Centre Partner Organisations

Collaboration is at the core of what we do. The Training Centre is made up of over 20 research and industry partner organisations and collaborates with many more. You can find more information about each organisation by clicking on their logo, or more about the partner investigators by scrolling down the page.

Partner Investigators

Bertus Jacobs

As the Head of Research and Development at Advanta and LongReach Plant Breeders, I bring over two decades of experience in the field of plant breeding and genetics. As a founding member of the first private wheat breeding business in Australia, I have played an instrumental role in paving the way for others to follow suit and contributed significantly to the growth and development of the industry.

Tristan Coram

Currently Director of Science & Business Development at Australian Grain Technologies, responsible for identifying and developing research opportunities/ outputs/ collaborations to create new or enhanced products.

Katherine Delbridge

A campaign and communications specialist. Proven expertise in social media, political strategy, operations and project management, strategic marketing, consumer advocacy, brand building and the creative process.

Richard Poire

I am a plant ecophysiologist with a passion for plant phenomics tools applied in a controlled environment. I have a particular interest in abiotic stresses impacting photosynthesis processes. I am an experienced manager and developed a high performing team to take on innovative plant phenotyping projects with academia their application in the industry.

Andrew Gilbert

Andrew Gilbert has been Bioplatforms Australia’s general manager since its inception in 2007. He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He oversees the investment of $300 million in Commonwealth Government research infrastructure funding in the discovery sciences of genomics, proteomics and metabolomics. He has an extensive network of contacts from Commonwealth and State Governments, along with prominent universities, medical research institutes, agricultural research institutes and commercial entities. 

Kelly Scarlett

Kelly’s role is to maximise Bioplatforms end-to-end involvement and contribution to national scientific and industry challenges by leading Bioplatforms engagement strategy and enhancing partnership activities. She engages with a range of research communities and stakeholders to build persistent partnerships that drive impactful Life Science research in Australia.Kelly has over 12 years of academic experience investigating plant pathogen biology and interactions, as well as soil microbes that underpin nutrient cycling and soil health. She has held research positions both nationally and internationally and she is passionate about supporting innovation through cutting-edge research to overcome our national and global sustainability and environmental challenges.

Owen Atkin

Owen Atkin is based at the Australian National University in Canberra (ANU), occupying two roles. The first is as Director of CEAT where he leads a small team whose job it is to increase linkages between students, researchers and the agri-tech industry. He sees exciting opportunities for interdisciplinary teams from the ANU to work with CSIRO and industry to create solutions to the complex challenges facing the agri-sector. In addition, Owen is also a Vice Chancellor’s Entrepreneurial Professor, with responsibility for leading CEAT as an ANU Innovation Institute. His second role is as a professor of plant science in the Research School of Biology. A major focus of his research is assessing the impact of environmental gradients on plant physiological processes, particularly the impacts of temperature on carbon uptake by photosynthesis and carbon use by respiration. 

Andreas Weber

Our research is addressing specific aspects of plant cell function through a combination of evolutionary and comparative transcriptomics, systems biology, biochemistry, and plant physiology. In particular, we are aiming at a systems-level understanding of photorespiration and C4 photosynthesis and the regulatory principles that govern plant metabolic networks. In addition to addressing fundamental questions in plant cell biology and metabolism, our work provides a scientific basis and blueprints for synthetic biology approaches to maximize photosynthetic productivity.

Srinivas Belide

Srinivas Belide utilises plant molecular biology and genetic transformation technologies to engineer plants to synthesise novel and high-value products. He explores and experiments with physical, chemical, cell-penetrating peptides and vector-mediated transformation systems and customises the method as per the crop. He has made significant contributions to increase transformation efficiencies of elite lines used breeding programs. In addition, he developed a hybrid transient system in canola which can foretell and validate seed-specific constructs in somatic embryos. Currently, Srinivas is investigating the metabolic engineering of vegetative plant parts to synthesise elevated levels of plant oils that are normally stored only in certain seeds. He is also developing novel gene containment strategies based on CMS and triploids in sorghum, a potential production crop for molecular farming.

