The University of Western Australia

UWA Staff Profile

Ipsum Lorem

Patrick Finnegan

Dr Patrick Finnegan

Deputy Head of School (Education)/Senior Lecturer
Plant Biology, School of

Contact details
School of Plant Biology
The University of Western Australia (M084)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 8546
+61 8 6488 1108
Room 1027, North Wing Agriculture Building, Perth campus
BSc Mass., PhD McG.
I spent my early years in the United States of America, mainly in the small New England state of Vermont, renowned for the beauty of its autumn foliage, the purity of its snow and the sweetness of its maple syrup. I completed my Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (U.S.A.). I then left the U.S. for Montreal, Canada to undertake a PhD at McGill University. My PhD experience sparked my interest in mitochondrial biogenesis, an area I continue to research at UWA. After completing my PhD in 1989, overjoyed at finishing the degree but greatly saddened by the prospect of leaving beautiful, cosmopolitan Montreal, I moved to Australia with the view of staying for a 2 year post-doctoral experience. I have been here ever since, enjoying the natural beauty of the place and the friendliness of the people. I held post-doctoral research positions at Monash University, Queensland University of Technology, The Australian National University and Macquarie University. Before taking up my position as Lecturer in Plant Biology at UWA in 2003, I held lecturing posts in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, ANU (1999) and the School of Science, Food and Horticulture, University of Western Sydney (2001 – 2002). I have always enjoyed opportunities to work with Australian and international research students at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Over the years, I have been actively involved in the supervision of many Honours and postgraduate research students. All these students successfully finished their research degrees and most are still directly involved in scientific research. I remain very interested in plant mitochondrial biogenesis, and have more recently branched into the area of plant phosphate nutrition, as you can read by following the link to my Profile page. In particular, I am amazed at the ability of Australian native plants, especially in southwestern Australia, to survive on soils that are the most nutrient impoverished on earth.
Key research
•Phosphorus nutrition in Australian native
•Regulation of phosphorus responses
•Plant respiration
•Mitochondrial biogenesis, function and
•Arsenic toxicity
•Regulation of plant gene expression
•Plant molecular biology
65.Lambers, H., Finnegan, P.M., Jost, R., Plaxton, W.C., Shane, M.W. & Stitt, M. 2015. Phosphorus nutrition in Proteaceae: a paradigm shift in plant phosphorus nutrition research. Nature Plants 1: 15109 (doi: 10.1038/NPLANTS.2015.109)
64.Jost, R., Pharmawati, M., Lapis-Gaza, H.R., Rossig, C., Berkowitz, O., Lambers, H., Finnegan, P.M. (2015) Differentiating phosphate-dependent and phosphate-independent segments of the systemic phosphate-starvation response network in Arabidopsis thaliana through the application of phosphite. Journal Experimental Botany 66: 2501–2514 (doi: 10.1093/jxb/erv025)
63.Lapis-Gaza, H.R., Jost, R. and Finnegan, P.M. (2014) Arabidopsis PHOSPHATE TRANSPORTER1 genes PHT1;8 and PHT1;9 are involved in root-to-shoot translocation of orthophosphate. BMC Plant Biology 2014 14:334. (doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0334-z)
