Professor Justin Borevitz

Research School of Biology
ANU College of Science
T: 0261253068

Areas of expertise

  • Genetics 0604
  • Plant Biology 0607
  • Evolutionary Biology 0603
  • Ecology 0602
  • Soil Sciences 0503
  • Forestry Sciences 0705
  • Crop And Pasture Production 0703

Research interests

Land use and carbon drawdown capacity of agriculutre and forestry

Food and Environmental Security


Justin Borevitz obtained his PhD in 2002 from the University of California at San Diego with Joanne Chory dissecting the genetic basis of adaptive traits and environmental responce in model plants. He performed postdoctoral research with Joseph Ecker (2002-2004) at the Salk Institute mapping plant functional genomic diversity. From 2004 until 2011 he was an assistant and associate professor in the Departent of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago.  Research first demonstrated Genome Wide Association Studies in plants and next generation sequencing in emerging crop and foundation species. In 2012, Borevitz moved to ANU and became Professor in 2014. His current work within the Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology is using Landscape Genomics to select the gene variants underlying adaptation to shifting climates and soils for restoration of global crops and woodlands.

Researcher's projects

Genetics of climate adaptation in plants

A major interest of the lab is the genetic basiss of adaptation to regional climates with altered growing seasons. Quantitative and population genetic approaches in ArabidopsisBrachypodiumPelargonium, and Eucalypts are being used to genetically dissect adaptive traits. What genes and what alleles explain differential survival of seedlings and reproductive success under typical conditions experienced in the field? Are these new variants or new combinations of existing polymorphisms? Advanced Genomic and Phenomic approaches bring unprecedented power and speed to this work.

Genomic and Phenomic approaches to Landscape Restoration

2nd and 3rd genertaion sequencing are providing genomic data for complete populations (1000s of individuals). New computational approaches (kWIP..) to process this data in an unbiased way reveal both population structure guiding conservation and haplotype analysis guiding selection. Genome Wide Association Studies and Landscape Genomics allow prediction of adaptive traits in target environments. This can guide seed sorcing for large scale restoration experiments. Landscape Phenomics at sites such as the National Arboretum is providing high resolution and high throughput phenotyping while recording dynamic environmental conditions in order to predict biomass growth and reproductive phenology at the forest level.

Plant Energy Biology (Centre of Excellence)

Improving the efficiency of plant solar energy capture, use and yield, is a necessary solution to the increasing demand on finite land, water, and nutrient resources. Increasing environmental challenges adversely affect growth efficiency and further perturb plant energy balance among capture and use, affecting yield. We take a novel approach to improve sustainable yield by optimizing the overall energy efficiency of metabolism, transport, and plant development. We will discover networks of gene variants, signaling pathways and molecular mechanisms that regulate energy efficiency under limiting and fluctuating conditions. This approach will provide a basis for sustainable productivity of crops and future-proof plants in changing climates.

Available student projects

Landscape Gen2Phenomics for Climate Intervention.

manage, model, map & mitagate global drawdown solutions to climate


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  18 May 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers