A new structure – and some new faces – for the FSP
The Synthetic Biology FSP has been undergoing strategic review and engagement with business units and other stakeholders over the past nine months. We are starting to implement some of the outcomes of that review process now. The first step is redesigning our Application Domain portfolio to better focus on strategic areas. This has resulted in some internal changes, as well as introduced some new faces to our leadership team.
Firstly, in recognition of the activities that we are already undertaking in the space, we have added a new Agriculture and Food Application Domain. Synbio offers the potential to re-imagine the future of agriculture by accelerating the design of next generation yeast and crop production platforms that are tailored to meet specific needs. The Agriculture & Food Application domain unites projects that rely on plants and yeast to deliver high value food ingredients and fibre components that exhibit novel functionalities such as colour and elasticity. We welcomed Dr Thomas Vernhecke to the SynBioFSP Executive Team in January 2020 as Application Domain Leader.
Several projects that were part of the Chemicals and Fibres Application Domain, and a few projects from other Domains, have been transferred into the new Agriculture & Food Application Domain. We have re-named the old Chemicals & Fibres Application Domain to provide better focus; it is now known as the Industrial Biotechnology Application Domain. We are pleased to welcome Dr Charlotte Williams as the new Application Domain Leader for Industrial biotechnology. Dr Williams joins the Executive Team this month.
Dr Colin Scott, who previously led Chemicals and Fibres, has transitioned to the lead for the Foundation Technologies Application Domain.
And even though she has been in the role for close to six months now, we would also like to formally welcome Dr Kristie Jenkins who has replaced Andrew Bean as the Health and Medicine Domain Leader.
We look forward to the new perspectives and energy that the new Executive Team members bring to the SynBioFSP leadership team!
Dr Kristie Jenkins
Dr Jenkins has worked with CSIRO for over a decade in the areas of innate immunology and genome engineering for health and welfare applications. She holds a doctorate in philosophy and previous to CSIRO was a Research Fellow at the Monash Institute of Medical Research, Centre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Disease studying regulation of the innate immune response. Dr Jenkins looks forward to working with a diverse network of people that are using and developing the synthetic biology capability in Australia to solve problems in ways that were not previously possible.
Dr Thomas Vanhercke
Dr Vanhercke has been with CSIRO since 2006, and holds am MSc, PhD in Bioengineering (Ghent University in collaboration with Bayer CropScience, 2005). He is fascinated with the opportunities genetic engineering can unlock and the solutions it can offer to agricultural challenges. Dr Vanhercke is looking forward to engaging and learning from various research groups and the new generation of synbio scientists (PhD students, PDFs) about the latest cutting-edge advances in synthetic biology they are pursuing and how that can be translated into commercial impact.
Dr Charlotte Williams
Dr Williams has been with CSIRO since 2009. Her research interests span synthetic chemistry and conjugation of small molecules, proteins and antibodies, to polymer synthesis and polymer bioconjugation. As well as her new role with the FSP, Dr Williams will continue working in CSIRO’s Biomedical Manufacturing program. Dr Williams gained her Ph.D. in 2002 from The University of Western Australia, followed by postdoctoral research at the University of Oxford. Dr Williams gained industrial experience at Johnson Matthey and Starpharma. The Industrial Biotechnology Application Domain will sit at the interface of synthetic biology and chemical manufacturing technologies. Dr Williams is looking forward to becoming a part of the SynBio FSP executive team, co-developing strategic goals and impactful outcomes for both Manufacturing and SynBio projects.