Gene editing in quinoa for crop improvement

This PhD scholarship is part of an overall project funded by AgriFutures Australia. The overall aim of this project is to generate low saponin quinoa lines for Australian agriculture.


Current quinoa cvs. have 1-2% saponins, which are bitter, soapy compounds that must be removed at some cost before consumption. This limits the use of quinoa, which is otherwise a high protein non-grain seed. Current varieties have not been selected to grow well under Australian environmental conditions. There may also be other anti-nutritional compounds as well.

The PhD student will work closely with the AgriFutures Australia plant breeder who will provide a range of germplasm and plant breeding expertise.

The appointee will develop and apply gene-editing technology to quinoa to reduce saponin levels. The position will be in the Crop Biotechnology Research Group in the Centre for Crop and Food Innovation, Food Futures Institute. Research will be undertaken in the laboratories of the WA State Agricultural Biotechnology Centre (SABC) at Murdoch University, which is fully equipped for all aspects of this work.

Funding bodyMurdoch University
Study levelPhD
Value$112,800 to the PG Student over 3.5 years.
Duration and start dateImmediate start, for 3.5 years
Application criteria

High-quality candidates are invited to apply who meet the application criteria:

  • A degree in molecular biology or related discipline
  • A relevant Honours degree (preferably 1st Class) or MSc degree
  • A commitment to high-quality research
  • Ability to work as part of a team or individually if required
  • High level written and oral communication skills
  • Permanent Residence or Australian Citizenship
Apply byAvailable immediately until this position is filled
To apply

The position is now open for applications and will be available until a suitable applicant is appointed to the position.

Applications should:

  • Address the application criteria
  • Include a Curriculum vitae with the names and contact details of three referees
  • Provide any other supporting documentation (e.g. publications or evidence of research experience)
ContactFor further information please contact Michael Jones, Professor of Agricultural Biotechnology, on 08 9360 2424 or 0414 239 428 or m.jones@murdoch.edu.au.