I am a chemical ecologist/natural products chemist and throughout my career have worked exploring the chemistry of natural systems. From the marine environment of the Southern Ocean to the rainforests of New Guinea, chemistry abounds. My work has, seen drug candidates identified from blue-green algae developed for the treatment of cancer, explored the traditional use of fungi by indigenous communities in Papua New Guinea where we looked for new antibiotics and, studied the role volatile chemicals play in attracting pollinators. Currently I am involved in studying the role dung beetles play in the delivery of ecosystem services to livestock producers, cycling waste material to become a valuable agricultural input. Work is varied and involves examining the volatile molecules in dung that attracts beetles, devising monitoring programs to assess diversity and abundance and working with stakeholders to deliver outreach and extension so they can acquire knowledge and adopt management practices that encourage dung beetles in grazing ecosystems.
As a passionate science communicator, I have co-authored the popular textbook, Chemistry in the Marketplace, published widely and delivered lectures and workshops throughout Australia and around the world, speaking on six of the seven continents.
Perera, N. N., Barrow, R. A., Weston, P. A., Rolland, V., Hands, P., Gurusinghe, S., Weston, L. A., & Gurr, G. M. (2023). Characterisation of Antennal Sensilla and Electroantennography Responses of the Dung Beetles Bubas bison, Onitis aygulus and Geotrupes spiniger (Coleoptera: Scarabaeoidea) to Dung Volatile Organic Compounds. Insects, 14(7), Article 627. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14070627
Selinger, B., & Barrow, R. (2022). Chemistry in the Marketplace (Korean Edition). CSIRO Publishing.
Dow, L., Barrow, R. A., White, R. G., & Mathesius, U. (2022). Photolysis of caged cytokinin in single cells of Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Methods, 18(1), . https://doi.org/10.1186/s13007-022-00953-4
Latif, S., Weston, P. A., Barrow, R., Gurusinghe, S., Piltz, J. W., & Weston, L. A. (2020). Metabolic profiling provides unique insights to accumulation and biosynthesis of key secondary metabolites in annual pasture legumes of mediterranean origin. Metabolites, 10(7), 1-20. . https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo10070267
Muria-Gonzalez, M. J., Yeng, Y., Breen, S., Mead, O., Wang, C., Chooi, Y. H., Barrow, R., & Solomon, P. S. (2020). Volatile molecules secreted by the wheat pathogen Parastagonospora nodorum are involved in development and phytotoxicity. Frontiers in Microbiology, 11, 1-14. . https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2020.00466