To support the development of more resilient
and productive crops for our future

Our Expertise

Discovery and applied research to improve Australia’s most important food crops.

What Hickey Lab does

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.




Accelerate food crops with Speed Breeding

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.

Guide to Speed Breeding crops

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.


Innovators in Multidisciplinary
Crop Research

Dr Lee Hickey
It’s a pleasure to work with talented early career researchers who are passionate about making a difference. We are committed to train the next generation of crop scientists and breeders. Our PhD graduates now work for leading research institutes or breeding companies around the world.
Associate Professor Lee Hickey
Yichen Kang

PhD STUDENTYichen Kang

Identifying traits to increase durum yield
Yichen Kang
Shanice van Haefen

PhD STUDENTShanice van Haefen

Increasing the productivity of mungbean
Shanice van Haefen
Dr Samir Alahmad

POSTDOCDr Samir Alahmad

Improving root systems of durum wheat
Dr Samir Alahmad

INDUSTRYResilient Cultivars for Farmers

Our research outcomes benefit the Australian grains industry.

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.

Work with us

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.