Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme

Faculty/Lead unit

Science and Engineering Faculty

School of Biology and Environmental Science

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Mark Harrison
Senior Research Fellow
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Professor Robert Speight
Professor (Microbial Biotechnology)
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Dr James Strong
Research Fellow
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


Yarrowia lipolytica is a yeast that is capable of using a host of lipids as a carbon source. The yeast is used for equine and pet food supplements and holds great promise a probiotic and nutritional supplement.

We have six unique Australian strains that need to be characterised and compared using various omics platforms. Additionally, growth in various lipid-rich aqueous wastewaters will be compared. Wild type strains will also be genetically altered to develop strains with improved growth and substrate utilisation efficiencies.

While this is of a fundamental nature, this research aims to develop a fermentation process that generates Yarrowia biomass on a commercial scale.

Research activities

As part of this research project, you'll be involved in:

  • high-throughput assays
  • proteomics
  • lipidomics
  • fatty acid compositional analyses and pathway mapping
  • submerged fermentation in shake flasks (250ml) and bioreactors (500ml to 1000 litres)
  • adaptive laboratory evolution using radiation, chemical and advanced plasma technologies.


We aim to generate fundamental knowledge about a yeast that has immense potential as an industrial microbe. This knowledge will be used on lipid substrates to generate high-value microbial biomass.

Skills and experience

To be considered for this research project, you should have demonstrable skills and/or experience with:

  • working in a laboratory
  • biochemistry
  • proteomics
  • GC-MS.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor for more information.