Dr Samir Alahmad

Research interest

I investigate the role of physiological traits, including root systems, plant developmental, and canopy traits for enhancing winter cereal crop yield under drought environments.

+61 405 946 915

My research project

  • Description
  • Objectives
  • Outcomes

Investigating the value of root traits and canopy development in durum and bread wheat resilience and yield improvement.

  • Developing elite durum wheat with designed root system architecture for future climates
  • Understanding the relationship between above and below-ground traits
  • Using UAV sensor technology to provide new means of evaluating plant root performance
  • New durum and bread wheat germplasm with modified root systems together with molecular markers for target traits will be provided to Australian breeding programs to support the release of resilient varieties;
  • Develop protocols for UAV phenotyping to speed up phenotyping and selection processes in breeding pipelines.

About Samir Alahmad

Country of origin and languages

My origin: Syria
Languages I speak: English, Kurdish, Arabic


BSc – Damascus University, Syria
Diploma HRD, Damascus University, Syria
Masters MSc, Damascus University, Syria
PhD, University of Queensland, Australia

  • University of Queensland Research Scholarship (UQRS) 2015 – 2018
  • Monsanto’s Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program (MBBISP) 2015 – 2018
  • Summer Institute in Statistical Genetics (SISG) scholarship at University of Queensland, 2017
  • The Farrer Memorial Trust Travelling Scholarship 2017
  • Travel Award from the International Society of Root Research to attend ISRR10 Conference in 2018
  • Borlaug Global Rust Competitive Graduate Student Research Award at BGRI 2018 Marrakesh, Morocco
  • QAAFI HDR travel award to attend the durum congress (FSTPlll) in Bologna, Italy, 2018
  • Travel Award from the 1st International Wheat Congress to attend IWC in Saskatoon, Canada 2019
  • Travel Award from the Wheat Initiative to attend a genomic selection course in Bologna, Italy 2019

Assoc. Prof. Lee Hickey
Dr Jason Able
Prof. Christine Beverage
Dr Karine Chenu
Dr Jack Christopher
Dr Kai Voss-Fels

It is exciting to me how we as plant breeders and geneticists can work to bring a large set of traits together and develop new crop varieties that can withstand the changes in climates, pests, and disease and minimise the use of precious resources while meeting the global demand for food.
Dr Samir Alahmad
Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Expand to see the full list of Samir's publications

Alahmad, S., Rambla, C., Voss-Fels, KP. and Hickey, TL. 2022. Accelerating Breeding Cycles. In: Reynolds, M. P., Braun, H. (Eds.), Wheat Improvement – Food Security in a Changing Climate. Springer International Publishing.

Rambla, C., Van Der Meer, S., Voss-Fels, KP. et al. A toolkit to rapidly modify root systems through single plant selection. Plant Methods 18, 2 (2022). DOI:

Vukasovic S., Alahmad S., Christopher J., Snowdon RJ., Stahl A., Hickey LT. Dissecting the Genetics of Early Vigour to Design Drought-Adapted Wheat. Frontiers in Plant Science. 2022;12. DOI:

Ober, ES., Alahmad, S., Cockram, J. et al. Wheat root systems as a breeding target for climate resilience. Theor Appl Genet 134, 1645–1662 (2021). DOI:

Alahmad, S., Kang, Y., Dinglasan, E., Mazzucotelli, E., Voss-Fels, KP., Able, JA., Christopher, J., Bassi, FM., and Hickey, LT. (2020). Adaptive traits to improve durum wheat yield in drought and crown rot environments. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 21, 5260, DOI:

Bassi, FM., El Hassouni, K., Alahmad, S., Kabbaj, H., Zaim, M., Azouz, M., Amadou TS., Kehel, Z., Al-Abdallat, A., Alary, V., Niane, A., Belkadi, B., Filali-Maltouf, A., Hickey, LT., Ortiz, R., Baum, M., and Amri, A. (2019). The Magic of Crop Wild Relatives In: Durum Wheat Breeding. Durum Breeding Program, International Centre for Agriculture in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).

Alahmad, S., El Hassouni, K., Bassi, FM., Dinglasan, E., Youssef, C., Quarry, G., Aksoy, A., Mazzucotelli, E., Juhász, A., Able, JA., Christopher, J., Voss-Fels, KP., Hickey, LT. (2019) A Major Root Architecture QTL Responding to Water Limitation in Durum Wheat. Frontiers in Plant Science. 10:436. DOI:

El Hassouni, K., Alahmad, S., Al-Abdallat, A., Hickey LT., Maltouf, F., Belkadi, B., Bassi, FM. (2018) Molecular dissection of below and above ground adaptation traits for abiotic tolerance of durum wheat. Crop Science 58(6), DOI:

Alahmad, S., Simpfendorfer, S., Bentley, RA., Hickey, TL. (2018) Crown rot of wheat in Australia: Fusarium pseudograminearum taxonomy, population biology and disease management. Australasian Plant Pathology DOI:

Alahmad, S., Dinglasan, E., Leung, KM., Riaz, A., Derbal, N., Voss-Fels, KP., Able, JA., Bassi, FM., Christopher J, and Hickey LT (2018) Speed breeding for multiple quantitative traits in durum wheat. Plant Methods 14, 36 (2018). DOI:

Shehab A., Alahmad S. and Samara F. (2011). Morphology and distribution of the Indian Gerbil, Tatera indica (Hardwicke, 1807), in Syria. Zoology in the Middle East. DOI: