Dr Louise Thatcher

Senior Research Scientist

Contact details:


Dr Thatcher is Group Leader of Crop Protection, a dynamic group with researchers based in Brisbane, Perth and Canberra. The group develops innovative control options as well as efficient marker-assisted selection tools and pre-breeding germplasm effective against major pests and pathogens of grain crops.

Dr Thatcher's personal research focuses on genetic strategies for crop disease resistance and biologicals-based strategies for crop protection and improving yield.

This encompasses:
* Biological control of crop diseases through beneficial soil microbes and endophytes, and the bioactive compounds they produce.
* Omics-based platforms for microbial natural product discovery.
* Break crop pre-breeding for improved disease resistance and agronomic traits.
* Biologic-crop interactome studies and applying this knowledge to develop new crop protection strategies.

Dr Thatcher obtained a BSc (1st class Hons, 1999) and PhD (2007) in microbiology and plant molecular biology from the University of Western Australia. Her research studies focused on biocontrol of bacterial diseases in aquaculture and genes controlling defense and stress responses in the model plant Arabidopsis.

She completed two Postdoctoral Fellowships within CSIRO Plant Industry (Brisbane, Perth) focusing on pathogenicity mechanisms of Fusarium wilt members, host resistance and the roles of jasmonate signalling.

From 2014 Dr Thatcher was Team Leader of Break Crop Genomics with a Focus on Disease where she developed Fusarium pathogenomics and molecular plant pathology research in legumes and canola.

Building on the work of Dr Margaret Roper, in 2015 Dr Thatcher started a new field of research on the biological control of fungal diseases in agriculture and led the Crop Biologics Team. In 2019 Dr Thatcher relocated to CSIRO Canberra.

Learn more:
To learn more about Dr Thatcher's research or the CSIRO Crop Protection Group, visit our website https://research.csiro.au/crop-disease/

Join the team:
Louise is always looking for talented new team members.

Current Roles

  • Group Leader
    Protection from pathogens and pests

  • Project Leader
    Crop biologics

  • Committee Member
    Ag&F Womens Mentoring Network

Academic Qualifications

  • 2007

    PhD (Plant molecular biology)
    University of Western Australia

  • 1999

    Bsc, Hons (1st class) (Microbiology)
    University of Western Australia

Professional Experiences

  • 2020-current

    Associate Editor
    Plant Molecular Biology

  • May 2019-Aug 2019

    Visiting Scientist
    Molecular Microbiology Department, John Innes Centre

  • July 2019-July 2019

    Visiting Scientist
    Plant Pathology Research Unit, INRA

  • 2010-2013

    OCE (Office of the Chief Executive) Postdoctoral Fellowship

  • 2007-2010

    OCE (Office of the Chief Executive) Postdoctoral Fellowship

  • Jan 2007-June 2007

    Research Associate

Achievements and Awards

  • 2019-2019

    INRA-CSIRO exchange scheme award

  • 2018-2020

    Julius Career Award
    CSIRO Research Office

  • 2017-2017

    Agriculture and Food Director’s Award in the category ‘Inclusion & Diversity’ (Team award)

  • 2015-2015

    AW Howard Memorial Trust Study Grant
    AW Howard Memorial Trust

  • 2012-2012

    Science Communication Award (Team)
    CSIRO Plant Industry

Other highlights

  • 2016-2016

    ON Innovation Program - Lean Launch Pad Team Leader - Rotstopper biologicals

  • 2017-2017

    ON Innovation Program - ONPrime4 team member - New Traits in Canola


  • 2018-2018

    COGGO Research Fund - Assessment of entomopathogenic fungi

Community and Corporate Citizenship

  • 2018-2019

    Floor Fire Safety Warden

  • 2015-2018

    Deputy Floor Fire Safety Warden

  • 2016-present

    Participant in SAGE and STEM discussion groups, and hosting STEM students


We have publications by Dr Louise Thatcher