Dr Madeline Mitchell

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Plant scientist
RMIT University
Superstar of STEM
Science and Technology Australia
Melbourne, VIC, Australia


plant biology, genetic engineering, crop biotechnology, synthetic biology, agriculture


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Previous media experience

I was awarded an ACT Young Tall Poppy award in recognition of my excellence in research and science communication.
I was spokesperson for a media release on my project in August 2018 (about 8.5 million views in the first five days) including interviews for prerecorded TV, live radio and print/online. I also do a lot of outreach including Pint of Science and talks for schools. In the last year, I have engaged with around 1000 students, teachers and non-scientists.

Links to media clippings

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I am a plant scientist interested in the economic, social and environmental sustainability of agriculture. I am currently based at RMIT University and the Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre where I manage a research program to better understand the value of natural capital in farming systems. The program aims to support growers to manage their natural capital (e.g. plants and animals, soil and water) for sustainability, profitability and climate resilience.

I have been involved in a range of plant biology and biotechnology projects including:
* Creating biodegradable cotton-based fibres with enhanced properties so we can use them to replace synthetic fibres in some applications (CSIRO, 2018-2019)
* Improving renewable plant oil production for food and non-food applications such as bioplastics (CSIRO, 2015-2017)
* Understanding the way algae photosynthesise more efficiently in order to re-engineer crop photosynthesis to improve yields (PhD at the University of Cambridge, 2010-2014).

I am also passionate about diversity and inclusion in STEMM, science communication and outreach, and responsible research and innovation. I am a participant in the 2019-2020 Superstars of STEM program that aims to smash society's gender assumptions about scientists and increase the public visibility of women in STEM. In early 2018, I also spent three weeks in Antarctica with 80 other women scientists as part of a ground-breaking leadership initiative called Homeward Bound.

Personal info

Last updated: 03 Feb 2020