62.Kuppusamy, T., Giavalisco, P., Arvidsson, S., Sulpice, R., Stitt, M., Finnegan, P.M., Scheible, W.R., Lambers, H., Jost, R. (2014) Phospholipids are replaced during leaf development, but protein and mature leaf metabolism respond to phosphate in highly phosphorus-efficient harsh hakea. Plant Physiology 166:1891-1911. (DOI: 10.1104/pp.114.248930)
61.Kariman, K., Barker, S.J., Finnegan, P.M. and Tibbett, M. (2014) Ecto- and arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis can induce tolerance to toxic pulses of phosphorus in jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) seedlings. Mycorrhiza 24:501-509 (DOI 10.1007/s00572-014-0567-6)
60.Aziz, T., Finnegan. P.M., Lambers, H. and Jost, R. (2014) Expression analysis of genes involved in Pi homeostasis and metabolic adjustment in two wheat genotypes contrasting in their P use efficiency. Plant, Cell and Environment 37: 943-960 (DOI: 10.1111/pce.12210)
59.Florez-Sarasa, I. Lambers, H., Wang, X., Finnegan, P.M. and Ribas-Carbo, M. (2014) The alternative respiratory pathway mediates carboxylate synthesis in white lupin cluster roots under phosphorus deprivation. Plant Cell and Environment 37: 922-928 (DOI: 10.1111/pce.12208)
58.Kariman, K., Barker, S.J., Jost, R., Finnegan, P.M. and Tibbett, M. (2014) A novel plant-fungus symbiosis benefits the host without forming mycorrhizal structures. New Phytologist 201: 1413–1422 (DOI: 10.1111/nph.12600)
57.Chen, W., Chi, Y., Taylor, N.C., Millar, A.H., Lambers, H. and Finnegan, P.M. (2014) The metabolic acclimation of Arabidopsis thaliana to arsenate is sensitized by the loss of mitochondrial LIPOAMIDE DEHYDROGENASE2, a key enzyme in oxidative metabolism. Plant, Cell and Environment 37: 684–695 (DOI: 10.1111/pce.12187)
56.Uloth, M., You, M.P., Finnegan, P.M., Banga, S.S., Yi, H., and Barbetti, M. J. (2014) Seedling resistance to Sclerotinia sclerotiorum as expressed across diverse cruciferous species. Plant Disease 98:184-190 (doi: 10.1094/PDIS-06-13-0612-RE).
55.Ribalta, F.M., Croser, J.S., Erskine, W., Finnegan, P.M., Lulsdorf, M.M., Ochatt, S.J. (2014) The antigibberellin Flurprimidol permits in vitro flowering and seed-set across a range of pea (Pisum sativum L.) genotypes by reducing internode length. Biologia Plantarum 58: 39-46. (doi: 10.1007/s10535-013-0379-0)
54.Uloth, M., You, M.P., Finnegan, P.M., Banga, S.S., Banga, S.K., Sandhu, P.S., Yi, H., Salisbury, P., and Barbetti, M.J. (2013) New sources of resistance to Sclerotinia sclerotiorum for crucifer crops. Field Crops Research 154: 40-52. (DOI: 10.1016/j.fcr.2013.07.013)
53.Lambers, H., Ahmedi, I., Berkowitz, O., Dunne, C., Finnegan, P.M., Hardy, G., Jost, R., Laliberté, E., Pearse, S. and Teste, F. (2013) Phosphorus nutrition of phosphorus-sensitive Australian native plants: Threats to plant communities in a global biodiversity hotspot Conservation Physiology 1: DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cot010
52.Fang, X.L., Jost, R.; Finnegan, P.M. and Barbetti M.J. (2013) Comparative Proteome Analysis of Strawberry-Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. fragariae Pathosystem Reveals Early Activation of Defense Responses as a Crucial Determinant of Host Resistance. J. Proteome Res. 12: 1772−1788
51.Berkowitz, O., Jost R., Kollehn, D.O., Fenske, R., Finnegan, P.M., O’Brien, P.A., Hardy, G.E.S. and Lambers, H. (2013) Acclimation responses of Arabidopsis thaliana to sustained phosphite treatments. J. Exp. Bot. 64: 1731–1743
50.Fang, X.L., Finnegan, P.M., Barbetti, M.J. (2013) Wide Variation in Virulence and Genetic Diversity of Binucleate Rhizoctonia Isolates Associated with Root Rot of Strawberry in Australia. PLoS One 8 (2): e55877. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055877
