Jenny Mortimer | AIChE

Jenny Mortimer

Associate Professor
University of Adelaide

Jenny Mortimer is Associate Professor of Plant Synthetic Biology at the University of Adelaide, in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine. She recently relocated from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California USA. 

After completing her PhD at Cambridge University, UK on signal transduction in roots, she began studying the plant cell wall as a postdoc with Prof. Paul Dupree and the BBSRC Bioenergy Centre (BSBEC), also at Cambridge. This was followed by a fellowship at RIKEN Yokohama, Japan, hosted by Prof. Taku Demura. 

Her team’s research focuses on understanding and manipulating plant cell metabolism, with a focus on complex glycosylation. The goal is to develop crops which contribute to a sustainable and renewable bioeconomy. At Adelaide, her new group is using synbio to develop new crops (such as duckweed) for food and materials production in controlled growth environments – including for Space settlement! Other projects include engineering glycans to deliver plants with increased (a)biotic stress tolerance. At LBNL, where she maintains affiliate status, she leads the Plant Systems Biology Group at the Department of Energy (DoE)-funded Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI;, where the goal is to reengineer the plant cell wall for the sustainable production of fuels and biochemicals from biomass. Her lab is also developing new synthetic biology and bioinformatics tools for bioenergy crops (such as new transformation tools for sorghum as part of the DoE Plant Genomics program), and investigating the role of plant cell walls in recruiting and retaining the rhizosphere microbiome, for example as part of the DoE mCAFEs project ( She also co-led the LBNL EcoPOD team, which is developing highly-instrumented mesocosms to bridge the scale and complexity gap between laboratory and field plant-microbe-soil research. She was selected as a World Economic Forum Young Scientist in 2016 and 2017, where she contributed to the WEF Code of Ethics for Researchers (, and she is a Handling editor for Plant Cell Physiology. Find her on Twitter @Jenny_Mortimer1, and more about her research here: