Researcher biography

Professor Lars Nielsen is leading the development of experimental and computational tools to analyse and design complex biological systems. His expertise in metabolic modelling and flux analysis is available nowhere else in Australia – and in few labs across the world. Professor Nielsen's studies of biological systems as diverse as bacteria, baker's yeast, sugarcane, insects and mammals has attracted industrial partnerships with companies including Dow, Metabolix, Amyris, LanzaTech, Boeing, Virgin Australia and GE. These metabolic engineering partnerships have focussed on developing new ways of producing aviation fuel, various materials and bioactives (antibiotics, biopesticides, monoclonal antibodies). Professor Nielsen is also applying system analysis and design approaches to tissue engineering including novel strategies for generating microtissues for drug screening and using stem cells to produce red and white blood cells for transfusion.

International links

Professor Nielsen collaborates with some of the world's pre-eminent metabolic engineers. A joint project with Prof Sang Yup Lee (KAIST, Korea) enabled several extended mutual visits to explore use of sugar for higher value products. A separate project focused on producing synthetic aviation fuel based on isoprenoids involves Professor Nielsen collaborating with global synthetic biotechnology company Amyris and leading isoprenoid metabolic engineer Professor Jay Keasling, from UC Berkeley. Professor Nielsen has secured $8million since 2006 from industry through research grants with US, European, Japanese, Korean, New Zealand and Australian companies.