Dr Claudia Vickers
Dr Claudia Vickers

BSc (Hons I) UQ, PhD (Molecular Biology) UQ
Queensland Government Accelerate Fellow and Associate Group Leader


Telephone: +61 7 334 63958, Email: c.vickers@uq.edu.au

Research Summary

Dr Vickers works in the fields of isoprenoid biology/metabolic regulation/engineering, carbohydrate metabolism/engineering, and beer systems biology. These diverse areas are linked though understanding fundamental biology and applying this understanding to industrial bioprocesses. In particular, she has an interest in using biology to replace current industrial practices (largely based on finite petrochemical resources) with sustainable, environmentally friendly approaches. To this end, she uses the tools of systems and synthetic biology for metabolic engineering of microbes.

Dr Vickers has made seminal contributions to: understanding the role of isoprenoids in plant biochemistry/physiology; elucidating the genetic, molecular and biochemical control isoprene emission; and understanding/engineering sucrose utilization in industrial microbes. She has also developed many enabling tools for molecular biology/synthetic biology in both plants and microbes (transformation vectors, expression control systems, chromosomal integration systems, reporter systems, etc.).

Dr Vickers has research programs and student research projects available in the following areas (see here for details):

  • Isoprenoid Pathway Engineering
  • Isoprenoid Biofuels and Industrial Biochemicals
  • Tools for Synthetic Biology
  • Synthetic Biology Circuit Construction
  • Beer Systems Biology
  • Feedstock Pathway Engineering

Dr Vickers is very active in science education, outreach and career advice for early career scientists. She has been invited to act as an advisor on synthetic biology (as an emerging technology) for both the Australian Federal Government and the Institute on Science for Global Policy (an American-based organisation).

Key publications

Vickers, C.E.*; Bongers, M.; Qing, L.; Delatte, T.; Bouwmeester, H. (2014) Metabolic engineering of volatile isoprenoids in plants and microbes. Plant Cell & Environment 37(8):1753-1775 (invited)

Williams, T.C.; Nielsen, L.K.; Vickers, C.E.* (2013) Engineered quorum-sensing using pheromone-mediated cell-to-cell communication in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. ACS Synthetic Biology 2(3):136-149

Vickers, C.E.*; Blank, L.M.; Kroemer, J.O. (2010) Chassis cells for industrial biochemical production. Nature Chemical Biology 6(12):875–877

Vickers, C.E.*; Gershenzon, J.; Lerdau, M.; Loreto, F. (2009) A unified mechanism of action for volatile isoprenoids in plant abiotic stress. Nature Chemical Biology 5:283-291 (invited)

Vickers, C.E.*, Possell, M.; Cojocariu, C.; Velikova, V.; Laothawornkitcul, J.; Ryan, A.; Mullineaux, P.M.; Hewitt, C.N. (2009) Isoprene synthesis protects transgenic plants from oxidative stress. Plant, Cell & Environment 32:520-531

Recent publications

Full list of publications available at UQ eSpace.


  • Young Tall Poppy Science Award (Australian Institute of Policy & Science; 2014)
  • Queensland Government Accelerate Fellowship (2014)
  • UQ Foundation Research Excellence Award (The University of Queensland; 2013)
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Honorarium (Society for Risk Analysis Conference; 2012)
  • Australian Academy of Science Travel Fellowship: Scientific Visit to Korea (2010)
  • Queensland Government Smart Futures Fellowship (2010)
  • Inaugural Science Communication Award, Gordon Research Conference on Biogenic Volatiles and the Atmosphere (2007)

Molecular Biology Tools

  • Dual gene expression cassette vectors with antibiotic selection markers for yeast PMID: 24161108
  • 2,2-Diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl as a screening tool for recombinant monoterpene biosynthesis PMID: 23968454
  • Knock-in/Knock-out (KIKO) vectors for rapid integration of large DNA sequences onto E. coli chromosomes PMID: 23799955
  • Synthetic circuits for quorum-based cell-density-dependent signalling/responses in yeast  Link: ACS Snthetic Biology
  • Transferable sucrose utilization modules for E. coli PMID: 21907272
  • sXynA: A synthetic xylanase reporter gene for functional analysis Link
  • pGFPGUSPlus: a dual reporter gene binary vector for plant transformation Link

Outreach: Synthetic Biology (Video Links)

From a petrochemical to a biochemical economy. Click here to view.
A video prepared for the 2013 University of Queensland Foundation Research Excellence Awards, explaining Dr Vickers’ synthetic biology jet fuel research.

What is Synthetic Biology? Click here to view.
An animated cartoon aimed at non-scientists, explaining what synthetic biology is. Developed with the Royal Institution of Australia and supported by the Australian Government Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.

Synthetic Biology: What does it mean for you? Click here for videos.
A public forum explaining what synthetic biology is and engaging with the public on legislative and ethical issues surrounding synthetic biology. Presented at The Science Exchange, Royal Institution of Australia and supported by the Australian Government Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.

Club Cosmos: Synthetic Biology in the Pub Part 1 and Part 2
A pub discussion of synthetic biology at Forresters Hotel, Surry Hills, Sydney. Presented by Club Cosmos (Cosmos Magazine) and supported by the Australian Government Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.

RiAus PDPlus: Synthetic Biology - Creating life in the lab
Aimed at secondary school teachers as a teaching assistance tool, this is an everyday language explanation of what synthetic biology is, what training you need to do it, and what the industry is like in Australia and across the world. Presented at The Science Exchange, Royal Institution of Australia and supported by the Australian Government Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.

Dr Claudia Vickers section

AIBN Systems and Synthetic Biology

Vickers: Research Projects

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