants

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Supervision

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • Avocado is affected by fruit and orchard diseases caused by several different fungi. Stem end rot of fruit and branch canker and dieback are diseases associated with Botryosphaeria fungi (eg. Fusicoccum, Neofusicoccum and Lasiodiplodia), Phomopsis sp. Pestalotiopsis and others, yet we don't really know if fungi are specific to either fruit disease or branch dieback, or whether they are generalists and can infect all plant parts. Firstly, a survey of fruit and orchards from all growing regions across Australia will establish an isolate collection. These will be accurately identified, and molecular phylogeny studies undertaken. Pathogenicity tests will check for ability of different species or isolates within a species to cause disease in different plant tissues. The student will evaluate factors exacerbating severity and potential management strategies, eg. fungicidal graft and pruning wound dressings, or targeted orchard treatments. The potential of Scolytid beetles to vector the pathogenic fungi may be investigated, time permitting. The project may be expanded to include other crop species, such as blueberry.

    The PhD student will ideally have some plant pathology and/or soil science knowledge and a desire to undertake research for impact in agriculture.

    The project is based at the Ecosciences Precinct, Dutton Park. Please email e.dann@uq.edu.au, or phone 3443 2455

  • Phytophthora root rot, caused by the oomycete pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi, is the most serious constraint to avocado orchard productivity. The disease is managed by an integrated approach including resistant rootstocks, clean planting material, good irrigation and drainage, and the strategic use of phosphonate pesticide. Phosphonate has been shown in other plant species to be fungistatic (inhibitory to oomycete pathogens) but also to activate plant defence responses. These defence responses have not been investigated in avocado, and is the focus for the proposed project.

    The student will ideally have some plant pathology and/or crop science/horticulture knowledge and a desire to undertake research for impact in agriculture. This project would suit a PhD student and is available now.

    The project is based at the Ecosciences Precinct, Dutton Park. Please email e.dann@uq.edu.au, or phone 3443 2455.

  • Preliminary work in my lab has demonstrated that an exudate from Calonectria ilicicola, a fungus causing stunting and black root rot of avocado, causes abnormal growth and necrosis in tomato seedlings. Mycotoxins from this family, the Nectriaceae, are known, but have not been well studied. The student will firstly investigate whether isolates of this fungus, and related Dactylonectria spp. produce toxins in culture which are detrimental to the growth of avocado, or other model plant species. If yes, then the active components of the extract will be elucidated. Further experimentation would determine whether the toxin was vital for infection.

    The student will ideally have some plant pathology and/or crop science/horticulture knowledge and a desire to undertake research for impact in agriculture. This project would suit a PhD student and is available now.

    The project is based at the Ecosciences Precinct, Dutton Park. Please email e.dann@uq.edu.au, or phone 3443 2455.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book Chapter

  • Reglinski, Tony, Dann, Elizabeth and Deverall, Brian (2014). Implementation of induced resistance for crop protection. Induced Resistance for Plant Defense: A Sustainable Approach to Crop Protection. (pp. 249-299) edited by Dale R. Walters, Adrian C. Newton and Gary D. Lyon. Oxford, UK: John Wiley & Sons. doi: 10.1002/9781118371848.ch12

  • Dann, E. K., Ploetz, R. C., Coates, L. M. and Pegg, K. G. (2013). Foliar, fruit and soilborne diseases. The Avocado: Botany, Production and Uses. (pp. 380-422) edited by Bruce Schaffer, B. Nigel Wolstenholme and Anthony W. Whiley. Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK: CABI. doi: 10.1079/9781845937010.0380

  • Coates, Lindy, Akem, Chrys, Cooke, Tony, Dann, Elizabeth and Young, Anthony (2010). Mango. Diseases of fruit crops in Australia. (pp. 157-174) edited by Denis Persley, Susan House and Tony Cooke. Collingwood, VIC, Australia: CSIRO Publishing.

  • Pegg, Ken, Coates, Lindy and Dann, Elizabeth (2009). Avocado. Diseases of Fruit Crops in Australia. (pp. 49-64) edited by Tony Cooke, Denis Persley and Susan House. Collingwood, Australia: CSIRO Publishing.

