Portrait of Michelle Watt

Professor Michelle Watt

Prof. Michelle Watt holds the Adrienne Clarke Chair of Botany at the University of Melbourne. She is also the President of the International Society of Root Research, and Co-Chair of the Root Phenotyping Working Group.

Michelle uses imaging and sensor technologies in the field and lab with modelling to understand how roots function in the world’s increasingly dynamic climates. The aim is to reduce impacts of agriculture on the environment while increasing farmer productivity by breeding and/or managing more resource efficient root-soil systems. Michelle has been involved with multi-partner projects with Australia, the USA, India, the Philippines, UK and Germany in the under-studied but critical area of plant roots.

Michelle commenced at UoM in 2020. Previously, from 2015 to 2019, she was a Director of the Plant Sciences Institute at the Helmholtz Centre, Forschungszentrum Juelich, and Professor of Crop Root Physiology at the University of Bonn. Prior to 2015, Michelle was at CSIRO in Australia researching root-rhizosphere processes to enhance wheat yield in rainfed, conservation agriculture.


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