Mighty grains earns ANU star top accolade

Professor Ute Roessner Professor Ute Roessner
26 May 2022

A renowned plant scientist tackling one of the greatest challenges facing the agriculture industry is a newly elected as Fellows of the Australian Academy of Science for 2022.

Professor Ute Roessner AM from The Australian National University (ANU) has been recognised for her exceptional work advancing knowledge in the field of plant science. She joins 21 other newly elected Fellows to the Academy.

Professor Roessner joined the ANU Research School of Biology in March 2022 after moving from the University of Melbourne, where she was head of the School of BioSciences. Professor Roessner's work with metabolomics - technologies that can analyse the chemical structure of plants - has helped scientists understand how plants interact with microbes that help them enhance water and nutrient uptake and thereby improve plant nutritional health, growth and yield for sustainable food production.

"I am deeply humbled to join the prestigious Academy alongside so many outstanding scientists from different disciplines," Professor Roessner said.

The ANU plant biochemist is part of a team attempting to reduce the impact of nitrogen loss from fertilisers, which creates many environmental issues in addition to economic loss for farmers.

The research team aims to develop new and unique fertiliser formulations to reduce nitrogen loss while providing sustained nitrogen delivery for crop production. This could ultimately protect the environment while increasing food production.

A trailblazer in the biosciences, in 2021 Professor Roessner was elected as a member of the Order of Australia for her contributions to tertiary education and advancements in science.

Despite her many accolades and scientific achievements, it's Professor Roessner's unwavering passion for teaching and desire to shape Australia's future scientists that keeps her fire burning.

"There is nothing more satisfying and enjoyable than supporting a young and curious mind in developing research skills and watch them grow into independent researchers and professionals, taking up the challenge of contributing their knowledge and skills to transforming society and saving our world from threats," she said.

Professor Roessner hopes to use her platform with the Academy to inspire greater uptake of the sciences among Australians, particularly women, and mould future scientific leaders capable of delivering cutting-edge solutions to tomorrow's problems.

"A career in science is not easy, but with persistence and trust in your own abilities, one can go far and make substantial contributions to our knowledge base and understanding of how our world works, and that's what I want for Australia's youth," Professor Roessner said.

This year's election sees an equal number of men and women recognised as Fellows - a first for the Academy. You can read Ute's citation and more about the 2022 Fellows at the Australian Academy of Science website.

Article adapted from Galactic gains and mighty grains earn ANU stars top accolade, ANU News, 26 May 2022.