Ben Long

Ben graduated with a PhD in Plant Biology from La Trobe University working on toxic cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), before taking up a postdoctoral position at the University of Surrey to work on secondary metabolite production in streptomycetes, using bioreactor culture techniques to optimize antiobotic production. He later returned to Australia, and to cyanobacterial research at ANU, focusing on cyanobacterial carboxysome structure and function. During this time, working in close collaboration with Prof. Murray Badger and Prof. Dean Price, he determined underlying protein interactions which are essential for the formation of ß-carboxysomes, proteinaceous micro-compartments required for CO2 fixation in cyanobacteria. For a short period he also worked with Prof. Owen Atkin on the spatial heterogeneity of mitochondria in plant cells and the contribution of cell types to overall leaf respiration. He has since returned to cyanobacterial biochemistry and physiology and his current research involves synthetic biology approaches to building a CO2 concentrating mechanism in plant chloroplasts for the enhancement of photosynthesis as part of the Realizing Increased Photosynthesis Efficiency (RIPE) network funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, and UKaid.

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Research interests

Ben's current work involves the analysis of carboxysomes, cyanobacterial microcompartments housing the CO2-fixing enzyme Rubisco. These microcompartments are like bacterial organelles, capable of isolating specific biochemical processes from other parts of the cell and enabling RubisCO to operate at its maximal rate under low CO2 and high O2 which prevail under normal atmospheric conditions. Our aims are to introduce carboxysomes to the chloroplasts of crop plants in an effort to improve photosynthesis and yield.

  • Plant Physiology
  • Microbial Ecology
  • Biochemistry and Cell Biology
  • Analytical Biochemistry
  • Enzymes
  • Food Engineering
  • Synthetic Biology
  • Dooley, PC, Long, BM & West, JM 2000, 'Amino acids in haemolymph, single fibres and whole muscle from the claw of freshwater crayfish acclimated to different osmotic environments', Comparative biochemistry and physiology Part A Molecular integrative physiology, vol 127(2), pp. 155-165.

BIOL 3107 - Advances in Medical and Plant Biochemistry

BIOL 3208 - Biology Research Project