Professor Rachel Burton
Professor Rachel BurtonHead, Department of Plant Science
University of Adelaide
Professor Rachel Burton moved from the UK to the Waite Campus, University of Adelaide in 1995 for what she thought was a four year postdoctoral position. In 2020, 25 years later she is still there and when asked replies “why leave one of the most beautiful campuses in the world?”
Rachel is a plant scientist and molecular biologist, passionate about plant cell walls and all the useful things they can do for us. She is interested in the ways that the cell wall components are made and put together but even more intrigued by how they are disassembled or fermented in the human gut, because they are the crucial dietary fibre part of our diets.
Rachel is also interested in renewable biofuels and believes that making use of all these feedstocks, many of them perceived as waste, will be fundamentally important to meeting our future energy needs.
In recent years Rachel has directed her research efforts towards the development of emerging crops such as Plantago (psyllium), agave and hemp. She heads a group in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology where the culture is one of inclusion, teamwork and fun, and where achievements are celebrated as often as possible with cake!
Rachel was one of the 30 inaugural Superstars of STEM, a program founded by Science and Technology Australia to promote the participation and engagement of young people, particularly women, in STEM fields, and has since joined the STA Board.
She loves participating in outreach and science communication events and has starred in a Pint of Science with giant DNA and an interpretive dance, and in “The Poet’s Guide to Science” at the Adelaide Fringe in 2019. She can be found Tweeting @porridgepusher.
MP: Rebekah Sharkie