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Dr Colleen MacMillan

Senior Research Scientist


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GPO BOX 1700


  • Originally from South Africa.
  • BSc(Hons): University of Melbourne. Honours research on pollen-tube cell wall synthesis of tobacco.
  • PhD: University of Melbourne. Molecular biology of gibberellin synthesis and signalling in flowering of Lolium perenne (perennial ryegrass), via environmental cues of vernalization and daylength
  • PostDoctorate: ensis / CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products. Genes for eucalypt wood strength and stiffness.
  • Research Scientist: CSIRO Forest Biosciences. CSIRO Plant Industry. CSIRO Agriculture and Food. Molecular regulation, synthesis, and biomechanics of secondary cell walls of eucalypts, cotton, Arabidopsis, tobacco.
  • Inaugural Agriculture and Food Inclusion of Diversity Initiative - CSIRO Business Unit Executive Lead

Research-career narrative. Fascinated by #secondarycellwalls and their uses for #biodegradable #renewable plant-based industries and commodities. After all, life on earth as we know it would not exist without plant #secondarycellwalls. Research of #secondarycellwalls spans - from transcription factors, networks, biosynthetic genes, carbohydrate synthesis and deposition, cell-wall proteins, biomechanics - in tobacco pollen tubes, tobacco wood development, eucalypts wood development and traits, cotton quality traits, Arabidopsis. Also, active in the Circular Economy transition for CSIRO and more broadly, with a focus on strategy, sustainable fibres and materials. Co-Chair of "Threads+Opportunities: science engineering sustainable fibres, for closing the loop in Australia:

Other research interests: flowering, plant hormones (gibberellin synthesis and signalling), vernalization, photoperiod particularly in grasses and model plants.

Science-organisation strategic activities. Passionate about the inclusion of diversity for science excellence, innovation, and impact.

Other Interests

Research on Intersectionality and Structural Change through Inclusion -

Connecting diverse science and scientists - CSIRO Agriculture and Food Seminar Series:

Current Roles

  • Research Scientist
    Cotton Biotechnology

  • Project Leader
    Plant Fibre and Secondary Cell Walls for differentiated products (various projects)

  • Core Team
    CSIRO Circular Economy For Mission Initiative

Academic Qualifications

  • 2004

    University of Melbourne

  • 1994

    Grad. Dip. Education
    University of Melbourne

  • 1993

    BSc (Hons)
    University of Melbourne

Professional Experiences

  • 2015-2021

    Inclusion and Diversity Initiative Inaugural Executive Lead
    CSIRO Agriculture and Food

Achievements and Awards

  • 2020-2020

    Reward: Creator and Co-delivery of "The Inclusive Leader Module"
    CSIRO Agriculture and Food

  • 1999-2003

    Dairy Research and Development Corporation PhD Scholarship
    Dairy Research and Development Corporation

Community and Corporate Citizenship

  • 2016-current

    CSIRO SAGE SAT (Science in Australia Gender Equity Self Assessment Team)

  • 2022-current

    CSIRO Agriculture and Food Business Unit Inclusion and Diversity Team - Adjunct and Champion

  • 2011-2013

    CSIRO Plant Industry Gender Equity Committee

We have publications by Dr Colleen MacMillan

    Published data & software

    We have published items by Dr Colleen MacMillan