Faculty of Science School of Botany

Professor Adrienne Clarke


New Botany Building Rm G03
Phone +61 3 8344 5568
Fax +61 3 9347 4612
Email aeclarke@unimelb.edu.au


Brief Curriculum Vitae

As at 31 January 2007

Name:                        Adrienne Elizabeth CLARKE

Date of Birth:            6 January 1938

Nationality:               Australian

Qualifications:         BSc (Hons) (Melbourne, 1958)

                                   PhD (Melbourne, 1963)

Distinctions & Awards:

2004                  President’s Medal, Australian and New Zealand Society for Cellular and Developmental Biology

2004                  Companion, The Order of Australia

2002                  Centenary Medal, Commonwealth of Australia

2001-2003         Ambassador for Biotechnology for Victoria

1999                  Laureate Professor, University of Melbourne

1997-2000         Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria

1998                  Foreign Member, American Academy of Arts & Sciences

1997-1998         President, International Society for Plant Molecular Biology

1993                  Foreign Associate, National Academy of Sciences, USA

1993                  Companion, The Institution of Engineers, Australia

1993                  Outstanding Achievers Award, National Australia Day Council

1992                  Mueller Medal, Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science

1991                  Officer, The Order of Australia

1991                  Fellow, Australian Academy of Science

1988                  Fellow, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering


Appointments at The University of Melbourne:

1999-                 Laureate Professor, School of Botany

1982-                 Professor (Personal Chair), School of Botany, University of Melbourne

1982-1999         Director, Plant Cell Biology Research Centre

1996-                 Fellow, Janet Clarke Hall


Board Positions:

2005-                 ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology (Science Advisory Board Member)

2005-                 Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) (Science Advisory Panel Member)

2004-                 Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology – ARCUE (Board Member)

2003-2006         Mental Health Research Institute (Board Member)

2003-                 VESKI (Chairman)

2002-2005         WMC Resources Limited (Board Member)

2002-2004         Australian Institute of Commercialisation Limited (Board Member)

2002-                 Fisher and Paykel Healthcare Limited (Board Member)

1999-2006         CRC for Bioproducts (Board Member and Chair, Executive Management Committee)

1998-2001         AMRAD Limited (Board Member)

1998-                 Hexima Limited (Board Member)

1996-2002         WMC Limited (Board Member)

1994-1999         AMP Limited (Board Member)

1994-2003         Committee for Melbourne (Board Member)

1994-                 Woolworths Limited (Board Member)

1993-1996         Alcoa of Australia Limited (Board Member)

1992-                 Tridan Limited (Board Member)

1991-1996        CSIRO Board (Chairman)


Service to Government in Australia since 1992:

2005-2006         Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities Reference Group

2003-                 National Research Infrastructure Taskforce (Member) (Commonwealth Department of Education Science and Training)

2002-                 Innovation Economy Advisory Board (State Government of Victoria)

2000-2004         Trade Policy Advisory Council

2000-2003         Victorian Council for Knowledge, Innovation, Science and             Engineering (Co-Chair)

1997-1999         Victorian Science, Engineering and Technology Taskforce (Co-Chair)

1996-2002         Prime Minister's Supermarket to Asia Council

1997                  Victorian Environment Protection Authority Board

1995                  Steering Committee, 1996 India Promotion, Australia Abroad Council, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

1995-1996         Prime Minister's Science and Engineering Council

1993                  Prime Minister's Science and Engineering Council working group on Future Directions for Science, Technology and Engineering

1992-1996         Victorian Business Round Table, Department of The Premier and Cabinet

1992-2002         Constitutional Centenary Foundation Council

1992-1996         Advisory Council on Aid Policy - Minister for Trade and Overseas Development

1992-1996         Agri-Food Council, Department of Industry, Trade and Regional Development


International Service to Plant Sciences:

2003                  Steering Committee for the Consultative Process on Agricultural Science and Technology. World Bank Project. (Independent Scientist-at-Large)

2002-                 Yale-Peking University Joint Venture in Agrobiotechnology, Scientific Advisory Committee (Board, Chairman)

2001-2004         American Society of Plant Biologists (Executive Committee Member)

1997-1998         President, International Society for Plant Molecular Biology

1988-                 International Society for Plant Molecular Biology (Board Member)

1992                  Lorne Genome Conference Inc. (Board Member)

1991-1996         Friedrich Meischer-Institut, Basel, Switzerland (Scientific Advisory Board)


Journal Editorial Boards:

1998-2002         Current Opinion in Plant Biology

1995-1999         Science (Board of Reviewing Editors)

1993-1996         Molecular Breeding

1991-1996         The Plant Cell

1991-1995         Trends in Cell Biology

1990-1999         The Plant Journal for Cell and Molecular Biology (Advisory Board)

1990-1994         Plant Molecular Biology

1987-2002         Sexual Plant Reproduction


Reviewer of Grant Proposals for:


Reviewer of Scientific Papers for:


Major Research Funding:

1999-2006         Cooperative Research Centre for Bioproducts with Professors A Bacic and D Boger at The University of Melbourne

1992-1999         Cooperative Research Centre for Industrial Plant Biopolymers with Professors A Bacic and D Boger at The Unviersity of Melbourne

1988-1999         Australian Research Council Special Research Centre for Plant Cell Biology with Professor A Bacic

