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Dr Stephen Trowell

Honorary Fellow

Contact details:

GPO BOX 1700


From January 2018, Stephen has held the position of CSIRO Honorary Fellow, mentoring students and postdoctoral fellows and collaborating in research projects on molecular recognition.

Prior to January 2018, Stephen led a multidisciplinary team of chemists, biochemists, molecular biologists, physicists, engineers and mathematicians, working to develop and implement improved point of use methods for chemical detection and identification (CYBERNOSE® AND CYBERTONGUE®). Stephen's Group's efforts focussed on detecting security threats, monitoring food quality and safety and developing non-invasive breath-based diagnostics for diseases such as malaria and lung cancer.

Stephen's work used multidisciplinary approaches to solving real world problems, often with a bio-inspired element. He immensely enjoyed helping colleagues to work productively across disciplinary boundaries and collaborating with intellectual property, legal, business development and related professionals.

Stephen obtained an Honours Degree in biochemistry from the University of Cambridge, took a Masters in neurobiology at the University of Manchester and was awarded his Ph.D. in sensory neurobiology by the Australian National University in 1987. He joined CSIRO in 1989 on an ARC National Research Fellowship.

In his earlier career, Stephen led the joint CSIRO/NSW Department of Agriculture team that developed and commercialised The LepTon™ Test Kit, an immunodiagnostic kit, which was licensed to Abbott Laboratories and used to manage insecticide resistance in the Australian cotton industry for several years. Stephen also led an industrial collaboration with BioDiscovery Ltd to discover new sources of antibiotics from Australian insects as well as projects to identify insect hormone binding proteins and receptors, to isolate novel antibiotics from insects, and to identify novel pesticide targets and elucidate resistance mechanisms.

Stephen has well over 100 publications and is inventor on 14 patent families. He continues to serve on the Editorial Board of Bioinspiration and Biomimetics and in 2013 received a Newton-Turner Award. Stephen was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW in 2018.

Other Interests

Competitive masters rowing with Black Mountain Rowing Club

Achievements and Awards

  • 2013

    Newton Turner Award

  • 1997

    Commercialisation of Insect Extract Library
    BioDiscovery Ltd

  • 1993

    Commercialisation of LepTon
    Abbott Laboratories

  • 1989

    National Research Fellowship