Dr Colleen Higgins
Phone: +64 9 921 9999 ext 8066
BSc(Hons) Qld, PhD Lond
Biography:I am a Senior lecturer in the School of Applied Sciences. I gained BSc (First Class Hons) on molecular plant pathology at The University of Queensland, Australia in 1984, studying the molecular responses of barley to powdery mildew fungus. Following this, I completed my PhD at the University of London, UK, in 1989. For my PhD, I used molecular biology techniques to study the human HLA-B27 gene and it relationship with the disease, ankylosing spondylitis. I then decided to move back into plant research and was employed by the CSIRO in Canberra, Australia to apply molecular techniques to improve the nutritive value of grain and pasture legumes. From there, I moved back to my home town of Brisbane to work at Queensland University of Technology and then the Department of Primary Industries assessing evolution of viruses infecting papaya, cucurbits and peanuts and genetically modifying these plants for virus resistance. In 2000, I came to Auckland to work as a Senior Scientist at New Zealand’s first publicly listed biotechnology company, Genesis Research & Development Corporation. During this time, I led several molecular based projects on wood development and improvement, Botrytis cinerea, and improvement of pasture crops. In 2004 I joined AUT where I research plant virus:host interactions at molecular and ecological levels.
Teaching Areas:Genetics, molecular genetics, bioinformatics, ethics
Research Areas:My research activity is in the areas of plant viruses and aquaculture.
Plant viruses: I am interested in understanding what determines susceptibility to virus disease in plants, using molecular and ecological approaches. I am interested in viruses that infect a range of crops grown in the Pacific region, as well as New Zealand native plants. Areas of interest are:
- Virus variability and evolution
- Virus host range determination
- Host and non-host plant responses to virus infection
- Virus:host molecular interactions
- Viruses of New Zealand
- Influence of viruses on plant evolution
- Effect of landscapes and global change on plant virus spread & infection
- Effect of human activity on plant virus spread & infection
Aquaculture: I am a member of the Aquaculture Biotechnology Group, supporting students and staff to apply molecular techniques to improve cultivation of aquaculture species of importance to New Zealand.
Patents & patents pending:
Bloksberg, L.N., Frost, M.J., Forster, R., Higgins, C., Rottmann, W.H., Norris-Caneda, K., (2012, November 8) Wood and cell wall gene microarray. USA patent application 20120284870.
Bloksberg, L.N., Bryant, C., Connett, M.B., Emerson, S.J., Frost, M.J., Forster, R., Llewellyn S., Grigor, M., Higgins, C., Lasham, A., Lund, S.T., Magusin, A., Phillips, J. Puthigae, S., Veerakone, S., Westwood, C., Gause, K. & Wood, M., Havukkala, I., Rottman, W.H. (2012, May 31) Transcription Factors. USA patent application 20120137385
Bloksberg, L., Connett-Porceddu, M.B.., Emerson, S.J., Frost, M.J., Forster, R.L.S., Grigor, M.R., Havukkala, I., Higgins, C.M., Kodrzycki, R.J., Lund, S.T. & Magusin, A. (2012, February, 2012). # 8,110,726, Polynucleotides encoding cellulose synthase from pinus radiata and methods of use for regulating polysaccharides of a plant. USA.
Bloksberg, L., Bryant, C., Connett, M., Emerson, S., Frost, M., Forster, R., Grigor, M., Higgins, C.M., Lasham, A., Lund, S., Magusin, A., Phillips, J., Puthigae, S., Veerakone, S., Westwood, C., Gause, K. & Wood, M., Havukkala, I., Rottman, W.H., (2012, February 7). #8,110,723, Transcription factors. USA.
Chang, S., Connett, M. B., Emerson, S. J., Forster; R. L., Gause, K., Havukkala, I, Higgins, C.M. & Kodrzycki, R. (2011, November 8). #8,053,237, Plant cell signaling genes. USA.
Bloksberg, L. N., Frost, M. J., Forster, R. L., Higgins, C.M., Rottman, W. H., & Norris-Caneda, K. (2011, September 13). #8017833, Wood and Cell Wall Gene Microarray. USA.
Chang, S., Connett, M. B., Emerson, S. J., Forster; R. L., Gause, K., Havukkala, I, Higgins, C.M. & Kodrzycki, R. (2010, May 25). #7,723,110, Plant cell signaling genes. USA.
Bloksberg, L. N., Connett-Porceddu, M. B., Emerson, S. J., Frost, M. J., Forster; R. L. S., Grigor, M. R., Havukkala, I., Higgins, C. M., Kodrzycki, R. .J., Lund, S. T. & Magusin, A.(2010, March 2). #7,671,188, Cellulose synthase from pine and methods of use. United States.
Forster, R. L. Connett, M. B., Emerson, S. J., Grigor, M. R. Higgins, C. M., Lund, S. T. Magusin, A. & Kodrzycki, B. (2009, October 6). #7,598,084, Modifications of plant traits using cyclin A. United States.
