Researcher biography

Associate Professor Lee Hickey is a plant breeder and crop geneticist within the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation at The University of Queensland, Australia. He leads a diverse research team that specialises in plant breeding innovation to support development of more productive food crops like wheat, barley, mungbean and chickpea. This includes understanding the genetics of key traits like drought adaptation and disease resistance, plus the development of novel technologies to assist plant breeders. He has a strong interest in the integration of breeding technologies, such as the rapid generation advance technology 'speed breeding' with genomic selection and genome editing. His advice for speed breeding crops is sought internationally and the technology is now adopted by plant breeding programs worldwide, which is fast-tracking development of improved crop varieties for farmers. His research outcomes have featured in 63 refereed publications, including articles in high profile journals Nature Plants, Nature Protocols and Nature Biotechnology. Lee is a prolific science communicator and his research outcomes have appeared in mainstream media such as BBC World News, National Geographic, and the New York Times. He is passionate about training the next generation of plant breeders and currently mentors 11 PhD students, while 12 of his previous graduates now work for leading plant breeding companies and high-profile research institutes around the globe.

Check out the Hickey Lab website here

Follow Associate Professor Lee Hickey on Twitter: @DrHikov

Research interests

  • Speed breeding techniques to reduce the length of breeding cycles
  • Understanding the genetics of drought adaptive traits and their value in different environments
  • Integration of breeding technologies to accelerate genetic gain in breeding programs
  • Innovative genomic selection methodologies
  • Understanding genetic resistance to pathogens that attack wheat and barley