Photo of Thomas Martin

Thomas Martin

Dr, MSc PhD Free Univ. (Berlin)

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

    6009 Perth


  • 711 Citations
  • 6 h-Index

Research output per year

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Personal profile

Roles and responsibilities

Carbohydrate and nitrogen metabolism
Metabolic sensing and signalling
Molecular genetics
14-3-3 Proteins

Technical skills:
Molecular biology, reversed genetics and Arabidopsis mutant analysis
Biochemistry of carbohydrate and nitrogen metabolism
Small and large scale gene expression analysis
Protein Interaction
Biomolecular Fluorescence Complementation
Breast milk Stem Cells

Roles and Responsibilities:
1) Faculty of Life and Physical Sciences Offshore Programs Director
2) Member of the Institutional Biosafety Committee
3) Lecturing in a number of undergraduate courses in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Genetics (details see below)
4) Honours supervision
5) PhD supervision
6) Research (see below)
7) Course co-ordinator SCIE3325
8) Course co-ordinator SCIE3326 and SCIE3327 (offshore)
9) Deputy course co-ordinator BIOC2201 and 2202

Funding overview

ARC Linkage Project LP 0883902: Wheat Biomarkers – The effect of nitrogen withdrawal on the proteome and peptidome (2008)

Women & Infants Research Foundation: Isolation and propagation of mammary epithelial stem cells from human breast milk (2008)

UWA Research Grant: Identification of Arabidopsis kinases interacting with and potentially regulating nitrate reductase: an in planta approach (2008)

UWA Research Grant: Expression profiling of 14-3-3 signalling genes in Arabidopsis and of genes affected by 14-3-3 loss of function mutations (2005)

BBSRC Research Grant P15126 "Characterisation of T-DNA tagged 14-3-3 Arabidopsis mutants, (2001), £174,492

BBSRC Studentship Grant 01/A1/P/07100 "Characterisation of 14-3-3 Arabidopsis mutants, (2001)

Previous positions

Lecturer in Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, UK
Research Fellow, University of Glasgow, UK
Research Fellow, INRA Versailles, France
Research Fellow, IGF Berlin, Germany

Current projects

Plants face many environmental challenges such as nutrient availability, light conditions, abiotic and biotic stresses. These factors greatly influence resource allocation and thus plant productivity. Plants use manifold sensing, signalling and response mechanisms to achieve a fine balancing act in the face of these challenges. The regulatory mechanisms involved have to be co-ordinated with developmental programmes as well as cell and tissue specific requirements. Cross-talk of signalling mechanisms and sharing of signalling components suggests the general principle that signalling pathways operate as complex networks rather than isolated, independent cascades We are trying to identify and to understand these mechanisms in the quest to improve crop productivity in a sustainable fashion.

A class of plant proteins encoded by the so-called '14-3-3' gene family are considered key players in bringing various sensing, signalling and response pathways together. 14-3-3 proteins interact with and regulate the activity of key enzymes in plant nitrogen and carbohydrate metabolism. These interactions influence enzyme activity at critical steps in primary metabolism and thus alter plant resource allocation on a global scale.
We have isolated a collection of T-DNA knock-out lines with single mutations in a number of 14-3-3 genes. Initially, we are studying the regulation of carbohydrate and nitrogen metabolism and the allocation of resources in these mutants under consideration of metabolic and developmental aspects. To achieve this, we are employing classical molecular, genetic and biochemical techniques in combination with metabolomics and functional genomics technologies. We are identifying specific 14-3-3 isoforms involved in defined regulatory processes such as for example the regulation of nitrate reductase.

