Dr Mark Harrison

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Medical And Health Sciences
Chemical Sciences
Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences
Biological Sciences

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Ph.d Biochemistry (University of Queensland)

Mark Harrison is a biochemist with extensive basic, applied, and commercial research experience. He is a Senior Research Fellow and foundation member of the QUT Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities (https://www.qut.edu.au/research/our-research/institutes-centres-and-research-groups/centre-for-tropical-crops-and-biocommodities).  Mark also provides consulting services to the Australian food and bio-industrial sector. Research in his group is focused on the conversion of agricultural wastes and residues into more valuable food, feed, fibre, fine chemical, and fuel products, (https://research.qut.edu.au/biorefining/) and his current research projects include:

  • fibre modification to enhance digestibility in ruminants and non-ruminants
  • production of soluble sugar products from plant biomass
  • production of single cell protein using crop residues as substrates
  • isolation of natural plant products, bioactives, and nutraceuticals
  • biomass pretreatment chemistry

Post-doctoral, research assistant, PhD, masters and undergraduate research project opportunities are available in Mark’s laboratory.

Background Mark obtained an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Queensland in 1992. He completed his PhD (2001) at the University of Queensland, researching the molecular mechanisms by which cells transport, store, and detoxify essential metal ions. He then undertook post-doctoral work at Newcastle University (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK) in the laboratories of Professors Nigel Robinson and Christopher Dennison, researching the biological chemistry of metalloproteins and their role in essential metal ion homeostasis. Mark returned to Australia in 2003 and was awarded a 3 year Queensland State Government Smart State Fellowship in 2004 to produce enzymes in a model plant. The development of this technology in sugarcane was a key part of the $3.8 million research collaboration between Syngenta, one of the world’s largest integrated agribusiness companies, and QUT. He has also lead research projects on integration of transgenic sugarcane into the global sugarcane production system, understanding protein stability under extreme conditions, and practical integration of enzymes into industrial systems.


Additional information

Professional Experience:

  • 2015 to present Senior Lecturer, School of Earth, Environmental, and Biological Sciences, Queensland University of Technology.
  • 2008 to present Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities, Queensland University of Technology.
  • 2004 to 2008 Research Fellow, Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities, Queensland University of Technology.
  • 2002 to 2003 Postdoctoral Research Associate, School of Natural Sciences, University of Newcastle (UK).
  • 1999 to 2001 Postdoctoral Research Associate, Institute of Cell and Molecular Biosciences, University of Newcastle (UK).
Academic Honours, Prestigious Awards or Prizes
Reference year
A Smart State Fellowship was awarded to Dr Mark Harrison by the Queensland State Government to pursue a research project entitled "Switching on enzymes to break down sugarcane waste for fermentation to bioethanol". This grant provides a total of $100,000 per year for three years to Dr Harrison; $50,000 per year is provided by the Queensland State Government Department of State Development and Trade, $25,000 per year is provided by QUT and $25,000 per year is provided by Farmacule Pty Ltd.
Academic Honours, Prestigious Awards or Prizes
Reference year
Dr Harrison was awarded one of the three inaugural Early Career Researcher Bio2007 Fellowships. This fellowship provided full funding (registration, travel and accommodation) for Dr Harrison to attend Bio2007 in Boston, USA.