Caitlin Byrt

Associate Professor Caitlin Byrt

Chief Investigator, ARC Training Centre for Future Crops Development

Group Leader and Australian Research Council Future Fellow, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University

Caitlin Byrt

Areas of Research Interest –

Engineering crops to improve their tolerance to abiotic stress, manipulating crop membrane transport mechanisms to improve crop performance.

Expertise & Skills –

Genetic engineering, membrane biology, crop physiology, synthetic biology.

5 Key Research Papers –

• Byrt, C.S., Platten, J.D., Spielmeyer, W., James, R.A., Lagudah, E.S., Dennis, E.S., Tester, M. and Munns, R., 2007. HKT1; 5-like cation transporters linked to Na+ exclusion loci in wheat, Nax2 and Kna1. Plant Physiology, 143(4), pp.1918-1928.
• Byrt, C.S., Xu, B., Krishnan, M., Lightfoot, D.J., Athman, A., Jacobs, A.K., Watson‐Haigh, N.S., Plett, D., Munns, R., Tester, M. and Gilliham, M., 2014. The Na+ transporter, Ta HKT 1; 5‐D, limits shoot Na+ accumulation in bread wheat. The Plant Journal, 80(3), pp.516-526.
• Byrt, C.S., Zhao, M., Kourghi, M., Bose, J., Henderson, S.W., Qiu, J., Gilliham, M., Schultz, C., Schwarz, M., Ramesh, S.A. and Yool, A., 2017. Non‐selective cation channel activity of aquaporin AtPIP2; 1 regulated by Ca2+ and pH. Plant, cell & environment, 40(6), pp.802-815.
• Qiu, J., McGaughey, S.A., Groszmann, M., Tyerman, S.D. and Byrt, C.S., 2020. Phosphorylation influences water and ion channel function of AtPIP2; 1. Plant, cell & environment, 43(10), pp.2428-2442. Tyerman, S.D., McGaughey, S.A., Qiu, J., Yool, A.J. and Byrt, C.S., 2021. Adaptable and multifunctional ion-conducting aquaporins. Annual Review of Plant Biology, 72, pp.703-736.

Available Research Projects –

PhD projects available involving engineering water and ion membrane transport proteins to develop novel mechanisms for improving crop performance.


The ARC Training Centre for Accelerated Future Crops Development is funded by the Australian Research Council under its Industrial Transformation Training Hubs Program to run from 2022 to 2027.

It is a collaboration of universities, government research agencies and the Australian grains sector’s key stakeholders in training, R&D, social engagement, responsible innovation, breeding, marketing and delivery.

It also has international partners in gene-editing, SynBio, crop breeding, and, other partnerships for co-developing deep technologies to transform the agriculture industry and global food security.