Dr Peter Ryan is currently an honorary research fellow with the CSIRO Agriculture and Food, a visiting fellow at the Australian National University and the recent past president of the Australian Society of Plant Scientists. He obtained his PhD in plant physiology at the University of Sydney and completed post-docs at the University of Tasmania, the USDA and Cornell University working on membrane transport and aluminium toxicity. Subsequent research at the CSIRO in Canberra attempted to improve cereal production on acidic and nutrient-deficient soils by focusing on the root-soil interface. Together with collaborators in Australian and Japan, those studies identified the first aluminium-tolerance gene in plants, TaALMT1, which controls malate release from root tips of wheat. His later work focused on the interactions between root exudates and the root microbiome.