We are a highly motivated and diverse group of researchers that specialises in plant breeding innovation. We work on a range of important crops, including bread wheat, durum wheat, barley, mungbean, chickpea, and banana.
Our research outcomes support the development of more productive food crops in the face of rapidly evolving diseases and climate change. This includes understanding the genetics of key traits like drought adaptation and disease resistance, plus the development of novel technologies to assist plant breeders.
The Hickey Lab played a key role in developing and communicating speed breeding protocols that enable up to six generations of many day-natural and long-day crops, such as wheat, barley, chickpea, canola, pea, and quinoa. Speed breeding greatly shortens generation time, thereby accelerating crop breeding and research programs. The technology is now adopted by many institutes and breeding programs around the world and is helping to accelerate the development of improved crops for farmers.
A global collaborative effort of 58 researchers published the first multi-crop speed breeding protocols, which provide a ‘step-by-step’ guide for the research and breeding community to establish both small- and large-scale facilities.
If you have any questions about how the speed breeding technology works, please get in touch with us.
Research outcomes from the Hickey Lab benefit the Australian grains industry. For example, projects funded by the Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC) have developed new insight, breeding tools, and technology to support more efficient and targeted plant breeding. Previous projects have also applied cutting-edge genomics tools and speed breeding to understand the genetics of key drought adaptive traits, as well as resistance to foliar diseases. The new tools and elite pre-breeding germplasm developed by the HickeyLab have been delivered to breeding companies and are supporting the development of more productive and resilient cultivars for farmers.
The Hickey Lab works closely with industry partners to overcome plant breeding challenges. Through contract research and ARC Linkage Projects the team is working with leading commercial breeding programs to apply cutting-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence and remote sensing phenotyping platforms, to enable more accurate selections and more efficient breeding processes.
Please get in touch if you would like to collaborate or partner to develop future crops. We are interested in partnering on projects that develop new breeding technologies for a range of crops. We are also seeking highly motivated individuals who are interested in doing a PhD and making a difference in the field of crop improvement.