Robert Furbank

ARC CoE for Translational Photosynthesis

Robert heads the Furbank Lab – Improving photosynthesis and crop yield, and is the Centre Director of Translational Photosynthesis, and a Program Leader in the ARC COE for Translational Photosynthesis.

Robert was awarded a Bachelor of Science (first class Honours) from the University of Wollongong, in 1979. He completed his PhD at The Australian National University, in 1982.

Robert is internationally known for his research into aspects of photosynthesis and carbon allocation/transport in crop plants, and understanding and manipulating C4 photosynthesis. He is also part of the CIMMYT led International Wheat Yield Consortium and the IRRI Global Rice Initiative Science Partnership.

He was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II research fellowship in 1987 and two ACT ICT Innovation Awards in 2013 and the CSIRO Plant Industry Leadership Award in 2014.

Read more on Robert's ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis profile

Research interests

Robert currently works on improving photosynthesis and yield potential using plant phenomics techniques and by genetic manipulation in crop plants; developing new tools for plant phenomics and imaging plant performance in the glasshouse and the field and mechanisms of abiotic stress tolerance in cereals. He uses high throughput phenotyping and molecular genetics to understand genetic variation and biochemical regulation of photosynthesis and carbon allocation between different plant organs and between different storage compounds in wheat and rice. In rice, he is using molecular techniques to install a CO2 concentrating mechanism in rice as part of the IRRI led Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supported C4 Rice Consortium. In wheat he works closely with the Grains Research and Development Corporation to identify genetic variation in photosynthetic performance and develop new tools for high throughput measurement of photosynthesis.