Liz is one of Australia’s preeminent female scientists. Inspired by the life of Marie Curie she completed a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Sydney and focused on DNA replication in bacteria during her PhD… and went on to spend her post-doctoral years at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York.

In 1972, she was appointed as a Research Scientist at the CSIRO Division of Plant Industry in Canberra, rose to Chief Research Scientist in 1991 and subsequently became a CSIRO Fellow in 2001.

She was a member of the Cotton Genome writing group that in 2012 resulted in the first high quality assembled genome of any cotton species, serving as the reference genome for all subsequent cotton genome sequencing. In 2015 she was involved in the first assembled sequence of a commercial tetraploid cotton genome using high throughput sequencing, a seminal moment in molecular cotton research that enable the genome level molecular studies and gene identification to become commonplace in upland cotton.

As program Leader of Genomics and Plant Development at CSIRO Plant Industry, Liz oversaw the molecular characterisation of cotton fibre initiation research that led to the identification of several transcription factors that regulate the production of fibres on the cotton seed epidermis – genes that have been shown to be major controllers of cotton fibre and linter formation.

Liz has published approximately 300 papers in international journals and was also leader of projects under a CSIRO/Bayer Research Alliance that resulted in wide ranging, basic molecular cotton research including waterlogging tolerance.