The University of Western Australia

UWA Staff Profile

Ipsum Lorem

Mark Waters

Dr Mark Waters

Future Fellow
Molecular Sciences, School of

Contact details
School of Molecular Sciences
The University of Western Australia (M310)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 4405
Personal homepage
Room 2.60, Bayliss Building, Perth campus
BA Biological Sciences, St Anne's College, The University of Oxford (awarded 2001)
PhD Plant Molecular Biology, The University of Nottingham (awarded Dec 2004)
Key research
Plant developmental genetics
Karrikin and strigolactone signalling
Synthetic biology
Chemical biology
For updates, please see my lab website:

Waters MT. 2017. From little things big things grow: karrikins and new directions in plant development. Functional Plant Biology.
Waters MT, Gutjahr C, Bennett T, Nelson DC. 2017. Strigolactone Signaling and Evolution. Ann Rev Plant Biol 10.1146/annurev-arplant-042916-040925

Waters MT, Flematti GR, Smith SM. 2016. Assaying Germination and Seedling Responses of Arabidopsis to Karrikins. In, eds J Kleine-Vehn, M Sauer. 1497(Chapter 4):29–36. New York, NY: Springer New York. 8 p.
Brewer PB, Yoneyama K, Filardo F, Meyers E, Scaffidi A, et al. 2016. LATERAL BRANCHING OXIDOREDUCTASE acts in the final stages of strigolactone biosynthesis in Arabidopsis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 113, 6301–6
Flematti GR, Scaffidi A, Waters MT, Smith SM. 2016. Stereospecificity in strigolactone biosynthesis and perception. Planta 243, 1361–73

Waters, MT, Scaffidi, A, Moulin, SLY, Sun, YK, Flematti, GR and Smith, SM (2015) A Selaginella ortholog of KARRIKIN INSENSITIVE2 functions in Arabidopsis development but cannot mediate responses to karrikins and strigolactones. Plant Cell 27, 1925–1944.
Waters, MT, Scaffidi, A, Flematti, GR and Smith, SM (2015) Substrate-induced degradation of the α/β-fold hydrolase KARRIKIN INSENSITIVE2 requires a functional catalytic triad but is independent of MAX2. Mol Plant, doi:10.1016/j.molp.2014.12.020.

Scaffidi, A, Waters, MT, Sun, YK, Skelton, BW, Dixon, KW, Ghisalberti, EL, Flematti, GR and Smith, SM (2014) Strigolactone hormones and their stereoisomers signal through two related receptor proteins to induce different physiological responses in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol, 165, 1221–1232.
Waters, MT, Scaffidi, A, Sun, YK, Flematti, GR and Smith, SM (2014) The karrikin response system of Arabidopsis. Plant J, 79, 623–631.

Waters, MT, Scaffidi, A, Flematti, GR and Smith, SM (2013) The origins and mechanisms of karrikin signalling. Curr Opin Plant Biol, 16, 667–673.
*Scaffidi, A, *Waters, MT, Ghisalberti, EL, Dixon, KW, Flematti, GR and Smith, SM (2013) Carlactone-independent seedling morphogenesis in Arabidopsis. Plant J, 76, 1–9. (*joint first authors)
Waters, MT, Tiley, AMM, Kramer, EM, Meerow, AW, Langdale, JA and Scotland, RW (2013) The corona of the daffodil Narcissus bulbocodium shares stamen-like identity and is distinct from the orthodox floral whorls. Plant J, 74, 615–625.
Rauf, M, Arif, M, Dortay, H, Matallana-Ramírez, LP, Waters, MT, Gil Nam, H, Lim, P-O, Mueller-Roeber, B and Balazadeh, S (2013) ORE1 balances leaf senescence against maintenance by antagonizing G2-like-mediated transcription. EMBO Reports, 14, 382–388.
Bythell-Douglas, R, Waters, MT, Scaffidi, A, Flematti, GR, Smith, SM and Bond, CS (2013) The structure of the karrikin-insensitive protein (KAI2) in Arabidopsis thaliana. PLoS ONE, 8, e54758.
Flematti, GR, Waters, MT, Scaffidi, A, Merritt, DJ, Ghisalberti, EL, Dixon, KW and Smith, SM (2013) Karrikin and cyanohydrin smoke signals provide clues to new endogenous plant signaling compounds. Mol Plant, 6, 29–37.
Waters, MT and Smith, SM (2013) KAI2- and MAX2-mediated responses to karrikins and strigolactones are largely independent of HY5 in Arabidopsis seedlings. Mol Plant, 6, 63–75.

