Damien J. Lightfoot

Research Scientists

Research Interests

Damien was trained as a molecular biologist and has early postdoctoral experience in the field of plant physiology, with a particular focus on how plants respond to salt stress. More recently, Damien has been active in the field of genomics and is interested in utilizing next- and third-generation sequencing technologies and applying bioinformatics approaches to understand genome structure, function and evolution.


Research in the Ravasi lab focuses on the molecular responses of fish to alterations in their environments as a result of climate change. Specifically, current research seeks to understand how fish respond and adapt to increased temperature and ocean acidification at both the individual and population levels. Damien is focusing on how epigenetic modification of the genome can lead to short- and long-term adaptation to changing ocean environments.

Selected Publications

  • Jarvis DE*, Ho YS*, Lightfoot DJ*, Schmöckel SM*, Li B*, Borm T, Ohyanagi H, Mineta K, Michell CT, Saber N, Kharbatia NM, Rupper RR, Sharp AR, Dally N, Boughton BA, Momin AA, Negrão S, Yong YH, Gao G, Schijlen E, Guo X, Al-Babili S, Gehring C, Rӧssner U, Jung C, Murphy K, Arold ST, Gojobori T, van der Linden G, van Loo EN, Jellen EN, Maughan PJ and Tester M (2016). The genome of Chenopodium quinoa. Under review at Nature.
  • Lightfoot DJ*, Razali R, Tester M, Jarvis DE (2016). The identification of putative transmembrane proteins involved in salinity tolerance in Chenopodium quinoa. Under review at Journal of Experimental Botany.
  • Lightfoot DJ, McGrann G, and Able A (in press). The role of a cytosolic superoxide dismutase in barley-pathogen interactions. Molecular Plant Pathology.
  • Byrt CS, Xu B, Krishnan M, Lightfoot DJ, Athman A, Jacobs AK, Watson-Haigh NS, Munns R, Tester M and Gilliham M (2014). The Na+ transporter, TaHKT1;5-D, limits shoot Na+ accumulation in bread wheat. Plant Journal 80 (3), 516-526.
  • Coombs JT, Ritchie JD, Tester MA, Lightfoot DJ and Jha D (inventors) for TPI Enterprises (assignee) (2014). Papaver bracteatum with modified alkaloid content. Patent number: US2014/0013465 A1.
  • Lightfoot DJ, Timmis JN, and Orford SJ (2013). Identification and characterisation of cotton boll wall-specific promoters for future transgenic cotton varieties. Plant Molecular Biology Reporter 31 (1), 174-184.
  • Lightfoot DJ and Able AJ (2010). Growth of Pyrenophora teres in planta during barley net blotch disease. Australasian Plant Pathology 39 (6), 499–507.
  • Lightfoot DJ, Boettcher A, Little A, Shirley N and Able AJ (2008). Identification and characterisation of barley (Hordeum vulgare) Respiratory Burst Oxidase Homologue family members. Functional Plant Biology 35 (5), 347-359.
  • Lightfoot DJ, Malone KM, Timmis JN and Orford SJ (2007). Evidence for alternative splicing of MADS-box transcripts in developing cotton fibre cells. Molecular Genetics and Genomics 279 (1), 75-85.

* these authors contributed equally to the work


  • 2002-2007: Ph.D., Discipline of Genetics (School of Molecular and Biomedical Science), The University of Adelaide, Australia.
  • 2001: B.Sc. (Hons.), Discipline of Genetics (School of Molecular and Biomedical Science), The University of Adelaide, Australia.
  • 1997-2000: B.Sc., Majoring in genetics and biochemistry, the University of Adelaide, Australia.