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Senior Research Scientist (Conservation Biotechnology)
Kings Park and Botanic Garden
Fraser Avenue
Kings Park Western Australia 6005
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(+61 8) 9480 3647
(+61 8) 9480 3641

Research themes

  • In vitro propagation of endemic Western Australian flora
  • Cryopreservation of threatened plants
  • Ex situ plant conservation
  • Restoration and conservation of threatened plant species
  • Biology and micropropagation of aquatic angiosperms
  • Micropropagation of terrestrial orchids

Academic background

  • 1999 - 2003 Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Western Australia.
  • 1989 - 1994 Masters by Research (MSc), University of Western Australia.

Major projects


  • Advanced cryobanking for propagation-recalcitrant and critically endangered plant species (2014). Collaborators: Mancera R, Bryant G, Turner SR, Bunn E.
  • In vitro research for propagation and ex situ conservation of threatened and recalcitrant plant taxa. On-going project.
  • Cryopreservation research for long term storage of threatened. On-going project
  • Restoration of threatened plants to field sites. On-going project. Collaborators: BGPA, Department of Parks and Wildlife.


  • Development of cryopreservation for high value provenance collections of recalcitrant plant species used in post-mining restoration (2008). Collaborators: Mancera R, Bryant G, Mark A, Turner SR, Che P, Bunn E.
  • In vitro propagation (through somatic embryogenesis) of rush and sedge species important for land rehabilitation (2006). Collaborators: McComb JA, Bunn E, Dixon K.
  • Mechanisms for release of deep dormancy in seeds of Australian plant species used in land restoration (2003). ARC Linkage grant. Collaborators: Plummer J, Dixon K, Bunn E.

Research associates, post-docs and students


  • Bryn Funnekotter (PhD; 2011 - present) The role of oxidative stress in successful cryopreservation of Australian plant species.
  • Betty Mauliya Bustam (PhD; 2012 - present) Micropropagation and cryostorage of native terrestrial orchids.
  • Susan Whitely (PhD; 2013 - present) Reproduction biology of the threatened Androcalva perlaria (Malvaceae s.l.) and implications for in situ restoration.
  • Sharon Fletcher (Hons; Curtin 2014) Next generation sequencing of chloroplast DNA for testing genetic fidelity during cryopreservation of native Australian Plants.


  • Beorn Harris (PhD; 2008 - 2013) Development of biotechnology-based ex situ conservation approaches for the critically endangered Leucopogon sp. ciliate Eneabba, (Ericaceae).
  • Dr Anja Kaczmarczyk (Post-doctoral Fellow; 2009 - 2013) Lead researcher for LP0884027 Development of cryopreservation for high value provenance collections of recalcitrant plant species used in post-mining restoration.
  • Dr Andrea Kodym (Research Scientist, formerly Melbourne University - now Elise Richter Research Fellow, University of Vienna, Austria) Collaborator on in vitro research into micropropagation and somatic embryogenesis of Australian rush and sedge species.
  • Shahab Nikabadi (MSc; 2012 - 2014) Understanding the ecophysiology of trophic transition with micropropagated terrestrial orchids for improving restoration success. Supervisors: Prof K Dixon, Dr J Stevens, Dr S Turner, Dr B Davies, Dr E Bunn.
  • Anamika Sortey (Hons; Curtin 2013) Influence of stress factors on post-cryogenic survival of Lomandra sonderi.
  • Susan Whiteley (Hons; UWA 2012) Conservation of Aldrovanda vesiculosa L. through tissue culture and cryopreservation.
  • Pui Ye Phang (Hons; Curtin 2011) Ex situ conservation of the critically endangered Western Australian species Commersonia sp. Mt Groper.
  • Simin Lai (Hons; UWA 2010) In vitro propagation of the dryland sedge species - Mesomelaena pseudostygia and Mesomelaena tetragona (Cyperaceae) for land restoration.
  • Maggie Panaia (Post-doctoral researcher) ARC linkage project LP561956 In vitro propagation (through somatic embryogenesis) of rush and sedge species important for land rehabilitation.
  • Maggie Panaia (Hons; UWA 1998) Rescuing Symonanthus bancroftii (Solanaceae) a Western Australian native species from extinction through in vitro propagation.
  • Dr Avner Cohen, Volcani Institute, Israel. (Sabbatical study, November 2008 - May 2010). The generation of novel types of interspecific hybrids of selected native Australian plant species for use by the flower and Ornamental plant industry, through interspecific hybridization and overcoming self- and incompatibility barriers.
  • Maite Zarranz Elso (PhD candidate from the University of Gran Canaria, Spain; 3 months study May - July 2009 at BGPA) Development of in vitro propagation technology for WA seagrass spp.
  • Reuben Mallon Moure (PhD student, University of Santiago, Spain; 12 week study May - August 2007). This work produced one paper (Mallon et al, 2008).
  • Patcharawadee (Go) Wattanawikkit (PhD; BGPA 2005 - 2007) Development of in vitro methods for ex situ conservation of Paphiopdedilum spp. Thesis studies completed in Thailand, thesis passed Jul 2014.
  • Ben Stone (Hons; 2005) In vitro propagation and genetic provenance of Synaphea stenoloba (Proteaceae) for ex situ conservation.
  • Qigang Ye (Research scientist from South China Botanic Gardens; 12 month sabbatical study January - December 2004) Reproductive biology studies with threatened native plants.
  • Dr Ma GuoHua (Research Scientist, South China Botanic Garden; 12 week sabbatical study, May - September 2004) Effects of butenolide on somatic embryogenesis of an Australian native sedge.
  • Rebecca Beveridge (Hons; UWA 2000) Eucalyptus phylacis, a study of phenolic oxidation in a recalcitrant native Australian species.
  • Siti Nurfadilah (Masters by research, 2008 - 2010) In vitro propagation for conservation of endemic Indonesian slipper orchids (Paphiopedilum).
  • Catherine Ryan (Hons; 2006 - 2007) In vitro propagation of recalcitrant monocotyledon species.
  • Melissa Murphy (Hons; 2006) Effects of nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations on the root and shoot growth of Cephalotus follicularis.
  • Paul Hoffman (Hons; UWA 2005) Somatic embryogenesis and micropropagation as a tool for mass propagation of two important Australian native species Lepidosperma leptostachyum and L. squamatum.
  • Jeremy Smith (Hons; University of Technology Sydney 1999) Micropropagation of the Gymea Lily (Doryanthes excelsa Corr.).
  • Julia Evetts-Wilson (Hons; Curtin 1999) Cryogenic conservation of rare and endangered Western Australian Eucalypts.

