Joanne Ashnest

Dr Joanne Ashnest

Plant Scientist

Agricultural, Environmental and Veterinary Sciences


Joanne grew up in Armidale in northern NSW, before moving to Melbourne, VIC, to complete an undergraduate degree in Science (Hons) at Monash University. In her PhD at La Trobe University, she investigated the expression and processing of storage proteins in seeds of the model species Arabidopsis thaliana.

Following her PhD, Joanne spent 6 years as a Postdoc and Research Associate at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, with the Global Institute for Food Security. There, Joanne first studied plant reproductive biology and the molecular control of apomixis, a naturally occuring phenomenon whereby plants reproduce clonally through seeds. In 2019, Joanne received a Ministry of Saskatchewan Agricultural Development Fund grant to improve germination traits in canola and soybean to enabled early spring sowing into cold soils, which improves stand establishment and yield.

Joanne joined SAEVS as a Lecturer in plant science in 2022. Her current research interests include the genomics and proteomics of plant evolution, responses to abiotic stress, and plant reproduction and seed traits.

  • Physiology, proteomics and genetics of seed germination and abiotic stress
  • Improving plant protein quality for human and animal nutrition
  • Plant reproduction, meiosis, and megaspore development
  • Cannabis evolution, genetics, and proteomics
Full publications list on CRO

Recent publications

  • Ashnest, J., & Paczesniak , D. (2021). Beyond GMOs: new technologies for food, people, and the planet. Paper presented at Chilean National Congress of Biotechnology Engineering, Chile.
  • Ashnest, J., & Ma, X. (2020). Genome Editing: Small-Size CasĪ¦ Is Shining. Molecular Plant, 13(9), 1235-1235.
  • Ashnest, J., & Ma, X. (2020). Tracing the origins of agricultural products with barcoded microbial spores. Molecular Plant, 13(8), 1102-1102.
  • Ashnest, J., Paczesniak , D., & Fulmes, M. (2019). Beyond GMOs: new technologies in genetic engineering for designing future food. Paper presented at People Around the World (PAW) 2019, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
  • Ashnest, J., Sharbel, T., Nerbas, A., & Honari, M. (2019). Sex, crops, and proteomics: using molecular tools to convince plants to stop having sex. Poster session presented at Australian Society for Plant Scientists Conference 2019, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.