Bloksberg, L., Bryant, C., Connett, M., Emerson, S., Frost, M., Forster, R., Grigor, M., Higgins, C.M., Lasham, A., Lund, S., Magusin, A., Phillips, J., Puthigae, S., Veerakone, S., Westwood, C., Gause, K. & Wood, M. (2009, March 24). #7,507,875, Transcription factors. USA.
Forster, R. L., Connett, M. B., Emerson, S. J., Grigor, M. R., Higgins, C. M., Lund, S. T. Magusin, A. & Kodrzycki, B. (2006). Cell cycle genes and related methods of using. WO/2005/065339, PCT/US 2006/10516.
Ganesan, A. M., Alfaro, A. C., Higgins, C., Duxbury, M., & Brooks, J. (2012). Characterization of biofilm exudates and their effects on mussel (Perna canaliculus) larvae. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 434-435, 34-46.
Ganesan, A. M., Alfaro, A. C., Higgins, C. M., & Brooks, J. D. (2012). The effects of bacterial cell suspensions on mussel (Perna canaliculus) larval settlement. Aquaculture, 350-353, 143-146.
Ganesan, A. M., Alfaro, A. C., Brooks, J. D., & Higgins, C. M. (2010). The role of bacterial biofilms and exudates on the settlement of mussel (Perna canaliculus) larvae. Aquaculture, 306(1-4), 388-392.
Jain, R., von Hurst, P. R., Stonehouse, W., Love, D. R., Higgins, C. M., & Coad, J. (2012). Association of vitamin D receptor gene polymorphisms with insulin resistance and response to vitamin D. Metabolism, 61(3), 293-301.
Higgins, C. M., Hall, R. M., Mitter, N., Cruickshank, A., & Dietzgen, R. G. (2004). Peanut stripe potyvirus resistance in peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) plants carrying viral coat protein gene sequences. Transgenic Res, 13(1), 59-67.
Dietzgen, R. G., Callaghan, B., Higgins, C. M., Birch, R. G., Chen, K., & Xu, Z. (2001). Differentiation of peanut seedborne potyviruses and cucumoviruses by RT-PCR. Plant Disease, 85(9), 989-992.
Hall, R. M., Drew, R. A., Higgins, C. M., & Dietzgen, R. G. (2000). Efficient organogenesis of an Australian passionfruit hybrid (Passiflora edulis x Passiflora edulis var. flavicarpa) suitable for gene delivery. Australian Journal of Botany, 48(5), 673-680.
Higgins, C. M., Hall, R. M., Campbell, P. R., & Dietzgen, R. G. (2000). PCR Rescue and Analysis of Transgene Sequences Directly from Crude Extracts of Transgenic Embryos and Plants. Plant Molecular Biology Reporter, 18(3), 285a-285g.
Higgins, C. M., Dietzgen, R. G., Akin, H. M., Sudarsono., Chen, K., & Xu, Z. (1999). Biological and Molecular Variability of Peanut Stripe Virus. Current Topics in Virology, 1, 1-26.
Chen, K., Xu, Z., Zhang, Z., Fang, X., Yan, L., Higgins, C. M., Dietzgen, R. G. (1999). Biological Characters and sequence analysis of coat protein gene of Chinese strains peanut stripe virus (PStV). Chinese Journal of Oil Crops Science, 21, 55-59.
Higgins, C. M., CooK, G., Pietersen, G., & Dietzgen, R. G. (1999). Identification of peanut stripe virus (PStV) in infected peanut tissue imported into South Africa.. African Plant Protection, 5, 5-12.
Xu, Z., Higgins, C. M., Chen, K., Dietzgen, R. G., Zhang, Z., Yang, L., Fang, X. (1998). Evidence for a third taxonomic subgroup of peanut stunt virus from China. Plant Disease, 82, 992-998.
Higgins, C. M., Cassidy, B. G., Teycheney, P. -Y., Wongkaew, S., & Dietzgen, R. G. (1998). Sequences of the coat protein gene of five peanut stripe virus (PStV) strains from Thailand and their evolutionary relationship with other bean common mosaic virus sequences. Archives of Virology, 143, 1655-1667.
Mahon, R. E., Bateson, M. F., Chamberlain, D. A., Higgins, C. M., Drew, R. A., & Dale, J. L. (1996). Transformation of an Australian variety of Carica papaya using microprojectile bombardment. Functional Plant Biology, 23(6), 679-685.
Tabe, L., Higgins, C. M., McNabb, W., & Higgins, T. J. (1993). Genetic engineering of plants for improved nutritional value.. Genetica: the international journal on genetics, 90, 181-200.
Higgins, C. M., Lund, T., Shipley, M. E., Ebringer, A., Sadowska-Wroblewska, M., & Craig, R. K. (1992). Ankylosing spondylitis and HLA-B27: restriction fragment length polymorphism and sequencing of an HLA-B27 allele from a patient with ankylosing spondylitis.. Arthritis and Rheumatism, 51, 855-862.
Higgins, C. M., Manners, J. M., & Scott, K. J. (1985). Decrease in the messenger RNA species coding for chloroplast proteins in the leaves of barley infected with Erysiphe graminis f.sp.hordei.. Plant Physiology, 78, 891-894.
Last updated: 13-Jul-2015 10.25am
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