  • Reglinski, Tony, Dann, Elizabeth and Deverall, Brian (2007). Integration of induced resistance in crop production. Induced Resistance for Plant Defence: a sustainable approach to crop protection. (pp. 201-228) edited by Dale Walters, Adrian C. Newton and Gary Lyon. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing. doi: 10.1002/9780470995983.ch11

  • Hammerschmidt, R. and Dann, E. K. (1999). The role of phytoalexins in plant protection. Novartis Foundation Symposium 223: Insect-Plant Interactions and Induced Plant Defence. (pp. 175-187) edited by D. J. Chadwick and J. A. Goode. Chichester, United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons. doi: 10.1002/9780470515679.ch12

  • Hammerschmidt, R. and Dann, E. K. (1997). Induced resistance to disease. Environmentally Safe Approaches to Crop Disease Control. (pp. 177-199) edited by J. E. Rechcigl and N. Rechcigl. Boca Raton, USA: CRC Press. doi: 10.1201/9781351071826

  • Deverall, B. J. and Dann, E. K. (1995). Induced resistance in legumes. Induced Resistance to Disease in Plants. (pp. 1-30) edited by R. Hammerschmidt and J. Kuc. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. doi: 10.1007/978-94-015-8420-3_1

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Avocado is affected by fruit and orchard diseases caused by several different fungi. Stem end rot of fruit and branch canker and dieback are diseases associated with Botryosphaeria fungi (eg. Fusicoccum, Neofusicoccum and Lasiodiplodia), Phomopsis sp. Pestalotiopsis and others, yet we don't really know if fungi are specific to either fruit disease or branch dieback, or whether they are generalists and can infect all plant parts. Firstly, a survey of fruit and orchards from all growing regions across Australia will establish an isolate collection. These will be accurately identified, and molecular phylogeny studies undertaken. Pathogenicity tests will check for ability of different species or isolates within a species to cause disease in different plant tissues. The student will evaluate factors exacerbating severity and potential management strategies, eg. fungicidal graft and pruning wound dressings, or targeted orchard treatments. The potential of Scolytid beetles to vector the pathogenic fungi may be investigated, time permitting. The project may be expanded to include other crop species, such as blueberry.

    The PhD student will ideally have some plant pathology and/or soil science knowledge and a desire to undertake research for impact in agriculture.

    The project is based at the Ecosciences Precinct, Dutton Park. Please email e.dann@uq.edu.au, or phone 3443 2455

  • Phytophthora root rot, caused by the oomycete pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi, is the most serious constraint to avocado orchard productivity. The disease is managed by an integrated approach including resistant rootstocks, clean planting material, good irrigation and drainage, and the strategic use of phosphonate pesticide. Phosphonate has been shown in other plant species to be fungistatic (inhibitory to oomycete pathogens) but also to activate plant defence responses. These defence responses have not been investigated in avocado, and is the focus for the proposed project.

    The student will ideally have some plant pathology and/or crop science/horticulture knowledge and a desire to undertake research for impact in agriculture. This project would suit a PhD student and is available now.

    The project is based at the Ecosciences Precinct, Dutton Park. Please email e.dann@uq.edu.au, or phone 3443 2455.

  • Preliminary work in my lab has demonstrated that an exudate from Calonectria ilicicola, a fungus causing stunting and black root rot of avocado, causes abnormal growth and necrosis in tomato seedlings. Mycotoxins from this family, the Nectriaceae, are known, but have not been well studied. The student will firstly investigate whether isolates of this fungus, and related Dactylonectria spp. produce toxins in culture which are detrimental to the growth of avocado, or other model plant species. If yes, then the active components of the extract will be elucidated. Further experimentation would determine whether the toxin was vital for infection.

    The student will ideally have some plant pathology and/or crop science/horticulture knowledge and a desire to undertake research for impact in agriculture. This project would suit a PhD student and is available now.

    The project is based at the Ecosciences Precinct, Dutton Park. Please email e.dann@uq.edu.au, or phone 3443 2455.