Dr Lee Hickey

Position:  Senior Research Fellow
Place of birth: Brisbane, Australia
Languages: English

Qualifications
2012: PhD in Quantitative and Molecular Plant Breeding, The University of Queensland
2012: Graduate Certificate in Research Commercialisation, The University of Queensland
2007: B.Agr Sc (Hons Class I), The University of Queensland

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Research and teaching positions

  • Senior Research Fellow & ARC DECRA Fellow, QAAFI, The University of Queensland (UQ) (Jan 2017 – current)
  • Research Fellow, QAAFI, UQ (Nov 2012 – Dec 2016)
  • PhD candidate, School of Agriculture and Food Science, UQ (Jan 2007 – June 2012)
  • Biometrics Teaching Assistant, School of Land, Crop and Food Science, UQ (Mar 2008 – Jun 2009)
  • Maize Research Intern, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. Dallas Center, IA, USA (Jun – Dec 2008)
  • Research Assistant, School of Land, Crop and Food Science, UQ (Feb – Jun 2008)

Dr Hickey leads a research team that conducts genetics studies on factors that limit production of wheat and barley, and develops novel tools and methodologies for plant breeders.

At The University of Queensland, he has played a pivotal role in developing ‘speed breeding’ technology; his advice is sought internationally. Dr Hickey has developed elite wheat varieties incorporating novel traits that are currently being commercialised by multiple breeding companies in Australia. He is successful in attracting funding and has been a named a Chief Investigator on $4.3M of grants in the last four years. He has published 22 papers in international refereed journals, one provisional patent and two book chapters. Dr Hickey has assembled a highly productive and independent research team, comprising a post-doc, honours students, master’s students, and 13 PhD students; for ten of whom he is primary advisor. He has built a large network of collaborations with researchers in the public and private sectors nationally and internationally, with active or developing collaborations with researchers in Mexico (CIMMYT), USA (Cornell Uni, Kansas State Uni), Germany (Justus Liebig Uni), Uruguay (INIA), Morocco (ICARDA), England (John Innes Centre, NIAB), Russia (VIR) and Australia (UQ, DAF, Uni Syd, CSIRO).

His impactful science is generating strong community, government and industry interest, and outcomes from his research have received wide media coverage. He is an advocate of promoting and communicating science to the public.

Invited keynote and plenary addresses

2017 Invited lecture, Monogram 2017, Bristol, UK
2017 Invited lecture, Plant and Animal Genome Conference, San Diego
2016 Keynote Address, CropLife National Members’ Forum, Old Parliament House, Canberra
2016 Keynote Address, 13th International Symposium on Pre-harvest Sprouting in Cereals, Perth
2016 Keynote Address, Monogram 2016, Cambridge, UK
2016 Invited lecture, Plant and Animal Genome Conference, San Diego
2014 Invited lecture, Durable Rust Resistance Wheat Meeting, San Diego
2013 Plenary lecture, Australian Wheat Breeding Assembly, Brisbane
2013 Plenary lecture, Australian Barley Technical Symposium, Melbourne
2011 Plenary lecture, 12th International Symposium on Pre-Harvest Sprouting in Cereals, Alberta
2011 Plenary lecture, Australian Wheat Breeding Assembly, Perth
2011 Plenary lecture, 15th Australian Barley Technical Symposium, Adelaide
2009 Plenary lecture, 14th Australasian Plant Breeding & 11th SABRAO Conference, Cairns
2007 Plenary lecture, 11th International Symposium on Pre-harvest Sprouting in Cereals, Mendoza

Awards and prizes

2017 ARC Discovery Early Career Award (DE170101296)
2016 ATSE Australia China Young Scientists Exchange Program (YESP) Award (1 of 16 scientists)
2013 Paul Johnston Memorial Award
2013 National Finalist for Fresh Science Competition (1 of 12 scientists)
2013 State Finalist (QLD) for Fresh Science Competition
2011 Finalist for The University of Queensland UniQuest Trailblazer Competition
2008 Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship
2008 Grains Research Top-Up Scholarship awarded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation
2008 Edwin Munro Scholarship in Agricultural Science, presented by The University of Queensland
2007 Valedictorian of the Faculty of Biological and Chemical Sciences, The University of Queensland
2007 Bell Memorial Medal, presented by the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology
2007 Ben Brown Memorial Medal for Agricultural Science, presented by The University of Queensland
2007 Undergraduate Honors Scholarship awarded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation

Landmark agronomist, Paul McIntosh with Dr Lee Hickey, inspecting a barley field experiment for drought tolerance.
Landmark agronomist, Paul McIntosh with Dr Lee Hickey, inspecting a barley field experiment for drought tolerance.

