Research Interest

I am an ecophysiologist broadly interested in how environmental and biological controls influence the exchange of carbon dioxide and water vapour between plants and the atmosphere. I use a range of techniques to gain deeper insight into these processes including the measurement of stable isotope compositions of carbon dioxide and water vapour, which are altered by photosynthesis and transpiration. The focus of my recent research has been to develop new methods to test the theory of 18O photosynthetic discrimination, with the aim to improve the estimation of mesophyll conductance and the saturation level of water vapour inside the leaf.  Both of these plant attributes cannot directly be measured, but are important to our understanding of what limits carbon assimilation. 

The aim of my work with the Physiological Plant Ecology group is to identify the key biochemical and physiological processes that determine the metabolic information recorded in the stable hydrogen composition of plant organic compounds such as leaf wax lipids, lignin and cellulose (HYDROCARB project). In doing so, I hope to contribute to the development of a new proxy for the carbon metabolism of plants that can be used to understand how plants have and are responding to climate change.

Education and Professional Experience

2018 – ongoing Postdoctoral Researcher, Group of Prof Ansgar Kahmen, University of Basel
2013-2018 Postdoctoral Researcher, Group of Prof Graham Farquhar, Australian National University
2012-2013 Postdoctoral Researcher, Group of Prof Adrienne Nicotra, Australian National University
2007-2011 PhD, School of Agricultural Science, University of Tasmania under the supervision of Prof Timothy Brodribb, Prof Danny Donaghy and Assoc. Prof Richard Rawnsley.
2003-2006 Bachelor of Agricultural Science, with First Class Honours, University of Tasmania

Key Publications 

Ubierna, N., Holloway-Phillips M.M. & Farquhar, G. D. (2018).  Using carbon stable isotopes to study C3 and C4 photosynthesis: models and calculations, in “Methods in Molecular Biology – Photosynthesis: Methods and Protocols”, vol 1770, pp155-196.

Holloway-Phillips, M. (2018). Photosynthetic oxygen production: new method brings to light forgotten flux, Plant Physiology, 177, 7-9.

Holloway-Phillips, M.M., et al. (2016).  Leaf vein fraction influences the Péclet effect and 18O enrichment in leaf water.  Plant Cell and Environment, 39, 2414-2427.

Cernusak, L. A., Barbour, M., Arndt, S., Cheesman, A., English, N., Field, T., Helliker, B., Holloway-Phillips, M.M. et al. (2016).  Stable isotopes in leaf water of terrestrial plants. Plant Cell and Environment, 39, 1087-1102.

Wilkins, O., Hafemeister, C., Plessis, A., Holloway-Phillips, M.M., et al. (2016) EGRINs (Environmental Gene Regulatory Influence Networks) in rice that function in the response to water deficit, high temperature, and agricultural environments.  Plant Cell, 28, tpc.00158.2016

Holloway-Phillips, M.M., Huai, H., Cochrane, A., Nicotra, A. (2015).  Differences in seedling water-stress response of two co-occurring Banksia species.  Australian Journal of Botany, 63, 647-656.

Brodribb, T. J., Holloway-Phillips, M.M., & Bramley, H. (2014) Improving water transport for carbon gain in crops, in “Crop Physiology: Applications for Genetic Improvement and Agronomy” (2nd edition), eds. V. O. Sadras and D. F. Calderini, Academic Press.

Holloway-Phillips, M.M. & Brodribb, T.J. (2011).  Contrasting hydraulic regulation in closely related forage grasses: Implications for plant water use.  Functional Plant Biology, 38, 594-605.

Holloway-Phillips, M.M. & Brodribb, T.J (2011).  Minimum hydraulic safety leads to maximum water use efficiency in a forage grass.  Plant Cell and Environment, 34, 302-313.

holloway profile photo

Dr. Meisha Holloway-Phillips

University of Basel
Schönbeinstrasse 6
4056 Basel

Ofice no.: 01.015
Phone: +41 (0)61 207 35 18