Damien was awarded his PhD in 2007 from the School of Molecular and Biomedical Science at the University of Adelaide (Australia) for his work on technologies for the development of future transgenic cotton varieties. He joined Professor Tester’s research lab in Australia in 2012 as a postdoctoral researcher and since this time has been involved in several projects related to the molecular and physiological characterization of plant responses to salt stress. In 2014, Damien moved to KAUST to continue his research with Professor Tester.
Damien is currently involved in two major projects. The first of these projects involves the identification and characterization of a novel family of ion channels that appear play a role in sodium influx into the roots of plants and are involved in plant salinity tolerance. While much is known about the mechanisms of sodium transport throughout a plant, the mechanisms underlying initial influx are largely uncharacterized. The second project involves bioinformatics and genomics approaches to investigate the high salinity tolerance of wild tomato species relative to commercial tomato varieties.