Roger Hellens



Roger is a life scientist with over 30 years’ experience leading and conducting industry-oriented transdisciplinary research. In 2014, Roger joined Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and worked as a researcher in the Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities, holding several leadership positions as Professor of Agricultural Biotechnology and Deputy Executive Director of the Institute for Future Environments (IFE).

From 2000 to 2014, Roger worked for The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research (formerly HortResearch). He held several senior roles, including leading the institute’s genomics research programme and kiwifruit breeding programme.

Roger’s research interests at Plant & Food included developing red-fleshed apple and kiwifruit varieties and exploiting next-generation sequencing (NGS) techniques to help accelerate the development of new cultivars. He also maintained a keen interest in post-transcriptional gene regulation which has become relevant in understanding the regulation of vitamin C.

Before moving to New Zealand, Roger worked at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, UK, where he developed the first genetic map of pea.  This fed into his PhD determining the molecular basis of Mendel’s white flower phenotype. He also developed the pGreen plant transformation vector and studied gene silencing (RNAi) in petunia.

Roger received a PhD in Molecular Genetics from the University of East Anglia in 1995 and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Liverpool in 1989.