1982-1987         Australian Research Council for Excellence with Professor R B Knox


Summary of Research Interests:


My work has been in three major fields:-

(1)       The molecular basis of self-incompatibility

(2)       The chemistry and biology of a class of proteoglycans, the arabinogalactan-proteins

(3)       Proteinase Inhibitors and their use in control of insect development


(1)    The Molecular Basis of Self-incompatibility

Self-incompatibility (SI) is the ability of many plants to recognise and reject their own pollen.  It is a genetically controlled process (by the multi-allelic S-gene) and has been known since Darwin's observations last century.  When we tackled this problem in the 1980s, there was a good basis of classical genetics and microscopy on which to build.  We were the first group to apply the techniques of molecular genetics to the most widely distributed type of self-incompatibility, that under gametophytic control.


We achieved several "firsts" in opening up this field:


Nonetheless, the information available from work on the female part of the S-gene, has given insights into the evolution of this very fundamental reproductive strategy of flowering plants.  These ideas have been published as a series of solicited reviews in Annual Review of Cell Biology, Cell, Science, The Plant Cell, Annual Review of Genetics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, and in many book chapters.  The discoveries were presented as invited Plenary lectures at the First, Second, Third and Fourth International Congress on Plant Molecular Biology, the XIVth and XVth International Botanical Congress, the 4th and 5th International Congress of Biochemistry, the 7th International Congress of Genetics, as well as many other conferences.


(2)    The chemistry and biology of a class of plant proteoglycans, the arabinogalactan-proteins


The second field of interest is that of the arabinogalactan-proteins (AGPs) which are proteoglycans found in tissue extracts of all flowering plants.  They are characterised by having a protein core accounting for less than 10% (often less than 1%) of the mass, substituted with polysaccharide chains composed of arabinose and galactose.  The protein core is rich in amino acids hydroxyproline/proline, alanine, serine, threonine and the polysaccharide substituents are essentially built on a (1®3)-b-galactopyranosyl backbone which can be branched through the 6-position to short chains of (1®6)-b-galactosyl residues, some of which terminate in L-Araf and some other minor saccharides.


My interest and that of the group at the Plant Cell Biology Research Centre, in this class of molecules has been in two phases; firstly, in the late 70's and 80's with a focus on establishing structures and distribution of AGPs in tissues. This led to the discovery that different AGPs can be markers of tissue identity.  The reviews written on AGPs in this period are still quoted in the current burgeoning literature on AGPs.  The second phase was marked by cloning of the cDNAs encoding the protein backbone of several AGPs.  This was a difficult task, given the problems of isolating a single AGP from a mixture of closely related molecules, isolating a protein which is a minor component of the AGP, and obtaining useful protein sequence for cloning given that Pro, Ala, Ser, Thr account for over 80% of the amino acids and all have multiple codons.  This advance has now opened up new approaches to the structure, molecular genetics and function of this large and complex family of proteoglycans. 


The major discoveries were:

AGPs are localised in the extracellular matrix and secretions of most families of flowering plants.


AGPs from different plant organs have different structures and can be markers of tissue and organ specificity and can be developmentally regulated.


Molecular cloning of genes encoding the protein core of several AGPs.


The international interest in this field also had two periods mirroring the contributions, firstly to chemistry and later to molecular biology, in the 1980s with invited lectures at the International Congress of Biochemistry (1982), 4th International Congress of Plant Pathology (1983), 23rd Annual Meeting of the American Chemical Society (1983), Cold Spring Harbor Symposium (1985), UCLA Symposium (1986), and more recently at the Keystone Symposia on the Extracellular Matrix of Plants (1993, 1996) and the Annual Meeting of the Protein Society (1996).


A related research interest is the polysaccharide callose, a (1®3)-b-glucan, which is widely distributed in the plant kingdom.  With Professor Bruce Stone, a book on this subject has been published which extensively reviews the chemistry and the biology of this and related polysaccharides.


(3) Proteinase Inhibitors and their use in control of insect development


This interest stemmed from the discovery that the outer cell layer of the female stigma expressed a gene that codes for a series of inhibitors of trypsin and chymotrypsin.  We hypothesized that this localized gene expression might be a form of protection of the female sexual organ from insect attack.  Professor Marilyn Anderson, who was the project leader at the time of the discovery has developed this into a whole new field of research in which I have a continuing interest. The gene has been transferred to cotton and is currently being tested in the field for its effectiveness as an insect control agent, through a company Hexima Limited.





4 Books (see below), 38 Book Chapters, 25 Reviews, 145 Scientific Papers


B1          CLARKE AE, WILSON I (eds) (1988) Carbohydrate-Protein Recognition.  Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Germany, 152 pp.

B2 *       STONE BA, CLARKE AE  (1992)  Chemistry and biology of (1-3)-ß-glucans.  La Trobe University Press, Bundoora, Australia, 808 pp.

B3          WILLIAMS EG, CLARKE AE, KNOX RB (eds) (1994)  Genetic control of self-incompatibility and reproductive development in flowering plants. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 540 pp.

B4          NOTHNAGEL EA, BACIC A, CLARKE AE (eds)  (2000) Cell and developmental biology of arabinogalactan-proteins, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishing Corp, NY, 301pp.

Revised 31 January 2007




top of page