49.Kariman, K., Barker, S.J., Finnegan, P.M. and Tibbett, M. (2012) Dual mycorrhizal associations of jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) in a nurse-pot system. Australian Journal of Botany 60: 661–668 (DOI 10.1071/BT12152)
48.Fang, X.L., Kuo, J., You, M., Finnegan, P.M. and Barbetti, M.J. (2012) Comparative root colonisation of strawberry cultivars Camarosa and Festival by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp fragariae. Plant and Soil DOI 10.1007/s11104-012-1205-8
47.Chai, T.T., Simmonds, D., Day, D.A., Colmer, T.D., and Finnegan, P.M. (2012) A GmAOX2b antisense gene compromises vegetative growth and seed production in soybean. Planta 236: 199-207 (DOI 10.1007/s00425-012-1601-6)
46.Veneklaas, E.J., Lambers, H., Bragg, J., Finnegan, P.M., Lovelock, C.E., Plaxton, W., Price, C., Scheible, W.R., Shane, M., White, P.J. and Raven, J.A. (2012) Tansley Review: Opportunities for improving internal plant phosphorus-use efficiency in crop plants. New Phytologist 195: 306-320. (DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2012.04190.x)
45.Finnegan, P.M. and Chen W. (2012) Arsenic toxicity: the effects on plant metabolism. Front. Physio. 3:182. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2012.00182
44.Ge, X., Li, Y., Wan, Z., You, M.P., Finnegan, P.M., Banga, S.S., Sandhu, P.S., Garg, H., Salisbury, P. and Barbetti, M.J. (2012) Delineation of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum pathotypes using differential resistance responses on Brassica napus and B. juncea genotypes enables identification of resistance to prevailing pathotypes. Field Crops Research 127: 248–258 (doi:10.1016/j.fcr.2011.11.022
43.Lambers, H., Finnegan, P.M., Laliberté, E., Pearse, S. J., Ryan, M.H., Shane, M.W., Veneklaas, E.J. (2011) Phosphorus Nutrition of Proteaceae in Severely Phosphorus-Impoverished Soils: Are There Lessons to Be Learned for Future Crops? Plant Physiology 156: 1058-1066 (DOI:10.1104/pp.111.174318)
42.Berkowitz, O., Jost, R., Pearse, S.J., Lambers, H., Finnegan, P.M., Hardy, G.E.St.J. and O‘Brien, P.A. (2011) An enzymatic fluorescent assay for the quantification of phosphite in a microtiter plate format. Anal Biochem 412: 74 - 78.
41.Chen, W., Chi, Y., Taylor, N.L., Lambers, H. and Finnegan, P.M. (2010) Disruption of ptLPD1 or ptLPD2, genes that encode isoforms of the plastid lipoamide dehydrogenase, confers arsenate hypersensitivity in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Physiol 153: 1385-1397
40.Chai, T.T., Colmer, T.D., and Finnegan, P.M. (2010) Alternative oxidase, a determinant of plant gametophyte fitness and fecundity. Plant Signalling and Behaviour 5: 604-606
39.Chai, T.T., Simmonds, D., Day, D.D., Colmer, T.D., and Finnegan, P.M. (2010) Photosynthetic performance and fertility are repressed in GmAOX2b antisense soybean. Plant Physiol 152(3):1638-1649
38.Yang, X.J. and Finnegan, P.M. (2010) Regulation of phosphate-starvation responses in higher plants. Ann Bot 105: 513-526
37.Pharmawati, M., Yan, G. and Finnegan, P.M. (2009) Chloroplast DNA copy number may link to sex determination in Leucadendron (Proteaceae). HAYATI Journal of Biosciences 16: 21-24.
36.Lui, H., Yan, G., Finnegan, P.M. and Sedgely, R. (2007) Development of DNA markers for hybrid identification in Leucadendron. Scientia Horticulturae 113: 376-382.
35.Ribas-Carbo, M., Taylor, N.L., Giles, L., Busquits, S., Finnegan, P.M., Day, D.A., Lambers, H., Medrano, H., Berry, J.A. and Flexas, J. (2005) Effects of water stress on respiration in soybean (Glycine max L.) leaves. Plant Physiol 139: 466 – 473.
