Dr Heather Nonhebel

Senior Lecturer in Molecular and Cellular Biology - School of Science and Technology

Heather Nonhebel

Phone: +61 2 6773 2083

Email: hnonheb2@une.edu.au


I have BSc (Hons) and PhD degrees from the University of Glasgow, Scotland. I have worked as a Research fellow at Michigan State and New South Wales Universities. I also held lecturing positions in Biochemistry at the Universities of Auckland and Western Sydney before coming to UNE.


BSc (Hons), PhD (University of Glasgow)

Teaching Areas

I have enjoyed teaching aspects of biochemistry, particularly metabolism and protein biochemistry for many years.

I currently coordinate the second and third year biochemistry units: BCHM210, and BCHM310 as well as teaching in BCHM220, BIOL110 and AGRO311

Research Interests

My research is focussed on understanding signalling that directs photosynthate into developing cereal grains where it is deposited as starch. In particular I am researching the  roles of plant hormones auxin or indole-3-acetic acid and abscisic acid in this process and their connection with sugar signalling and the activity of the cell wall, sucrose degrading enzyme, invertase. The signalling that occurs during early grain fill is highly sensitive to temperature stress, leading to poor grain fill and low quality chalky grains. We are investigating the response of signalling genes to heat stress with a view to developing molecular markers that may assist in developing heat tolerant varieties. Most work is done with rice, however we have recently also started to work with sorghum.


Selected publications

Russell French S., Abu-Zaitoon Y.M., Uddin M.M., Bennett  K. and Nonhebel  H.M., Auxin and cell wall invertase related signalling during rice grain development, Plants (in press) (2014)

Katz M.E., Braunberger K., Yi G., Cooper S., Nonhebel H.M. and Gondro C., A p53-like transcription factor similar to Ndt80 controls the response to nutrient stress in the filamentous fungus, Aspergillus nidulans, F1000Research 2 (2013)

Abu-Zaitoon Y.M., Bennett K., Normanly J. and Nonhebel H.M., A large increase in IAA during development of rice grains correlates with expression of tryptophan aminotransferase OsTAR1 and a grain-specific YUCCA, Physiologia plantarum, 146: 487-499 (2012)

Nonhebel H.M., Yuan Y., Al-Amier H., Pieck M., Akor E., Ahamed A., Cohen J.D., Celenza J.L. and Normanly J., Redirection of tryptophan metabolism in tobacco by ectopic expression of an Arabidopsis indolic glucosinolate biosynthetic gene, Phytochemistry 72:37-48 (2011)

Rahmanpour S., Backhouse D. and Nonhebel H.M., Reaction of glucosinolate-myrosinase defence system in Brassica plants to pathogenicity factor of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, European Journal of Plant Pathology 128:429-433 (2010)

Rahmanpour S., Backhouse D., Nonhebel H.M., Induced tolerance of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum to isothiocyanates and toxic volatiles from Brassica species, Plant Pathology 58:479-486 (2009)