Dr Thomas Vanhercke

Research Scientist

Contact details:


Thomas is engineering vegetative plant parts (leaf, stem, root...) to accumulate high levels of valuable plant oils that are normally stored only in certain seed(-associated) tissues. He has created tobacco model plants that can store more than a third of their leaf dry weight as oil via combinatorial metabolic engineering. These 'fat plants' offer the potential of delivering game-changing oil yields that potentially outperform current oil crops several-fold. CSIRO's 'Leaf Oil' technology Thomas helped developing is now being successfully deployed in a variety of crops. Thomas is also actively exploring the possibility of extending synthetic biology principles into the plant kingdom to lift metabolic engineering and forward/reverse genetics to a high throughput level.

Thomas obtained his MSc and PhD degrees at the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering (Ghent University, Belgium). Following his PhD in collaboration with Bayer BioScience (Zwijnaarde, Belgium), Thomas worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the plant oil engineering group of Dr. Surinder Singh at CSIRO Plant Industry.


We have publications by Dr Thomas Vanhercke