Our aims are to:
- Identify specific 14-3-3 isoforms involved in the regulation of enzymes of carbohydrate and nitrogen metabolism
- Study the impact of 14-3-3 mutations on these metabolic pathways and the subsequent distribution and allocation of resources and storage compounds.
- Investigate the signalling mechanisms leading to 14-3-3 regulation of carbon and nitrogen metabolism

Industrial relevance

- Proteomics and peptidomics investigations of wheat in rsponse to nitrogen withdrawal
- Stem cells in human breast milk

Teaching overview

First Year:
- Molecules, Genes and Cells (IMED1114) (IDNT1132)
o Transcriptional control - transcription factors
o Transcriptional control - epigenetics
Second Year:
- Regulation of Cell Function (BIOC2202)
o Post-translational protein targeting –Nucleus and Peroxisomes
o Post translational protein targeting – Mitochondria and Chloroplasts
o Protein Secretory Pathways - Focus on the ER
o Protein Secretory Pathways - Focus on the Golgi
Third Year:
- Cellular and Metabolic Biochemistry (BIOC3352)
o Mitochondria and oxidative stress
o Mitochondrial disease, cell death and aging
o Metabolomics I – Techniques and Objectives
o Metabolomics II – Comparing different Metabolomic techniques
o Metabolomics III – Applying metabolomic techniques
o Metabolic Signalling I
o Metabolic Signalling II
o Research Focus - 14-3-3 proteins and their role in signaling
- Molecular Genetics & Genomics (GENE3330)
o Molecular genetics of floral transition
o ABC model of flower development
o Advanced flower development
- Molecular Biology (SCIE3325)
o Introduction to Molecular Biology
o The evolution of multigene families
o Dissecting the functions of individual gene family members
o Molecular Biology of Mitochondria
o Mitochondrial gene expression
o Evolution of mitochondria and of mitochondrial genes
o Retrograde response
- Molecular Biology (SCIE3326 and SCIE 3327, offshore teaching in Singapore)
o The evolution of multigene families
o Dissecting the functions of individual gene family members
o Molecular Biology of Mitochondria
o Mitochondrial gene expression
o Evolution of mitochondria and of mitochondrial genes
o Retrograde response
o Sugar signalling via the yeast hexokinase/SNF 1 pathway
o The SNF1 signalling pathway and alternative sugar sensors in yeast
o Sugar sensing in plants - Are there similarities to yeast?
- Biochemistry
o Lab based third year projects (various)
- Molecular Biology (SCIE3325)
o Site Directed Mutagenesis
o Analysis of Gene Expression using qPCR
- Molecular Biology (SCIE3326 and SCIE 3327, offshore teaching in Singapore)
o Analysis of Gene Expression using qPCR
- Core Concepts in Biology (BIOL1130) (first year laboratory, ca 350 students)
- Science & its Communication (tutorials and workshops)
- Gene 2240
- BIOC2250


- Sugar and nitrogen sensing and signalling mechanisms
- Protein Interaction
- Bimolecular Fluorescence Analysis (BiFC)
- Regulation of plant carbohydrate and nitrogen metabolism
- Co-ordination of C/N metabolism
- 14-3-3 proteins
- Stem cells and epithelial cells from breast milk


basic French

Research expertise keywords

  • 14-3-3 proteins
  • Plant carbohydrate metabolism
  • Metabolic signalling
  • Mutant plant analysis
  • Plant molecular genetics
  • Plant nitrogen metabolism
  • Plant molecular biology
  • Sugar sensing and signalling
  • Cellular signalling and protein interaction

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Research Output

  • 711 Citations
  • 6 h-Index
  • 7 Article
  • 4 Conference paper
26 Citations (Scopus)

Transporters in starch synthesis

Martin, T. & Ludewig, F., 2007, In : Functional Plant Biology. 34, 6, p. 474-479

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 2 Citations (Scopus)

    Carbohydrate partitioning and sugar signalling in Cauliflower mosaic virus-infected turnip and Arabidopsis

    Love, A. J., Martin, T., Graham, I. A. & Milner, J. J., 2006, In : Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology. 67, 2, p. 83-91

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 9 Citations (Scopus)

    Assigning specific roles to 14-3-3 genes

    Martin, T., Lingiah, G. & Comparot, S., 2004, Advances in applied biology: providing new opportunities for consumers and producers in the 21st century. Oxford, U.K. ed. United Kingdom: Association of Applied Biologists, Vol. n/a. p. n/a

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperConference paper

    Differential expression of 14-3-3 genes in Arabidopsis thaliana

    Lingiah, G., Comparot, S., Marinsek, N. & Martin, T., 2003, Society for Experimental Biology Annual Main Meeting. Walsh, J. (ed.). Southhampton, U.K. ed. USA: Elsevier, Vol. 134. p. S203

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperConference paper