Dr Filomena Pettolino

Group Leader

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Filomena Pettolino is Group Leader of the Cotton Biotechnology Group that works to support a profitable and sustainable cotton industry through biotechnology linked with CSIRO varieties, production systems and processing improvements. The Cotton Biotechnology Group collaborates with other CSIRO cotton groups (Cotton Breeding, Cotton Management, Fibre Innovation & Composites) to achieve an integrated research team across the whole production system from “genes to jeans”. The focus is on protecting yield from the ravages of pests, diseases and a changing climate, enhancing yield and quality through genetic technologies and developing novel cotton fibres to enhance Australia’s international fibre export competitiveness.

After completing a PhD in Biochemistry (Immunochemical studies of (1,4)-beta-mannans) under the supervision of the late Prof. Bruce Stone at La Trobe University, she worked as a post-doctoral fellow with Prof. Tony Bacic in the School of Botany, University of Melbourne. Her work focused on cell walls and plant and fungal polysaccharide structure and applications, including the characterisation of polysaccharides from plant cells in suspension culture, polysaccharides with immunomodulatory activities, yeast mannoproteins involved in reducing visible haze in white wine and the development of plant-based fining agents for the brewing industry. As a Senior Research Fellow, she studied cell wall assembly in barley and maize for the enhancement of quality, productivity and industrial value of crop plants (ARC Linkage with Pioneer DuPont) and contributed to the CSIRO Food Futures Flagship High Fibre Grains Cluster through her expertise in complex carbohydrate analysis.

Filomena joined CSIRO in late 2010 to work in the Cotton Biotechnology Group and apply her cell wall expertise to understanding the relationship between the chemical structure of the cotton seed fibre cell wall and fibre properties. Filomena uses a combination of chemical, biochemical and genomic approaches to study cell wall and fibre development in different cotton varieties and fibre quality mutants to understand this structure-function relationship. The long term aim of this work is to manipulate the composition of the fibre to generate fibres with novel properties that will expand the uses of this important natural fibre. Much of Filomena’s work is supported by Cotton Breeding Australia, a joint venture between CSIRO and Cotton Seed Distributors.

Current Roles

  • Group Leader
    Cotton Biotechnology

  • Research Scientist
    Designer Fibres

Academic Qualifications

  • PhD
    La Trobe University

Professional Experiences

  • 2006-2010

    Senior Research Fellow
    School of Botany, The University of Melbourne

  • 1999-2006

    Research Fellow
    CRC for Bioproducts, The University of Melbourne

  • 1997-1999

    Research Fellow
    CRC for Industrial Plant Biopolymers, The University of Melbourne

Community and Corporate Citizenship

  • Lab Custodian Synergy Level 3

  • 2000-current

    Peer review


We have publications by Dr Filomena Pettolino