Yichen Kang

Position: PhD Student
Place of birth: China
Language: English, Mandarin
Scholarship: Research Training Program (RTP)
Advisors: A/Prof Lee Hickey, Prof David Jordan, Prof Andrew Borrell, Dr Samir Alahmad, Dr Andries Potgieter, Dr Kai Voss-Fels


Research background:
Durum or pasta wheat (Triticum turgidum) is known for its hardness, protein, intense yellow colour, nutty flavour and excellent cooking qualities. The world uses more than 25 million tons of durum wheat each year, either for pasta or as a staple food and source of livelihoods in North Africa and the Middle East. Australia is a minor producer of durum wheat; however, in recent years, production has increased. To further expand the production area and enhance Australia’s competitiveness in global markets, improved durum varieties are required. In recent years, production has been impacted by prolonged and widespread drought, and rainfall patterns are likely to be increasingly variable in many durum-producing regions due to climate change. A major breeding challenge is the identification and deployment of physiological traits that can help stabilise yield and quality, particularly in very dry seasons.


My PhD is a multi-disciplinary project aiming to identify drought-adaptive traits that could be targeted in durum breeding programmes, by:
– Implementing a high-throughput phenotyping UAV platform to fast track selection of canopy traits that support yield
– Modelling longitudinal phenotypic data to characterise the dynamics of crop development in response to growing environment
Genetic dissection of canopy traits using multi-parent populations
– Investigating the effects of key quantitative trait loci controlling adaptive traits
– Integrating both canopy and root architectural traits to define ideotypes the target environments.

Kang, Y., Barry, K., Cao, F. and Zhou, M., 2020. Genome-wide association mapping for adult resistance to powdery mildew in common wheat. Molecular Biology Reports, 47(2), pp.1241-1256.
Kang, Y., Zhou, M., Merry, A. and Barry, K., 2020. Mechanisms of powdery mildew resistance of wheat–a review of molecular breeding. Plant Pathology, 69(4), pp.601-617.
Alahmad, S., Kang, Y., Dinglasan, E., Mazzucotelli, E., Voss-Fels, K.P., Able, J.A., Christopher, J., Bassi, F.M. and Hickey, L.T., 2020. Adaptive Traits to Improve Durum Wheat Yield in Drought and Crown Rot Environments. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 21(15), p.5260.