Professor Christopher Franco's research career combines both the industrial and academic spheres. For 10 years he lead a successful drug discovery and development group in an International biopharmaceutical company and holds patents for 11 compound families. In 1993, he joined the School of Medicine, as a founding academic in the Biotechnology Program. Now Head, Medical Biotechnology, he manages the Biotechnology teaching and research programs in the School of Medicine. He is Australia's leading actinobacteriologist and continues to discover novel actinobacteria and new bioactives from algae, plant cell culture, mammalian cells and marine organisms. He pioneered the isolation and application of actinobacterial endopytes for sustainable crop production and leads GRDC's multi-insitutional Benificial Microbes Project.
He has extensive international experience, working in the UK, Germany, India, Indonesia, Singapore and China. As International Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences and the School of Medicine, he manages the Faculty's international collaborations. He collaborates with researchers in Asia, Europe and N. America.
B.Sc. (Hons.) Microbiology (Bombay), 1975
M.Sc. Applied Microbiology (Heriot-Watt, Edinburgh), 1976
Ph.D. Applied Microbiology (Strathclyde, Glasgow), 1980
Distiller's Company PhD Scholarship, UK, 1976 -1979
Prof Franco was awarded a UNESCO Biotechnology Action Committee Professorship in 2000.
He was awarded the prestigious Australian Eureka Prize 2004: GRDC Award for Environmental Sustainability of Grain Growing
for his research on applications of actinomycete endophytes.
Professor of Biotechnology and Head, Medical Biotechnology, College of Medicine & Public Health, Flinders University. Leads a research and teaching active discipline which has over 50 staff and research students, and supervises 6 PhD, 2 Masters, 1 Honours student and 6 research staff.
Course Coordinator, Postgraduate Biotechnology Programs
Chair of the Course Review Committees for Environmental Health (2011); Master of Nanotechnology (2014); and Master of Health and International Development (2015)
Member of the ISBA Actinomycete International Advisory Commitee
Head GRDC's Beneficial Microbes Program.
Details of Research projects:
Actinomycetes and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology
External Research Collaborations
Agricultural and Environmental Biotechnology:
Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship:
Takes students through the Discovery to Market for Biotechnology products and services.
People's choice award -3MT competition - AUG 2013
1991-93: Research Fellow, Dept. of Soil Science, Waite Institute, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, with Prof Malcolm Oades& Dr Max Tate. Research on remediation of soil water repellency. Teaching in Agricultural Biotechnology.
1982-91: Principal Research Scientist, Hoechst AG, Pharmaceutical Research, India & Germany. A senior research management position in a multinational pharmaceutical company in drug discovery and pharmaceutical product development.
1981: Postdoctoral Fellow, Microbiology Department University of Tübingen, Germany with Prof. Hans Zähner. Research in the Institute of Biology on developing new biological and chemical screening systems for the detection of novel microbial metabolites from microorganisms.
1979-81: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Microbial Chemistry Lab., University of Manchester, UK, with Prof John Bu-Lock. Optimization of fermenter design for methanogenesis.
FROM JULY 2017:
Head of Medical Biotechnology
UNTIL JUNE 2017:
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