Smith, SM and Waters, MT (2012) Strigolactones: destruction-dependent perception? Curr Biol, 22, R924–R927. (Commentary article)
Waters, MT, Scaffidi, A, Flematti, GR and Smith, SM (2012) Karrikins force a rethink of strigolactone mode of action. Plant Signal Behav, 7, 969–972.
Waters, MT, Brewer, PB, Bussell, JD, Smith, SM and Beveridge, CA (2012) The Arabidopsis ortholog of rice DWARF27 acts upstream of MAX1 in the control of plant development by strigolactones. Plant Physiol, 159, 1073–1085.
Scaffidi, A, Waters, MT, Bond, CS, Dixon, KW, Smith, SM, Ghisalberti, EL and Flematti, GR (2012) Exploring the molecular mechanism of karrikins and strigolactones. Bioorg Med Chem Lett, 22, 3743–3746.
Scaffidi, A, Waters, MT, Skelton, BW, Bond, CS, Sobolev, AN, Bythell-Douglas, R, McKinley, AJ, Dixon KW, Ghisalberti EL, Smith SM and Flematti, GR. (2012) Solar irradiation of the seed germination stimulant karrikinolide produces two novel head-to-head cage dimers. Org Biomol Chem, 10, 4069–4073.
Waters, MT, Nelson, DC, Scaffidi, A, Flematti, GR, Sun, YK, Dixon, KW and Smith, SM (2012) Specialisation within the DWARF14 protein family confers distinct responses to karrikins and strigolactones in Arabidopsis. Development, 139, 1285–1295.
Roles, responsibilities and expertise
Lab leader
Lecturer in Genetics
Funding received
Waters MT: 2016, 'Discovering new plant hormone signalling networks', UWA Fellowship Support.
Flematti GR, Waters MT, Dixon KW, Merritt D, Perez-Fernandez, M: 2016, 'Smoke-derived karrikins reveal a new pathway for plant development', ARC Discovery projects.
Waters MT: 2015, 'Unlocking a new hormone signalling system to increase plant performance', ARC Future Fellowships.
Waters MT: 2014, ‘A novel bioassay based in yeast to discover a predicted new plant hormone’, Winner, UWA Pitch Your Project in 3 Minutes. Awarded funds: $3,000
Waters MT: 2011, 'Smoke signals and shoot branching hormones – how do plants tell the difference?', UWA Research Development Award. Awarded funds: $25,334
Smith SM, Dixon, KW Waters, MT: 2010, 'Molecular mechanisms of karrikin mode of action in the control of plant growth', UWA Research Collaboration Award. Awarded funds: $15,500
Smith SM, Beveridge CA, Dixon, KW, Waters MT, Scaffidi A, Flematti GR, Long R, Dun E, Brewer P: 2010, 'Relationship between strigolactones & karrikins in the control of plant growth & development', UWA–UQ Bilateral Research Collaboration Award. Awarded funds: $19,878
Australian Society of Plant Scientists
American Society of Plant Biologists
Honours and awards
Australian Society of Plant Scientists (ASPS) Peter Goldacre Award (2015)
UWA Highly Cited Researcher (2014)
Finalist, UWA Robson Medal for Research Excellence in agriculture and related areas (2013)
Edward Cocking Prize in Plant Science (2004)
Harley Prize of the New Phytologist Trust (2001)
Previous positions
2009 Field Research Assistant
University of Western Australia, School of Plant Biology
2004-2008 Post-doctoral Research Fellow (PI: Prof Jane A Langdale)
University of Oxford, Department of Plant Sciences
GENE2250 Principles of Inheritance
GENE3350 Evolution and Development
GENE4001 Advanced Studies in Genetics and Genomics
BIOC5001 Advanced Techniques in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Useful links
Current projects
Honours and PhD opportunities:

1. Smoke alarm: Discovering new signalling compounds that operate in plants

2. Exploiting chemical signals to boost plant performance
Research profile
Research profile and publications

The University of Western Australia

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Last updated:
Tuesday, 3 November, 2015 2:39 PM