After completing my PhD at the John Innes Centre (UK) in 2000, I gained 18 months industry experience as molecular marker scientist in Seminis Vegetable Seeds in The Netherlands. In 2002, I joined UWA as a Research Fellow in crop molecular genetics dividing my time equally between academic and commercial genetic research. In my academic research, I have focussed on understanding and using genetic diversity within Brassica and lupin species; investigating genome evolution in crucifer and legume species; and basic understanding of the meiotic process. This role involved a strong research training component including co-supervision of 6 PhD, 1 MSc and 3 Honours project students. In my commercial research, I have managed the molecular marker and doubled haploid components of Canola Breeders Western Australia Pty Ltd, the canola breeding programme located at, and co-owned by, UWA. Recently, I have increased my focus on academic research with new projects in lupin genome sequencing & marker development; molecular markers for the drought tolerant perennial pasture legume, tedera (Bituminaria bituminosa); and using next generation sequencing for gene discovery and trait mapping in various crop species
+ Chief investigator on lupin and tedera marker projects.
+ Teaching AGRI4405 (Plant Breeding & Biotechnology)
+ Expertise in linkage mapping, crop genomics, plant domestication, markers in plant breeding, genetic diversity analysis, interspecific hybridisation, the meiotic process.
NATIONAL COMPETITIVE FUNDING [TOTAL >$3.3M]
2014-2018: Nelson. Development of lupin molecular markers tagging yield QTL genes and yield-related phenology traits (UWA component). Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC). ($270,000)
2011-2015: MN Nelson, K Singh, W Erskine, J Clements. Unleashing the power of genomics for lupin marker development and crop improvement. Grains Research and Development Corporation. ($534,687)
2011-2014: MN Nelson, J Croser. Breeding new cultivars of the perennial forage legume tedera (UWA component). Future Farm Industries Cooperative Research Centre. ($343,000)
2011-2014: WA Cowling, N Turner, K Siddique, MN Nelson, R Furbank. LP110100341: Improving heat and drought tolerance in canola through genomic selection in Brassica rapa. Australian Research Council Linkage Project ($575,540 including industry support of $375,540)
2007-2010: WA Cowling, MN Nelson. UWA00120: Capacity building for plant breeding education and research at The University of Western Australia. Grains Research and Development Corporation ($383,394)
2006-2008: WA Cowling, MN Nelson. LP0667805: Expanding the gene pool of canola (Brassica napus) by introgressing valuable genes from related species. Australian Research Council Linkage Project ($542,620 including Industry support of $307,370)
2005-2009: WA Cowling, MN Nelson. CSI/1999/072 Oilseed Brassica Improvement in China, India, and Australia. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and Grains Research and Development Corporation ($498,923)
2003-2005: WA Cowling, MN Nelson, SJ Barker. UWA372 – Development of molecular marker and mapping technology for lupin breeding: UWA component. Mapping across lupin species and between legume genera. Grains Research and Development Corporation ($218,235)
UNIVERSITY FUNDING (TOTAL >$88K)
2012: MN Nelson. Extending the reach of lupin genomic democracy beyond the Narrow. Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture (CLIMA) Seed Funding. $9,900
2010: J Batley, WA Cowling, D Edwards, MN Nelson. Second generation sequencing to identify genes controlling flowering in oilseed Brassica plants. UWA-UQ Bilateral Research Collaboration Award ($19,942)
2010: MN Nelson, J Clements. Strategic development of a genetic mapping population for pearl lupin. Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture (CLIMA) Seed Funding ($10,000)
2010: WA Cowling, S Chen, MN Nelson. Towards resolving the molecular genetic control of microspore embryogenesis and chromosome doubling in Brassica species. UWA Research Collaboration Award ($8,000)
2008: J Croser, D Real, C Revell, A Loi, MN Nelson, P Nichols, B Nutt. Investigating the potential for in vitro technologies to accelerate pasture legume breeding. CLIMA Seed Funding ($10,000)
2006: MN Nelson, W Cowling, B Buirchell. Understanding how crop domestication genes work: a case study of early flowering gene Ku in narrow-leafed lupin. CLIMA Seed Funding ($8,500)
2006: M Nelson, J Berger, W Cowling. Validation of DArT marker technology in narrow-leafed lupin. CLIMA Seed Funding ($5,000)
2004: S Ellwood, M Nelson. Software tools for genetics in legumes. CLIMA seed funding ($12,750)
2004: M Nelson, C Schelfhout. Developing methodologies for the detection of chromosomal introgressions into canola from other crucifer species. UWA Research Grant ($4,500)
2001-2002 Molecular marker scientist in vegetable brassica breeding programme with Seminis Vegetable Seeds (Enkhuizen, The Netherlands)
Using next generation DNA sequencing for sequencing crop genomes and developing marker linked to useful traits.
Investigating genome evolution in crucifer and legume species.
Drought tolerance in Brassica rapa.
Flowering time control in Brassica and legume species.
From 2001-2002, I developed molecular markers for the vegetable brassica breeding programme at Seminis Vegetable Seeds in The Netherlands. From 2002 until 2013, I managed the molecular marker and doubled haploidy programmes of the commercial canola breeding company based at The University of Western Australia
Teaching AGRI4405 (Breeding and Plant Biotechnology)
Using genomic technologies to assist crop improvement.
Exploring genome evolution in crucifer and legume species through comparative genomics.
Understanding crop domestication.
Genome sequencing of narrow-leafed lupin.
Control of genetic recombination in plants.
Introducing new germplasm into canola from related crucifer species.
Developing flow cytometric methods for high-throughput ploidy analysis.