Milena Mitic

Doctor of Philosophy, (Genetics)
Study Completed: 2011
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Investigation of the molecular basis of symbiosis between Epichloe festucae and perennial ryegrass

Milena Mitic’s research focused on investigating signaling mechanisms between the endophytic fungus Epichloë festucae and its symbiotic host, perennial ryegrass. This symbiotic relationship is of great importance for agriculture since endophytic fungi are beneficial for the grass but produce substances that can harm livestock causing diseases such as ryegrass staggers. In her project, different genetic approaches were used to identify new genes important for the regulation of the symbiosis. She identified a novel function for one of the fungal genes involved in calcium signalling and showed that another plays a crucial role in establishing the symbiotic relationship. At the same time, her work on another mutant that could not infect plants provided new insights into the early stages of plant host colonization and identified candidate genes for the regulation of this important process

Professor Barry Scott
Professor Jasna Rakonjac