• The University of Western Australia (M310), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus

Personal profile

Research interests

My research interests include:

  • Genetic and molecular basis of plant development
  • Hormone perception and signalling mechanisms in plants
  • Evolution of hormone signalling systems
  • Protein-ligand interactions


I graduated with an Honours degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford in 2001, followed by a PhD from the University of Nottingham in 2004. From an early stage in my research career I have been interested in the molecular and genetic basis of development, especially in plants, which show impressive variability and capacity to adapt to different lifestyles.

After my PhD I returned to Oxford as a postdoctoral researcher, in the Department of Plant Sciences. There I used the power of Arabidopsis genetics to understand the role of nuclear transcription factors in the development of chloroplasts. In 2010 I moved to UWA and shifted my research towards the perception of plant hormones and growth regulators, especially karrikins. I was fortunate to have been supported by two ARC grants as a researcher, which was followed by an ARC Future Fellowship that allowed me to start up my own research group in 2016. Over my time at UWA, I have generated 30 peer-reviewed publications in high impact journals such as Plant Cell, PNAS and Development.

Details of my current research activities, my research group and our publications can be found on my home page: https://watersmt.org

Funding overview

Fritz G, Waters MT, Chooi Y-H, Millar H, Bond C, Low P, Stubbs K, Stewart S, Moggach S: 2022, ‘Towards building a carbon dioxide foundry’, Woodside Energy Limited

Waters MT, Flematti GR and Fritz G: 2021, ‘From energy stress to hormones: new signals in bacteria and plants’ ARC Discovery Projects, DP210103078

Waters MT: 2019, ‘Interactions between smoke and light signals during plant development’, Australian Academy of Sciences Thomas Davies Research Grant

Waters MT: 2018, ‘From bacteria to plants: finding new butenolide signalling compounds’, UWA SMS Pump Priming Award

Waters MT: 2016, 'Discovering new plant hormone signalling networks', UWA Fellowship Support.

Flematti GR, Waters MT, Dixon KW, Merritt D, Perez-Fernandez, M: 2016, 'Smoke-derived karrikins reveal a new pathway for plant development', ARC Discovery projects.

Waters MT: 2015, 'Unlocking a new hormone signalling system to increase plant performance', ARC Future Fellowships.

Waters MT: 2014, ‘A novel bioassay based in yeast to discover a predicted new plant hormone’, Winner, UWA Pitch Your Project in 3 Minutes.

Waters MT: 2011, 'Smoke signals and shoot branching hormones – how do plants tell the difference?', UWA Research Development Award.

Previous positions

2010-2016 Post-doctoral Research Fellow (PI: Prof Steven Smith)
University of Western Australia, ARC Centre of Excellence Plant Energy Biology

2004-2008 Post-doctoral Research Fellow (PI: Prof Jane A Langdale)
University of Oxford, Department of Plant Sciences

Current projects

Honours and PhD opportunities:

1. Smoke alarm: Discovering new signalling compounds that operate in plants

2. Exploiting chemical signals to boost plant performance

Teaching overview

GENE2250 Principles of Inheritance

GENE3350 Evolution and Development

GENE3370 Genomics

GENE4002 Integrated Topis in Genetics I

GENE4003 Integrated Topis in Genetics II

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Research expertise keywords

  • Plant development and genetics
  • Synthetic biology
  • Karrikin
  • Photosynthetic development
  • Plant genetics and hormone signalling
  • Strigolactone


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