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Dr Surinder Singh

Group Leader, Plant Oil Engineering

Contact details:

GPO BOX 1700


Surinder Singh was born in Pune, India on 25 October 1955. He obtained his BSc in Biological Sciences, from Guru Nanak University, India in 1976; his MSc in Plant Physiology and Biochemistry from the GB Pant University Pantnagar, India in 1980 (Thesis title: ‘Phosphate and Sulfate absorption by excised corn roots: A kinetic study’) and his PhD in Plant Physiology and Biochemistry from the University of Adelaide in 1985, (Thesis title: ‘Low temperature-induced development of sensitivity to GA3 in wheat aleurone tissue’.
He joined the CSIRO Division of Plant Industry as a research scientist in 1991 and is one of the world’s leading translational researchers in the field of metabolic engineering of plant lipids ( ). He has played a leadership role in developing and maintaining a world-leading 30+ strong Plant Oil Engineering Group at CSIRO. The Group’s focus is on understanding the molecular biology of fatty acid and oil biosynthesis in seeds and vegetative parts and applying the knowledge gained to improve and diversify Australian oilseed crops through metabolic engineering of oil composition and oil yield. Two new products, Omega-3 Canola and Super-high Oleic Safflower, are ready to enter global commercial production through licensees in 2018/19.


 Chief Research Scientist CSIRO Agriculture (present)
* Guest Professor Oil Crops Institute Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences 2017-2022
 NH&MRC Research Officer, Molecular Oncology Laboratory, Queensland Institute of Medical Research (1989-1990).
 Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Energy Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Uni of Queensland & Molecular Oncology Laboratory, Q.I.M.R. (1987 to 1989).

My publications can be found at Google Scholar: h-index 39; Life time citations 8678

Issued patents:

DNA sequences capable of directing expression of non-native genes in flax seeds as well as the seeds of other plants (US 6777591 B1); Plant fatty acid epoxygenase genes and uses therefor (CA 2286895 C, US 6329518 B1); Altering the fatty acid composition of rice (US 8530724 B2); Modified cottonseed oil (US 7619105B2, US 6974898 B2, EP 1282709); Synthesis of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids by recombinant cells (US 8288572 B2); Synthesis of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids by recombinant cells (US 7834250 B2); Synthesis of fatty acids (US 8816106 B2, PCT/AU2007/001242); Enzymes and methods for producing omega-3 fatty acids (US 8809559 B2, PCT/AU2009/0014); Synthesis of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids by recombinant cells (US 8106226 B2, US 8158392 B1, US 8535917 B2, US 8575377 B2, US 8778644 B2,US 8778644 B2, US 8853432 B2); Lipid comprising polyunsaturated fatty acids (US 8816111 B2); Methods of producing lipids (US2011314725-A1; WO2012000026-A); Processes for producing hydrocarbon products (US 9512438 B2); Processes for producing lipids (US 9499829 B2); Method of preparing food using rice oil (US 9351507 B2); Production of dihydrosterculic acid and derivatives thereof (US 9347067 B2); Lipid compositions comprising triacylglycerol with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids at the sn-2 position (US 20160177220 A1)

Awards and recognition:

Ranked in the Top 10 translational researchers for 2014 by Nature Biotechnology,; CSIRO Newton Turner Award (2012); CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement (2010); PI Chief’s Innovation Award (2010); CSIRO “Go for Growth” Award for development of seed oils research group (2006); CSIRO “One-CSIRO” Award for establishing Crop Biofactories Initiative (2004); William Culross Prize for best Ph.D. thesis submitted to the Agricultural Faculty of the University of Adelaide (1985-1986); Finalist AMP Prize for Medical Research Queensland (1990); University of Adelaide Research Scholarship (1980-1985); National Science Talent Search Scholar (1974-1980)

Current national and international collaborations:

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences; University of Alberta (Canada); University of North Texas; Rothamsted Research Station (UK); Research School of Chemistry, ANU; NUS SynCTI Life Sciences Institute (Singapore); University of Southern Mississippi; USD-ARS/Donald Danforth Plant Science Centre; McGill University (Canada); Oil Crops Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences; IRRI (Philippines)

Invited participation in significant meetings (last 5 years) :

Plant Metabolic Engineering in Synthetic Biology Era, Gordon Conference (2017), NH; Australia-Indonesia Science Symposium (2016), Canberra; Global Biotechnology Conference (2015), Boston; Engineered Plant Oils (2014), NSA, Hobart; 21st ISPL (2014), Guelph; Rank Prize mini-symposium on 'Very long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the human diet - health and sustainability issues, UK (2013); International Conference on Plant Biotechnology for Food Security: New Frontiers (2012), New Delhi; AAOCS conference (2012), Adelaide

Conference sessions chaired (Last 5 years):

Plant Metabolic Engineering at Cutting Edge Synthetic Biology Symposium (2016), Canberra; Oil and Fibre crop workshop at the IAPB (2014), Melbourne; Rank Prize mini-symposium on 'Very long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the human diet - health and sustainability issues (2013), UK

Membership of major national/international committees:

Member of AAOCS Steering Committee; Member Board of Asian Plant Lipid Symposium; Member Organising Committee CE Sym on Synthetic Biology, Canberra 2016; Member of Scientific Committee for the International Symposium on Plant Lipids 2107 (2014)

Current Roles

  • Group Leader
    Plant Oil Engineering Group

  • Project and Cluster Leader
    Omega-3 canola

Academic Qualifications

  • 1980

    Master Of Science
    GB Pant University, India

  • 1985

    University of Adelaide