Dr Colin Scott

Contact details:

  • GPO BOX 1700


Dr Scott was born in 1975 in Scotland. He obtained a BSc (hon) in Genetics from the University of Wales (UK) in 1996 and a PhD in Molecular Microbiology from Sheffield University (UK) in 2000.

He moved to CSIRO Entomology in Canberra in 2004 as a post-doctoral fellow, and now leads the Biocatalysis and Synthetic Biology Team in CSIRO Land & Water and the also the 'Chemical & Fibres' Application Domain in CSIRO’s Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform. Dr Scott also leads a number of projects in biocatalysis and synthetic biology and has a number of projects available for PhD students.

For more information about Colin’s work, please visit the CSIRO Biocatalysis Team web page: http://csirobiocatalysisteam.net. For information about PhD opportunities please contact Colin directly: colin.scott@csiro.au.

Other Interests

Dr Scott has a strong interest in understanding the enormous diversity of biochemistry and metabolism that has evolved in nature, particularly in bacteria.

Nature has produced organisms that can perform some truly amazing chemistry at a level of sophistication that human chemists simply can’t match. Some of these biochemical innovations date back to the origins of life itself, where the 'chemical language' of biology developed. However, new enzymatic functions still arise in response to changes in the chemical environment that organisms find themselves in, including the novel chemical challenges that post-industrial humanity provides.

Anthropogenic chemicals, such as pesticides, often didn't exist in nature before they were introduced by humans. New enzymes to deal with such chemicals evolve over a remarkably short span of time, especially in bacteria – and when we’re very lucky we can catch them in the act, finding model systems for studying the molecular mechanisms that drive (and constrain) evolution.

While evolutionary studies of enzymes provide deep insights into the way that biology works at a chemical level, there is also a broad range of practical applications for enzyme technologies. For example, we can use enzymes and microbes to drive chemical transformations (i.e. biocatalysis) that are lower in cost and are less polluting than traditional chemical methods. Biocatalysis is rapidly becoming the preferred technology in chemical manufacture.

With Synthetic Biology, these process can be transferred to fermentation organisms, closely related to the organisms used to make cheese, beer and wine, that can be used to manufacture complex chemicals from simple, cheap starting materials.

Current research activities include:
•enzyme structure/function relationships
•evolution of new enzyme function
•developing enzyme technologies for bioremediation
•developing biocatalysts for the synthesis of pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals and plastics/polymers
•investigating the role of Synthetic Biology in developing the next generation of biocatalysts

PhD projects are available in these areas - please contact Dr. Scott directly for more information: colin.scott@csiro.au

Current Roles

  • Project Leader
    OCE PDF Transaminases

Academic Qualifications

  • 2000

    University of Sheffield

Achievements and Awards

  • 2010-2013

    Julius Award


We have publications by Dr Colin Scott
For more publications, please see Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com.au/citations?user=FZnok-0AAAAJ&hl=en Researcher ID: A-4682-2009 ORCID: 0000-0001-6110-6982