Graham Centre researcher Dr Paul Weston's area of expertise is in plant chemical ecology, in particular he's interested in identifying toxic chemical components of plants that affect other organisims.
The research approach taken by Dr Weston, known as metabolomics, involves measuring the abundance of the range of chemical compounds contained in samples using equipment like a mass spectrometer, which helps to identify the compounds.
With funding through a Graham Centre Research Centre Fellowship, Dr Weston hopes to develop new ways to efficiently analyse the massive ammounts of data generated when scientists are looking for an unknown compound using chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry.
"The most limiting and time consuming aspect of most metabolomic studies is analysing the data produced by the instruments," Dr Weston said. "The aim of my fellowship project is to develop systems to comprehensively and efficiently analyse the data and to share these findings with students and other researchers."
While Dr Weston's current research is focused on plant, animal and insect interactions, finding better ways to analyse the data in metabolomic studies has implications for other fields of research, including human health and biomedical research.
The Graham Centre has awarded almost $500 000 in 13 fellowships in 2017 to support the research of its members.
The Fellowships have been awarded to:
The fellowships provide funding for travel, workshops and conferences, publication costs, teaching and research support.