The work described in this thesis could not have been completed without the support and guidance of the following people. To them, I would like to convey my deepest gratitude.
To my supervisor, Dr Tony Gendall, for your seemingly bottomless well of support, both academic and emotional. Thank you not only for giving me the opportunity to take on this project and providing guidance and advice throughout, but also for pushing me to take risks, letting me make mistakes, and teaching me how to be a research scientist. I never walked out of a meeting with you feeling worse than when I walked in, no matter how apprehensive I was. I am truly privileged to have learnt from you.
I am grateful to the Grains Research and Development Corporation for their generous financial support, and for the opportunity to present my work at several GRDC Research Update meetings. Thank you also to Dr Ikuko Hara-Nishimura (Kyoto University), for the generous gift of α12S-, α2S- and αVPE antibodies, and vsr1-2 seed; to Professor Renier van der Hoorn (Max Planck Institute), for provision of the JO1PD VPE activity sensor probe; to Professor Nam-Hai Chua (Rockefeller University) for providing me with the pMDC7 vector; and to Dr Josh Mylne (University of Western Australia), for vpe null mutant seed. Kind thanks also to Drs Peter Lock, Gert Talbo and Pierre Faou of the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Biology (LIMS) for ongoing assistance with confocal microscopy and proteomics.
To Dr Kim Plummer, Professor Roger Parish, Dr Song Li, and all the other past and present members of (the artist formerly known as) the Botany Department. Thank you not only for your technical assistance and advice, which has weight beyond measure, but also for your solidarity and friendship. Thank you to everyone who ever watered my plants, photographed a gel, transplanted seedlings, took something out or put something away for me, or covered me on clean up duty. I am particularly grateful to the other members of the NHX group: Jonathan Dragwidge, Brett Ford, Dzung Le Huynh and Partha Das – you were a wonderful team to work with. Special thanks to Amber Gomersall for her assistance with protein work, to Ian and Adrian for technical and administrative help, to Katherine for Tuesday coffees, to the staff at Writer’s Block café, and to all the Shut Up and Write crew.
To all the amazing teaching staff I have worked for: Drs Michael Emmerling, Adele Harvey, Alison Kellow, Vicki Paras, Janet Wheeler, and all the wonderful demonstrators I’ve worked with. Thank you for helping me discover that I love teaching, and showing me how to be good at it. That is a more wonderful gift than I will ever be able to express to you.
Likewise, my gratitude to all the “other kind” of botanists: Denise, Andre, Luke, James, John, Pete, Suze, Max, Bob, Susan and Trevor. Thank you for teaching me all the things I love about plants, and for taking me on bushwalks to beautiful places to wander through the wildflowers. And for the home brew. You will always hold a special place in the Botany tea room in my heart.
Thank you to my besties: Shakira, Sam and Madeleine. You represent all the kindness, strength and wisdom in my world. Thanks for all the tea, the coffees, the wine, the chocolate, and the 90s pop. More than that, thank you for listening, and, magically, always knowing exactly the right thing to say. I am so grateful that our lives crashed together and accreted into these beautiful friendships.
To my wonderful family, thank you for all the unspoken things; for every phone call, every crisis rescue, every piece of advice, every thoughtful gift. Mum and Dad, I don’t know how to thank you for everything you have done for me, except to say, thank you for the person I turned out to be. Who would have thought I would end up a botanist?! To my brother Nath, thanks especially for Saturday coffees, and always pretending it’s not my shout. Sorry my squash game never improved. Frankie and Morgan, thanks for the #procatstinating, for the quiet, purry, snorry companionship, and for sleeping on my keyboard. I’m sure you were trying to help.
Finally, to my husband, Brendan: you are my closest friend and my truest confidant. Thank you for supporting me, trusting me, believing in me, and occasionally bullying me into taking a day off. Thank you for the hot chocolate, and the socks, and for being impressed that I could squeeze a tea bag with my bare fingers. Thank you for every little thing I ever forgot to say thank you for. Mostly, thank you for seeing into the very centre of me, and loving me anyway. If we can do this, we can do anything.
This thesis is dedicated to Allan, Phyllis, Jean, Elaine, and Frankie. Always in my thoughts.