Selected publications

Senaratna T, Touchell D, Bunn E and Dixon K (2000) Acetyl salicylic acid (Aspirin) and salicylic acid induce multiple stress tolerance in bean and tomato plants. Plant Growth Regulation 30:157-161. One of the first studies to demonstrate that ASA could impart multiple stress tolerance in plants.

Bunn E, Senaratna T, Sivasithamparam K and Dixon KW (2005) In vitro propagation of Eucalyptus phylacis L. Johnson and K. Hill., a critically endangered relict taxon from Western Australia. In Vitro Plant Cellular and Developmental Biology 41:812-815. First in vitro propagation for ex situ conservation of a highly recalcitrant and critically endangered relict species of Eucalyptus sp. of great antiquity, utilizing a novel plant growth regulator (epi-brassinolide).

Bunn E (2005) Development of in vitro methods for ex situ conservation of Eucalyptus impensa, an endangered mallee from south west Western Australia. Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture 83: 97-102. Development of novel in vitro propagation procedures to overcome contamination and culture establishment problems for a criticallly endangered and difficult to propagate Eucalyptus sp from WA.

Ma G-H, Bunn E, Dixon KW and Flematti G (2006) Comparative enhancement of germination and vigour in seed and somatic embryos by the smoke chemical 3-methyl-2h-furo[2,3-c]pran-2-one in Baloskion tetraphyllum (Restionaceae). In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology-Plant 42: 305-308. This Ms (# 05-110P, Ma, Bunn, Dixon, Flemati) selected by David Songstad, Ph.D., Vice President, SIVB as a highlight for In Vitro Report on 3 Apr 2006.

Bunn E, Turner S, Panaia M and Dixon KW (2007) The contribution of in vitro technology and cryogenic storage to conservation of indigenous plants. In: Advances in Plant Conservation Biology - Implications for flora management and restoration, Symposium, Perth Western Australia 25-27 Oct 2005. Australian Journal of Botany 55:345-355. A review of current contribution of biotechnology research for preserving plant biodiversity (with emphasis on in vitro propagation and cryo-preservation) at Kings Park and Botanic Garden.

Mallon R, Bunn E, Turner SR and Gonzalez ML (2008) Cryopreservation of Centaureaultreiae (Compositae) a critically endangered species from Galicia (Spain). CryoLetters 29(5):363-370. The first successful cryopreservation protocol for this endangered Spanish taxon via a collaborative study between Kings Park and Botanic Garden and University of Santiago, Spain.

Panaia M, Bunn E, Turner SR and McComb JA (2009) Incubation temperature critical to successful stimulation of in vitro zygotic embryo growth in four Australian native Cyperaceae species. Plant Cell Tiss Organ Cult 97:197-202. A key paper in the quest to develop somatic embryogenesis protocols for Australian Cyperaceae critical for restoring biodiversity in post-mined landscapes.

Reed BM, Sarasan V, Kane M, Bunn E and Pence VC (2011) Biodiversity conservation and conservation biotechnology tools. In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology – Plant Volume 47:1-4. Review article addressing the importance of appropriate biotechnology research for advancing plant biodiversity conservation.

Kaczmarczyk A, Turner SR, Bunn E, Mancera R and Dixon KW (2011) Cryopreservation of threatened native Australian species - what have we learned and where to from here? In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology – Plant 47:17-25. Review article on plant cryogenic research in Australia and its application to plant biodiversity conservation.

Menon A, Funnekotter B, Kaczmarczyk A, Bunn E, Turner SR and Mancera R (2013) Cryopreservation of Lomandra sonderi (Asparagaceae) shoot tips using droplet-vitrification. CryoLetters 33:259-270. First publication of droplet vitrification for cryopreservation of an endemic Australian plant species.