Jen Kleidon

    Senior Research Assistant

    Jen completed a Master of Philosophy (Research) at the Queensland University of Technology in 2019. Her project was entitled “Development of an Excisable Selectable Marker System in Banana” and was in part funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia. This study was aimed at optimizing and implementing a novel steroid-inducible excision platform for the removal of integrated selectable marker genes following standard banana transformation. Jen’s studies resulted in the development of the world’s first marker-free banana plants, containing two different transgenes, one the green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter gene and the other a hairpin RNA cassette for engineered resistance to banana bunchy top virus.

    Jen commenced employment with the Banana Biotechnology Program in April 1999, during this time she has developed skills around plant tissue culture/transformation, molecular biology and field sample collection and analysis. For the past five years she has been leading the tissue culture and transformation team for the Banana Biotechnology Program within the Centre for Agriculture and the Bioeconomy (QUT). For the past 17 years, one of Jen’s core responsibilities has been the initiation, multiplication and maintenance of banana ECSs which are  essential for the completion of large industry-funded programs, government-funded projects and post-graduate student studies.

    Jen is currently employed on a Del Monte funded project aimed at engineering Cavendish plants with resistance to Fusaruim wilt TR4. Her main focus for this project has been to generate Cavendish lines containing susceptibility gene knockouts using a non-integrative gene editing platform.

    Prior to this, Jen coordinated the transformation, regeneration and field testing of GM plants containing up to thirty-five different resistance genes for either TR4 resistance or enhanced micronutrient content.

    In addition to bananas, Jen also has considerable tissue culture experience with other plant species, including tobacco, sugar cane, rice, papaya and taro and have genetically transformed these crops using biolistics and Agrobacterium-mediated methods.