Special seminar: Professor Deep Saini, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Canberra

Speaker: Professor Deep Saini

Location: 11:30 am to 12:30 pm in Building 6, Level C, Room 12

Emissions of methyl-halide and -thiol compounds from plants: Biological significance and metabolic regulation.

Biogenic emissions constitute the predominant source of chloromethane in the atmosphere and thus influence the integrity of ozone layer. Biosynthesis of this gas is also a suspected Cl– detoxification mechanism among organisms in saline habitats. Our attempts to dissect this metabolic pathway led to the discovery of a novel class of plant enzymes – thiol methyltransferases (TMTs) – and the genes encoding these, which can methylate halides and biological thiols through identical mechanisms. This presentation will provide a retrospective of our research in the area, its biological and environmental implications, and the potential to use TMTs in crop improvement through genetic engineering.

Professor Deep Saini is the Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Canberra. Following PhD from the University of Adelaide, his lengthy academic career in Canada included Vice-President at the University of Toronto, Dean of the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo, and Professor of Biology at the Universities of Toronto, Waterloo and Montreal. His research has focused on the physiological, biochemical and molecular mechanisms of stress tolerance in plans. He has served in numerous professional roles, including President of the Canadian Society of Plant Biologists, President of the Federation of Canadian Plant Science Societies, and member of the Council of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.