34.Pharmawati, M., Yan, G., and Finnegan, P.M. (2005) Molecular Variation and Fingerprinting of Leucadendron Cultivars (Proteaceae) by ISSR Markers. Ann Bot 95: 1163-1170.
33.Finnegan, P.M., Brumbley, S.M., O’Shea, M.S., Nevalainen, K.M.H., and Bergquist, P.L. (2005) Diverse dextranase genes from Paenibacillus species. Archives of Microbiology 183: 140-147.
32.Finnegan, P.M., Soole, K.L. and Umbach, A.L. (2004) Alternative mitochondrial electron transport proteins in higher plants. In: Plant Mitochondria: From Genome to Function. Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration vol 17. Day, D.A., Millar A.H., and Whelan J., eds., Kluwer, pp. 163 – 230.
31.Pharmawati, M., Yan, G., Sedgley, R., Finnegan, P.M. (2004) Chloroplast DNA inheritance and variation in Leucadendron species (Proteaceae) as revealed by PCR-RFLP. Theor Appl Genet 109: 1694-1701. DOI 10.1007.s00122-004-1800-z.
30.Finnegan, P.M., Brumbley, S.M., O’Shea, M.S., Nevalainen, K.M.H., and Bergquist, P.L. (2004) Isolation and characterisation of genes encoding thermoactive and thermostable dextranases from two thermotolerant soil bacteria. Current Microbiology 49:327-333
29.Finnegan, P.M., Brumbley, S.M., O’Shea, M.S., Nevalainen, K.M.H., and Bergquist, P.L. (2004) Paenibacillus isolates possess diverse dextran-degrading enzymes. J Appl Microbiol 97: 477-485.
28.Finnegan, P.M., Umbach, A.L. and Wilce, J. (2003) Prokaryotic origins for the mitochondrial alternative oxidase and plastid IMMUTANS nuclear genes. FEBS Lett. 555: 425 – 430.
27.Thirkettle Watts, D., McCabe, T.C., Clifton, R., Moore, C., Finnegan, P.M., Day D.A. and Whelan, J. (2003) Analysis of the Alternative Oxidase Promoters from Soybean. Plant Physiol 133: 1158-1169.
26.Holtzapffel, R.C., Castelli, J., Finnegan, P.M., Millar, A.H., Whelan, J. and Day, D.A. (2003) A tomato alternative oxidase protein with altered regulatory properties. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1606: 153 – 162.
25.Djajanegara, I.N., Finnegan, P.M., Mathieu, C., McCabe, T., Whelan, J. and Day, D.A. (2002) Regulation of alternative oxidase gene expression in soybean. Plant Molecular Biology. 50: 735 – 742.
24.Holtzapffel,R.C., Finnegan, P.M., Millar, A.H., Badger, M.R. and Day, D.A. (2002) Mitochondrial protein expression in tomato fruit during on-vine ripening and cold storage. Functional Plant Biology. 29: 827 - 834.
23.Finnegan, P.M., Suzuki, S., Ludwig, M. and Burnell, J.N. (1999) Differential expression of four genes encoding phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase in the C4 monocot Urochloa panicoides. Plant Physiology. 120: 1033-1041.
22.Tanudji, M., Djajanegara, I.N., Daley, D.O., McCabe, T.C., Finnegan, P.M., Day, D.A. and Whelan, J. (1999) The multiple alternative oxidase proteins of soybean. Australian Journal of Plant Physiology. 26: 337-344.
21.Djajanegara, I.N., Holtzapffel, R., Finnegan, P.M., Hoefnagel, M.H.N., Berthold, D.A. Wiskich, J.T., and Day, D.A. (1999) A single amino acid change in the plant alternative oxidase alters the specificity of organic acid activation. FEBS Letts. 454: 220-224.
20.Whelan, J., Smith,M.K., Finnegan, P.M. and Day, D.A. (1999) Cloning and Sequencing of a Genomic Clone for the Alternative Oxidase (Accession No. AF083880) from Soybean. (PGR99-072) Plant Physiology. 120: 633.
19.Finnegan, P.M., Wooding, A.R. and Day, D.A. (1999) An alternative oxidase monoclonal antibody recognises a highly conserved sequence among alternative oxidase subunits. FEBS Letter 447, 21-24.
18.McCabe, T., Finnegan, P.M., Millar, A.H., Day, D.A. and Whelan, J. (1998) Increased alternative oxidase activity during cotyledon development in soybean is caused by differential gene expression. Plant Physiology 118, 675-682.
17.Kaiser, B.N., Finnegan, P.M., Tyerman, S.D., Whitehead, L.F., Day, D.A. and Udvardi, M.K. (1998) Identification and characterisation of a novel ammonium transport protein from soybean nodules. Science 281, 1202-1206.
16.Finnegan, P.M., Djajanegara, I.N., Schuller, L.J., Smith, M.K., Whelan, J. and Day, D.A. (1998) Analysis of the antimycin A-inducible promoter region of soybean GmAOX1. In Møller, I.M., Gardeström, P., Glimelius, K., and Glaser, E. eds., Plant Mitochondria: From Gene to Function. Backhuys, Leiden 449-453.
15.Day, D.A., Whelan, J., McCabe, T.C., Millar, A.H., Atkin, O.K., Djajanegara, I.N., Schuller, L.J. and Finnegan, P.M. (1998) Developmental and environmental regulation of alternative oxidase expression in soybean. In Møller, I.M., Gardeström, P., Glimelius, K., and Glaser, E. eds., Plant Mitochondria: From Gene to Function. Backhuys, Leiden 429-440.
14.Holtzapffel, R.C., Finnegan, P.M., Millar, A.H., Dutilh, B., Badger, M.R. and Day, D.A. (1998) Purification and properties of mitochondria from tomato. In Møller, I.M., Gardeström, P., Glimelius, K., and Glaser, E. eds., Plant Mitochondria: From Gene to Function. Backhuys, Leiden 469-474.
13.Tanudji, M., Daley, D.O., McCabe, T.C., Finnegan, P.M., Djajanegara, I.N, Day, D.A. and Whelan, J. (1998) Alternative oxidase proteins of soybean mitochondria: Identification of the multiple proteins in soybean tissues.In Møller, I.M., Gardeström, P., Glimelius, K., and Glaser, E. eds., Plant Mitochondria: From Gene to Function. Backhuys, Leiden 525-530.
12.Millar, A.H., Finnegan, P.M., Whelan, J., Drevon, J.J. and Day, D.A. (1997) Expresion and kinetics of the mitochondrial alternative oxidase in nitrogen-fixing nodules of soybean roots. Plant, Cell and Environment. 20, 1273-1282.
11.Finnegan, P.M., Whelan, J., Millar, A.H., Zhang, Q., Smith, M.K., Wiskich, J.T. and Day, D.A. (1997) Differential expression of the multigene family encoding the soybean mitochondrial alternative oxidase. Plant Physiol. 114, 455-466.
10.Finnegan, P.M., Ellis, T.P., Nagley, P. and Lukins, H.B. (1995) The mature AEP2 gene product of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, required for the expression of subunit 9 of ATP synthase, is a 58 kDa mitochondrial protein. FEBS Lett. 368, 505-508.
9.Finnegan, P.M. and Burnell, J.N. (1995) Isolation and sequence analysis of cDNAs encoding phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase from the PCK-type C4 grass Urochloa panicoides. Plant Mol. Biol. 27, 365-376.
8.Nagley, P., Devenish, R.J. and Finnegan, P.M. (1994) Gene Expression. In Knox, B., Ladiges, P., Evans, B. eds., Biology. McGraw Hill, Sydney, Chapter 11.
7.Payne, M.J., Finnegan, P.M., Smooker, P.M. and Lukins, H.B. (1993) Characterisation of a second nuclear gene, AEP1, required for expression of the mitochondrial oli1 gene in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Curr. Genet. 24, 126-135.
6.Finnegan, P.M., Payne, M.J., Keramidaris, E. and Lukins, H.B. (1991) Characterisation of a yeast nuclear gene, AEP2, required for accumulation of mitochondrial mRNA encoding subunit 9 of the ATP synthase. Curr. Genet. 20, 53-61.
5.Gray, R.E., Grasso, D.G., Maxwell, R.J., Finnegan, P.M., Nagley, P. and Devenish, R.J. (1990) Identification of a 66 kDa protein associated with yeast mitochondrial ATP synthase as heat shock protein hsp60. FEBS Lett. 268, 265-268.
4.Brown, G.G. and Finnegan, P.M. (1989) RNA Plasmids. Int. Rev. Cytol. 117, 1-56.
3.Finnegan, P.M. and Brown, G.G. (1990) Transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of RNA levels in maize mitochondria. The Plant Cell 2, 71-83.
2.Finnegan, P.M. and Brown, G.G. (1987) In organello transcription in maize mitochondria and its sensitivity to inhibitors of RNA synthesis. Plant Physiol. 85, 304-309.
1.Finnegan, P.M. and Brown, G.G. (1986) Autonomously replicating RNA in mitochondria of maize plants with S-type cytoplasm. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 83, 5175-5179.
Roles, responsibilities and expertise
Faculty of Science Coordinator, 4th-year and 5th-year Programs in Agricultural and Natural Sciences
Lecturer in BIOL1130 Frontiers in Biology
Coordinator and Lecturer in SCIE1103 Science, Society and Communication
Coordinator of research units SCIE4501-SCIE4504, SCIE5590, SCIE5511-SCIE5513
Funding received
ARC Discovery Project Grant 2014 - 2016
ARC Discovery Project Grant 2011 - 2013
ARC Linkage Project Grant 2008 - 2011
ARC Discovery Project Grant 2006 - 2008
ARC Discovery Project Grant 2003 - 2005
Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Australian Society of Plant Scientists
American Society of Plant Biologists
Previous positions
Lecturer: University of Western Sydney
Post-doctoral Researcher: Macquarie University, Australian National University, Queensland University of Technology, Monash University
I enjoy interacting with students at all levels, so I teach in 1st, 2nd and 3rd level units and supervise 4th-year Honours, Masters and PhD students. In the level 1 unit Frontiers in Biology (BIOL1130), I teach aspects of biological diversity, cell structure and function, and biochemistry. At 2nd level, I lecture on the physiological impacts of photosynthesis and respiration (oxygen consumption) on plants in Plant Physiology: Plants in Action (PLNT2201). In the level 3 unit Plant Physiological Ecology (PLNT3301), I teach about the responses of plants to abiotic stress and the establishment of plant symbioses. Good communication skills are invaluable to good science. I teach these skills in the level 1 unit Science, Society and Communication (SCIE1103) and in level 4 and 5 research units.
Useful links
Prof Hans Lambers (UWA) (
Current projects
I am happy to supervise domestic and international students at the Honours, Masters and PhD levels in any of my research areas. My group uses a number of targeted and non-targeted approaches to understand the gene regulatory pathways that control phosphorus nutrition and changes to mitochondrial protein gene expression during plant development and under various environmental conditions. Several projects in collaboration with Prof Hans Lambers (Plant Biology) investigate the molecular physiological adaptations in plants that regulate the acquisition of phosphate from the environment and that allow plants to survive on highly weathered soils that contain very little phosphate, an essential nutrient. Of particular interest is the mechanism that underlies the delayed greening of leaves in several native species of Proteaceae.
Research profile
Research profile and publications

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