Scientific Advisory Committee

The Scientific Advisory Committee, with members who, through their diverse, extensive and international careers have a collective experience that can assist the Centre in maximizing its opportunities.

Members of the Scientific Advisory Committee

Emeritus Professor Ian W. Dawes FAA (SAC CHAIR)

School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, UNSW Australia

Professor Dawes research career has focused on the response of eukaryotic organisms to oxidative stress and ageing, the molecular analysis of control of one-carbon and folate metabolism in yeast and the mechanisms involved in initiation and timing of cell development. He is an editor of the journal FEMS Yeast Research and a member of the editorial boards of Yeast and the Journal of Microbiology. Prof. Dawes has been a Board Member of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and of the Australian Proteomic Analytical Facility and Chairman of the International Yeast Genetics and Molecular Biology Community. Professor Dawes has a BSc from the University of New South Wales, a DPhil from the University of Oxford in the UK and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.


Division of Plant Industry and Distinguished Professor, UTS

Professor Dennis is one of the world's leading plant molecular biologists. She is a CSIRO Fellow whose plant research has led to tangible outcomes in Australian agriculture. Her research focuses on gene regulation both genetic and epigenetic.

Prof. Dennis's scientific excellence is acknowledged through numerous awards and distinctions, including election as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering; election as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science; the Lemberg Medal for distinguished contributions to biochemistry; the Pharmacia LKB/Biotechnology Medal of the Australian Biochemical Society for contributions to Biochemical Research; the inaugural Prime Minister's Prize for Science together with Dr Jim Peacock.

Prof. Dennis had a key role in mapping one of the first plant genomes as Chairman of the Multinational Arabidopsis Genome Project.

Emeritus Professor Margaret Clayton

School of Biological Sciences, Monash University

Professor Clayton is an Emeritus Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at Monash University. She has previously been Head of the School of Biological Sciences, Deputy Dean of the Science Faculty and the Faculty's Associate Dean (Research) at Monash University. Her research career has been on the functional importance of phenolic compounds in brown algae, the reproductive biology of marine algae and molecular phylogeny of brown algae. She has also been the ARC's Executive Director of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology 2006-2009

Professor Dale Sanders FRS

John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park

Professor Sanders is Director of the John Innes Centre one of most prestigious research centres in plant and microbial sciences internationally. His research career has been on how plant cells respond to changes in their environment and how they store the nutrients they acquire. He is a leading authority on the mechanisms for the transport of chemical elements across cell membranes in plants. These mechanisms have key roles in the control of crucial crop traits such as nutritional value of foods, seed germination, the response to drought conditions and how plants cope with toxic compounds in the soil.

Prof Sanders also works on the fundamental science of the specialised plant transport mechanisms involved in signalling which have important, but poorly understood roles in plant biology.

In 2001 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and awarded the European Science Prize of the Kärber Foundation.

Dr. Steve Thomas

Executive Manager - Commercial, Grain Research and Development Corporation (GRDC)

Dr Thomas is responsible for the GRDC's increased focus on partnerships with commercial enterprises and overseas research entities. As the previous Executive Manager of GRDC's Research Program portfolio he led the development and implementation of a long-term strategy for maximising the impact of research investment.

Dr Thomas has held numerous roles across the agricultural research sector, including Director level roles at New South Wales Department of Primary Industries and research positions in plant molecular biology with the Australian Centre for Necrotrophic Fungal Pathogens and the Carlsberg Research Laboratories in Copenhagen.

Professor Dr. Detlef Weigel FRS

Department of Molecular Biology, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology

Professor Weigel is a Director of Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany. His research is focused on discovering the mechanisms which are responsible for adaptive variation of plants through the interface of plant biology, developmental genetics and evolutionary genomics. A detailed understanding of regulatory networks controlling key traits with knowledge of the significance of naturally occurring diversity in these networks is his goal. He has shown how evolutionarily or ecologically motivated studies can be address at the level of molecular mechanisms. He has fostered an environment where evolutionary geneticists learn from molecular biologists and vice versa. He has received numerous honors for his contributions to plant and evolutionary biology, including the National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award (1994), the Otto Bayer Award (2010) and the State Research Prize Baden-Württemberg (2011). He is an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO), the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the US National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of London.