Dr Alistair McTaggart

UQ Development Fellow

Centre for Horticultural Science
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation


Alistair is interested in the evolution, diversity, systematics and identification of fungi, especially rust and smut fungi. He is investigating why rust fungi are effective pathogens, how host jumps have played a role in their evolution, and whether there is plasticity in their life cycles. Alistair completed post-docs on molecular barcoding, phylogenetics and phylogenomics of rust fungi at the University of Pretoria (South Africa), Louisiana State University (USA), and the University of Queensland. He is experienced in plant and fungal systematics, plant disease surveys, molecular biology and bioinformatics. Alistair worked as a science and maths teacher in the Australian state and private education systems.

Research Impacts

Alistair's research has implications for biosecurity, particularly in knowledge gained of the plant pathogens that are present in Australia and knowledge of which pathogens to keep out. He has helped develop publicly available keys for identification of plant pathogens, for example, the Rust Fungi of Australia Lucid Key and Smut Fungi of Australia. His post doctoral research in South Africa had direct benefits to the forestry industry, through development of resistance screening protocols and epidemiological studies to aid in management of rust fungi. Alistair has answered long-standing biological questions on the origin of rust fungi and their reproduction, and has provided an innovative solution for genomics of rust fungi. Alistair is inspired by the organisms he works on and takes any opportunity to be creative through his scientific artwork.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Queensland University of Technology
  • Master of Science, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Education, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Science, The University of Queensland


  • McTaggart, Alistair R., Duong, Tuan A., Le, Vang Quy, Shuey, Louise S., Smidt, Werner, Naidoo, Sanushka, Wingfield, Michael J. and Wingfield, Brenda D. (2018). Chromium sequencing: the doors open for genomics of obligate plant pathogens. BioTechniques, 65 (5) 253-257. doi:10.2144/btn-2018-0019

  • McTaggart, A. R., Shuey, L. S., Granados, G. M., du Plessis, E., Fraser, S., Barnes, I., Wingfield, M. J. and Roux, J. (2018). Evidence that Austropuccinia psidii may complete its sexual life cycle on Myrtaceae. Plant Pathology, 67 (3) 729-734. doi:10.1111/ppa.12763

  • McTaggart, Alistair R., van der Nest, Magriet A., Steenkamp, Emma T., Roux, Jolanda, Slippers, Bernard, Shuey, Louise S., Wingfield, Michael J. and Drenth, Andre (2016). Fungal genomics challenges the dogma of name-based biosecurity. PLoS Pathogens, 12 (5) e1005475, doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1005475

  • McTaggart, Alistair R., Shivas, Roger G., van der Nest, Magriet A., Roux, Jolanda, Wingfield, Brenda D. and Wingfield, Michael J. (2016). Host jumps shaped the diversity of extant rust fungi (Pucciniales). New Phytologist, 209 (3) 1149-1158. doi:10.1111/nph.13686

View all Publications


  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision


Featured Publications

Book Chapter

  • Aime, M. Catherine, McTaggart, Alistair R., Mondo, Stephen J. and du Plessis, Sebastien (2017). Phylogenetics and phylogenomics of rust fungi. Fungal phylogenetics and phylogenomics. (pp. 267-307) edited by Jeffrey P. Townsend and Zheng Wang.Cambridge, MA., United States: Academic Press (Elsevier Press). doi:10.1016/bs.adgen.2017.09.011

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Mctaggart, A. R., Doungsa-Ard, C., Geering, A., Aime, M. C. and Shivas, R. G. (2013). The systematics of Endoraecium in Australia. 2013 APS-MSA Joint Meeting, Austin, U.S.A., August 10–14, 2013. St. Paul, United States :American Phytopathological Society. doi: 10.1094/PHYTO-103-6-S2.1

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision