As a tail-end contributor, it’s tempting to act on the advice of Nobel Prize winner André Gide (pronounced Geed, not G’day): “Everything that needs to be said has already been said, but since no one was listening, everything must be said again”. Although probably good counsel, you’ll be happy to read that I’ll try not to do this.
With the end of the year racing towards us at an alarming pace, I am drawn to thinking about all the good things about the Centre, and to be grateful for them. So, what does the Centre mean to me? I think it gives us a breathtaking spectrum of inspirations, inspirators, mentors, collaborators and peers. For my little group, this is wonderful. We join in on the exciting goals of the Centre, have a significant period to achieve them, and enjoy a huge lake of knowledge to dip into. It gives us broader horizons, bigger challenges, more friends and colleagues to interact with, and an energizing buzz from the Early Career Researchers.
It is not easy, as a molecular geneticist, to communicate meaningfully with mathematicians, lawyers, and modellers. Even interacting with hard-core ecologists and plant physiologists is a little daunting. But I love a challenge, and the Centre has been superbly open, engaging, helpful, and inclusive. My group is trying to pioneer better ways to accelerate evolution through molecular genetics and to do this in harmony and synergy with all of the above. It has been great to swap tales of successes, progress and visions of genomics with Robert Henry, David Jordan and Emma Mace, to deep-dive into plant physiology with Tim Brodribb, Frances Sussmilch and Chris Blackman, to talk cuticles and Solanums with Ian Wright and Rachael Gallagher, to hurriedly do the water-relations measurements Graeme Hammer told us we should have done, to discuss with Brad Sherman and Hamish MacDonald the legal and ethical issues regarding our native plants, and to have bamboozling conversations about plant/crop modelling with Mark Cooper and Owen Powell. Following all of these, we now have new visions and plans for the New Year on how to turn these conversations into practical collaborative outcomes, and I can hardly wait.
Wishing you all a fantastic break and a brilliant and amazing 2023.
Chief Investigator and Node Leader, Queensland University of Technology