Researcher biography

Dr 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 an innovative team conducting discovery and applied research on Australia's most important cereal crops, wheat and barley. 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 leading-edge 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 57 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 10 PhD students, while 9 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 Dr Hickey on Twitter: @DrHikov

Research interests

  • Understanding genetic resistance to pathogens that attack wheat and barley
  • 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 breeding methodologies