Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme


Science and Engineering Faculty

School of Biology and Environmental Science

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Associate Professor Mark Harrison
Principal 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.