Gonzalo Estavillo

Gonzalo’s research focuses on optimising plant growth to secure food production in a changing climate by improving carbon capture and partitioning. He studies crops such as wheat and canola and model plants like tobacco and Arabidopsis to understand the main drivers and limitations of growth under optimal and sub-optimal conditions. Before joining CSIRO in 2013, he worked as a Research Associate at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology (ANU). He focused on plant physiology and molecular biology of cell signalling and plant water stress responses as undergraduate education and training.

Steve Jobling

Steve joined CSIRO in 2005 to produce new varieties of cereal crops with improved nutritional and product quality attributes by manipulation of plant carbohydrate metabolism. He contributed to the research and led the teams that commercialised two novel grains; BARLEYmax and HealthSense high amylose wheat. When Matthew Morell moved to IRRI, he took over as program leader for a while before concentrating once again on the major focus of his research – the control of betaglucan biosynthesis in cereal grains. He has become one of the world leaders in this field with recent breakthrough discoveries understanding how the CslF6 protein controls betaglucan structure. His current area of focus is exploiting the use of gene editing to create even healthier cereal grains.

Andrzej Kilian

I am harnessing the awesome power of metabolic engineering, protein engineering and synthetic biology to optimize the production of bespoke metabolites in both crop and microorganisms, with a particular interest in proteins and lipids. My early work focused on the engineering of enzymes that are involved in plant and yeast lipid metabolism using rational protein design and directed evolution. More recently, I have undertaken extensive work on combinatorial metabolic engineering of vegetative plant parts (leaf, stem, root…) to accumulate high levels of valuable plant oils that are normally stored only in certain seeds. Currently, I am extending synthetic biology principles into the plant kingdom to lift plant metabolic engineering and forward/reverse genetics to a high throughput level. Finally, I have expanded my interest into the area of precision fermentation for the production of high-value food ingredients.

Thomas Vanhercke

Andrzej founded DArT in 2001, based on his invention of Diversity Arrays Technology. He is passionate about helping farmers, breeders, scientists and ecologists to monitor and improve the performance of agriculture, biodiversity and the use of natural resources. He strongly believes that the things we can achieve at DArT put us in a position to do something positive for the people of the world, to promote global food security and more sustainable agricultural and environmental practices.

Allison Pearson

I have been involved in the agriculture industry for over 10 years working to develop connections with researchers and deliver continually improved outcomes for growers and their livelihoods. I am an investment manager at the GRDC first joining as the manager of Agronomy and Framing systems for the South overseeing a portfolio of investments, I now manage a portfolio of investments as the Manager of Oilseeds for genetic technologies. I undertake active management of Research investment which is enables me to develop relationships with our partners and work collaboratively to achieve the greatest benefits and outputs for growers.

Harriet Sangma

Harriet is a Manager in the Genetic Technologies portfolio at the Grains Research and Development Corporation. Harriet works largely with pulse crops in that role and is working with the Training Centre on some of our Chickpea research.

Pip Wilson

My primary interest is in improving people’s lives and livelihoods through the application of impactful agricultural research. I am currently a Research & Development Investment Manager at the Australian Grains Research and Development Corporation. Prior to that I spent ~14 years as a researcher and project manager, working in some wonderful projects to improve the yield and drought tolerance of plants.

Rosemary Richards

Rosemary Richards is an agribusiness consultant with extensive experience in broadacre cropping, in particular oilseeds and downstream processing sectors. She also has extensive experience in the biotechnology sector and was actively involved in the introduction of GM canola to Australia as CEO of the Australian Oilseeds Federation. She is a passionate advocate for the agricultural sector and maintains close linkages with a range of agribusiness industry organisations.