Selected publications

Zhou Y, Tang H, Cheng M, Dankwa KO, Chen Z, Li Z, Gao S, Liu Y, Jiang Q, Lan X, Pu Z, Wei Y, Zheng Y, Hickey L, Wang J (2017) Genome-wide association study for pre-harvest sprouting resistance in a large germplasm collection of Chinese wheat landraces. Frontiers in Plant Science DOI 10.3389/fpls.2017.00401

Ziems LA, Hickey LT, Platz GJ, Franckowiak JD, Dracatos PM, Singh D, Park RF (2017) Characterisation of Rph24: A gene conferring adult plant resistance to Puccinia hordei in barley. Phytopathology DOI 10.1094/PHYTO-08-16-0295-R

Hickey LT, Germán S, Pereyra S, Diaz J, Ziems LA, Fowler R, Platz GJ, Franckowiak JD, Dieters M (2017) Speed breeding for multiple disease resistance in barley. Euphytica 213:64 DOI 10.1007/s10681-016-1803-2

Riaz A, Athiyannan N, Periyannan S, Afanasenko O, Mitrofanova O, Aitken EAB, Lagudah E, Hickey LT (2017) Mining Vavilov’s Treasure Chest of Wheat Diversity for Adult Plant Resistance to Puccinia triticina. Plant Disease DOI 10.1094/PDIS-05-16-0614-RE

Mackay MC, Street KA, Hickey LT (2016) Toward More Effective Discovery and Deployment of Novel Plant Genetic Variation: Reflection and Future Directions. In: Applied Mathematics and Omics to Assess Crop Genetic Resources for Climate Change Adaptive Traits. A Bari, et al (Eds.), CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group pp 139-150

Riaz A, Periyannan S, Aitken E, Hickey L (2016) A rapid phenotyping method for adult plant resistance to leaf rust in wheat. Plant Methods DOI 10.1186/s13007-016-0117-7

Riaz A, Hathorn A, Dinglasan E, Ziems L, Richard C, Singh D, Mitrofanova O, Afanasenko O, Aitken E, Godwin I, Hickey L (2016) Into the vault of the Vavilov wheats: old diversity for new alleles. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution DOI 10.1007/s10722-016-0380-5

Dinglasan E, Godwin ID, Mortlock MY, Hickey LT (2016) Resistance to yellow spot in wheat grown under accelerated growth conditions. Euphytica 209:693–707

Robinson H, Hickey L, Richard C, Mace E, Kelly A, Borrell A, Franckowiak J, Fox G (2016) Genomic regions influencing seminal root traits in barley. The Plant Genome DOI:10.3835/plantgenome2015.03.0012

Gous PW, Hickey LT, Christopher JT, Franckowiak J, Fox GP (2016) Discovery of QTL for stay-green and heat-stress in barley (Hordeum vulgare) grown under simulated abiotic stress conditions. Euphytica 207:305–317

Richard CA, Hickey LT, Fletcher S, Jennings R, Chenu K, Christopher JJ (2015) High-throughput phenotyping of seminal root traits in wheat. Plant Methods 11:13

Wang X, Mace ES, Platz GJ, Hunt CH, Hickey LT, Franckowiak JD, Jordan DR (2015) Spot form of net blotch resistance in barley is under complex genetic control. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 128:489–499

Ziems LA, Hickey LT, Hunt CH, Mace ES, Platz GJ, Franckowiak JD, Jordan DR (2014) Association mapping of resistance to Puccinia hordei in Australian barley breeding germplasm. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 127:1199–212

Chu S, Hasjim J, Hickey LT, Fox G, Gilbert RG (2014) Structural changes of starch molecules in barley grain during germination. Cereal Chemistry 91:431–437

Hickey LT, Lawson W, Platz GJ, Fowler RA, Arief V, Dieters M, Germán S, Fletcher S, Park RF, Singh D, Pereyra S, Franckowiak J (2012) Mapping quantitative trait loci for partial resistance to powdery mildew in an Australian barley population. Crop Science 52:1021–1032

Hickey LT, Lawson W, Arief VN, Fox G, Franckowiak J, Dieters MJ (2012) Grain dormancy QTL identified in a doubled haploid barley population derived from two non-dormant parents. Euphytica 188:113–122

Hickey LT, Lawson W, Platz GJ, Dieters M, Franckowiak J (2012) Origin of leaf rust adult plant resistance gene Rph20 in barley. Genome 55:396–399

Hickey LT, Wilkinson PM, Knight CR, Godwin ID, Kravchuk OY, Aitken EAB, Bansal UK, Bariana HS, DeLacy IH, Dieters MJ (2012) Rapid phenotyping for adult plant resistance to stripe rust in wheat. Plant Breeding 131:54–61

Hickey LT, Lawson W, Platz GJ, Dieters M, Arief VN, Germán S, Fletcher S, et al. (2011) Mapping Rph20: a gene conferring adult plant resistance to Puccinia hordei in barley. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 123:55–68

Hickey LT, Dieters MJ, DeLacy IH, Christopher MJ, Kravchuk OY, Banks PM (2010) Screening for grain dormancy in segregating generations of dormant × non-dormant crosses in white-grained wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Euphytica 172:183–195

Hickey LT, Dieters MJ, DeLacy IH, Kravchuk OY, Mares DJ, Banks PM (2009) Grain dormancy in fixed lines of white-grained wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) grown under controlled environmental conditions. Euphytica 168:303–310

In the media

Farming in 2030: Researchers cast the net for the next generation of farmers
 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-20/future-farmers-of-2030/7525442

Future fare tipped to be GM, GE, 'organic' or none as shortages compound
http://www.smh.com.au/national/future-fare-tipped-to-be-gm-ge-organic-or-none-as-shortages-compound-20160316-gnksl1.html

Young Queensland researcher says speed breeding and drones are the future of wheat production
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-18/lee-hickey-on-speed-breeding/6787746

Australian genetic research on rust secures the future of good beer
http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/food/australian-genetic-research-on-rust-secures-the-future-of-good-beer/story-fneuz8wn-1226691693989

Scientists unveil new way to grow quality wheat faster
http://www.qaafi.uq.edu.au/fast-wheat-188880