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Associate Professor Vickers holds dual roles as Director of the Synthetic Biology Future Platform at CSIRO (Australia’s Federal research agency) and Group Leader at The University of Queensland’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN).
She completed her PhD in cereal crop biotechnology at CSIRO Plant Industry and UQ in 2004. She held a post-doctoral positions at The University of Queensland and Essex University where she worked on abiotic stress and the metabolic regulation and physiological function of volatile isoprenoids in plants. She returned to Australia and joined AIBN in 2007, where she now leads the Synthetic Biology and Isoprenoid research group.
Her research program focuses on understanding isoprenoid pathway metabolism and rational engineering to re-design organisms for production of industrially-useful isoprenoids. Isoprenoids (terpenes) are a large group of natural products with multitude biological (signals, membrane components, location tags, electron transport components, pigments, etc.) and industrial applications (e.g. biofuels, agricultural chemicals, flavours, fragrances, pharmaceuticals, food additives). She also works extensively in synthetic biology tool development. Since January 2017 Associate Professor Vickers has held a joint appointment with the Commonwealth Science and Industry Research Organisation (CSIRO) to lead the CSIRO Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform (SynBioFSP), a $60 M research and development program aimed at expanding Australia’s capability in synthetic biology. She leads the CSIRO-UQ Synthetic Biology Alliance and is director of the CSIRO-UQ BioFoundry. She is also on the Executive of Synthetic Biology Australasia.