Dr Llewellyn graduated with a Bachelor of Science with Honours and a PhD in Biochemistry/Biophysics from the Australian National University, Canberra.
As a CSIRO Post-Doctoral Fellow in the 1980s under a scheme designed to develop novel biotechnology for delivery to Australia, Danny changed the trajectory of Australia’s cotton industry through his work at the Max-Planck Institute for Plant Breeding in Germany.
His work pioneered the development of Agrobacterium as a vehicle for delivering genes into plants, and upon his return to Australia, he created the first genetically modified plant in Australia and continued to deliver significant advances in biotechnology which contributed to the development of Australian GM cotton varieties released for domestic and international markets.
Working with CSIRO breeders, Dr Llewellyn developed the screening and quality assurance procedures which were imperative for breeding GM cultivars, and collaborated with biotech companies to introduce and evaluate GM traits for the Australian cotton industry. The information developed from Dr Llewellyn’s research in this area set the framework for the safe release of GM cotton and is now applied to all GM plant releases in Australia. These cultivars have made positive societal and environmental impacts, through significant reductions (over 90%) in the use of chemical insecticides on cotton.
His pioneering cotton research career – spanning 40 years at CSIRO – was integral to development of the CSIRO Cotton Breeding program which underpinned the success of the Australian Cotton Industry.
During his career, Dr Llewellyn has received several major awards including the CSIRO Chairman’s medal, ATSE Clunies Ross Award, Centenary Medal for services to biotechnology and the Australian Cotton Grower’s Research Assocation Researcher of the Year.