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November 26, 2022
dividerNews ArchivedividerDr. Xavier Sirault at High-Throughput Phenotyping for Crop Physiology and Plant Breeding Workshop, ABRII
Dr. Xavier Sirault at High-Throughput Phenotyping for Crop Physiology and Plant Breeding Workshop, ABRII
Dr. Xavier Sirault at High-Throughput Phenotyping for Crop Physiology and Plant Breeding Workshop, ABRII

Dr. Xavier Sirault is the Director - High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre, Australian Plant Phenomics Facility (The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) Agriculture and Food, Canberra, Australia); Vice Chair IPPN; and Director of Sirault Truffles Pty Ltd.

Dr. Sirault was first trained as an Agricultural Engineer with a specialization in “Breeding and Plant Improvement” (Master’s degree in Agricultural Engineering, AgroSup Dijon, France) in 2000. After completing a second Master’s Degree in Quantitative Genetics in France (University Paris-Orsay), Dr. Sirault moved to Australia where in 2007 he graduated from the Australian National University with a PhD in Plant Sciences. His PhD work aimed at investigating the role of leaf rolling in wheat as a potential trait for increasing grain productivity under water-limited environments. Dr Sirault was recruited in 2007 as a Research Engineer at the High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre (CSIRO Ag & Food, Canberra, Australia) to research and develop end-to-end solutions for the phenotyping of crops across multiple spatial and temporal scales (lab and field).

In 2014, Dr. Sirault was appointed director of the HRPPC where he is responsible for its operational management, budgeting, business planning, scientific strategy, staff training and development, compliances and human resources. Since 2015, he has also been actively leading the facility’s international engagement and the transfer of its technology to industries.
In parallel to his director’s role, Dr Sirault works as a Senior Research Scientist in CSIRO Agriculture and Food. His research aims at understanding the factors that regulate and limit photosynthesis in crop plants, in particular how these factors influence plant growth and performance.

In 2015, Dr. Sirault was elected Vice Chair of the International Plant Phenotyping Network where he hopes to spearhead the development of solutions for maximizing data inter-operability and data re-use at global level.

Visionary and passionate agricultural scientist specializing in plant phenomics, high-throughput technology development, photosynthesis, data analytics and bioinformatics.
As director of the High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre, Dr. Sirault is responsible for providing a high-quality, operational research infrastructure for phenomics applications to the Research Sector and Agri-business industry in Australia.

As a Senior Research Scientist, his work aims at dissecting complex quantitative traits in plants and model their expression and plasticity under dynamic environments. In this position, Dr. Sirault’s research aims at understanding the factors that regulate and limit photosynthesis in crop plants, in particular, how these factors influence plant growth, performance and productivity. I am also an affiliate of the Centre of Excellence in Translational Photosynthesis located at the Australian National University.

Outside of his professional engagement and affiliation with the Plant Research community, he works as a truffle farmer on his company farm in Bungendore, NSW (Sirault Truffle Pty Ltd).

The Plant Accelerator® at the University of Adelaide

A central component of The Plant Accelerator® (TPA) is the first automated high-throughput phenotyping system in Australia, which remains unique in both scale and open-access policy, attracting researchers from Australia and overseas. The system boasts a range of imaging technologies (RGB, infrared, fluorescence and hyperspectral imaging) to facilitate innovative high-quality research into plant performance in different environments.

Researchers from the public and private sector benefit from the expertise in design, management, operation and analysis of large scale phenotyping experiments offered by TPA, which has resulted in many high-impact publications. The facility’s phenotyping capacity has expanded in recent years to incorporate DroughtSpotter platforms to support precision heat and drought screenings and field phenotyping services, offered in partnership with the Unmanned Research Aircraft Facility (URAF) at the University of Adelaide. Plans to offer aerial phenotyping via Airborne Research Australia (ARA) and ground-based phenotyping are being developed with input from potential users to align with grant applications.

TPA is located at the University of Adelaide’s renowned Waite Research Precinct, the largest agricultural research, education and commercialization precinct in the Southern Hemisphere. Established in 1924, ‘The Waite’ is a co-located partnership of 15 complementary organizations and centers engaged in world-class research and development in plant science, agriculture, food, wine and natural resources.

The High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre (HRPPC) at CSIRO

The HRPPC combines expertise in plant science and engineering to develop and build (i) cutting-edge phenotyping technologies to support medium throughput phenotyping of model and potted plants in controlled environments, and (ii) novel plant phenotyping solutions to support research experiments at large scale and high throughput in the field. Field applications include ground and aerial platforms with a capacity of over 250,000 plots p.a. and the first high-resolution plant phenotyping capability for glasshouse/field environments – the Cropatron.

The strong mechatronics and software engineering capability at the HRPPC is driving R&D into the development of cutting edge phenomics technologies that benefit a range of new industries, e.g. pharmaceutics. The center focuses on troubleshooting and refining existing platforms, e.g. by integrating advanced sensor technologies, to measure new traits in new crops and to keep pace with the demand for deeper insight into plant behavior and function. Centre engineers have developed phenoSMART™, a science gateway that provides a national data service for on-demand phenotyping analysis.

Phenomics Facility at ANU

The APPF node at the Australian National University (ANU) has unique expertise in phenomics, bioinformatics, hardware and software development and data visualisation. This provides essential research support to APPF customers, linking phenomics data to underlying genomic variation. The node offers modern PC2 facilities and provides the only quarantine certified plant growth facilities in the ACT region. With a strong history of supporting ground-breaking plant research, including the development of open source, high throughput phenomics infrastructure and visualisation tools, the node creates open data sets for plant science researchers nationally and internationally.

Strategically placed in the Plant Science Division at the ANU, the node benefits directly from the diverse expertise locally available as well as supporting research and technology development at the Research School of Biology. This includes two Centres of Excellence (CoE): the ARC CoE in Plant Energy Biology (PEB) and the ARC CoE for Translational Photosynthesis (TP). Additional collaborations are in place with the ANU-CSIRO Centre for Biodiversity Analysis, the CoE for Robotic Vision and the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI), which offers high-performance supercomputing, cloud and data repository.

For more information please visit: https://www.plantphenomics.org.au/contact/

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