Dini Ganesalingam

Dini is the Business and Research Development Manager for InterGrain’s wheat, barley and oat breeding programs and has more than 9 years’ experience in all aspects of RD&E. Dini has a PhD in plant breeding & statistics and an undergraduate degree in Agricultural Science and Economics from the University of Western Australia. During her involvement on the Emerging Industries Technical advisory panel, Dini hopes to contribute to the extension of R&D to ensure that various projects in their design and application, see implementation and deployment to the benefit of the industry. 

Cathie Martin

Cathie’s research interests lie in using plant science to improve human diet and health. She is particularly interested in biofortification and using plant metabolic engineering to enhance foods nutritionally. Much of Cathie’s work has been undertaken in tomatoes, enriching their nutrient content with, for example, resveratrol and anthocyanin. Her research has also focused on cellular specialisation and she was the first to identify genes regulating cell shaping in plants. She is also interested in cellular specialisation in flowers (colour and cell shape) and how these traits are used by different plants for pollinator attraction. She has also been involved in developing genetic screens to identify crops which lack toxins that cause nutritional diseases such as konzo and neurolathyrism.

Jacob Lage

Providing leadership for KWS’ wheat breeding programs across Europe and the US, ensuring our breeders have the best tools and resources to continuously produce top-performing varieties for our growers. Only through well-supported breeding will we be able to meet the challenges of food security, climate change and the drive to increased sustainability. Steering KWS’ development in hybrid wheat breeding and research as we get ready to enter the hybrid wheat market. Hybrid wheat will provide a boost to productivity and stability through enhanced utilisation of resources. This will make wheat an attractive value proposition, driving investments in current and new markets to the benefit of growers and consumers.

Harsh Raman

Dr Harsh Raman joined NSW DPI in 1996 and has undertaken and managed research projects in wheat, barley and canola. Genome mapping and the development of molecular markers for crop improvement are among Dr Raman’s professional skills. Dr Raman has written chapters for plant molecular-biology books and published more than 80 peer reviewed scientific papers. During the last five years his team has mapped loci associated with flowering time, and resistance to blackleg disease and pod shattering in diverse germplasm of canola.

Alison Bowman

As Group Director, Plant Systems Alison leads a team of over 200 staff working in crop and horticulture research and development across the state. This portfolio covers R&D in the broadacre cereal and pulse industries, rice and cotton as well as temperate (citrus, nuts, olives, stone and pome fruit) and subtropical horticulture (bananas, blueberries) as well as winegrapes. The R&D teams undertake applied, field based R&D across the state as well as R&D in post-harvest issues and product quality.

Kostya Kanuka

Kostya Kanyuka leads NIAB’s strategic and applied research on the biology, detection, surveillance, epidemiology and management of diseases and pests of field crops, working with a wide range of academic and commercial partners and customers. With a background in virology, his overall research interest is to understand how pathogens cause disease on plants and how plants resist pathogens at the mechanistic and molecular level with the aim of developing sustainable solutions for disease control in crops, extensively utilising existing and developing new plant virus-based expression tools for rapid gene function analysis in both plants and the associated pathogens.

Nelson Gororo

The Nuseed story began in the heart of Australia’s grain growing country, so they are deeply connected with the needs of Australian farmers. Nuseed is a global seeds business that offers localised support. They are advancing canola, carinata, sorghum, and sunflower by adding VALUE
BEYOND YIELD for growers, end-use customers, consumers and our planet. Their regional teams deliver top seed, service and new opportunities for farm customers in Australia, Europe, North and South America. Their local work and Nuseed’s global reach maximize their R&D and help build strong Nuseed Value Chains that supply sustainable plant-based solutions to their end-use customers.

Rhiannon Schilling

Rhiannon Schilling has expertise in agronomy, plant physiology, soil science, molecular biology and remote sensing. She is the Program Leader of Agronomy at the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), the Deputy Director of the South Australian Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub (“SA Drought Hub”, $19.47 M, 59 partners), Adjunct Associate Professor at Flinders University and an Affiliate Lecturer at The University of Adelaide. She has expertise in agronomy, plant physiology, soil science, molecular biology and remote sensing.