Professor James Dale AO
Scientist, researcher and humanitarian Professor James Dale has led significant research in agricultural biotechnology and is founder of Australia's first molecular farming company, Farmacule Bioindustries. His ground-breaking work includes modifying bananas to treat Vitamin A deficiency in developing countries and creating strains of disease-resistant bananas to protect Queensland's banana crops.
QLDState RecipientSenior Australian of the Year2019
Scientist, researcher and humanitarian Professor James Dale has led significant research programs in agricultural biotechnology. He was the inaugural Director of the Centre for Tropical Crops and Bio-commodities (CTCB) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), and founded Australia's first molecular farming company, Farmacule Bioindustries.
His ground-breaking work includes seeking a solution to Vitamin A deficiency, which leads to death of an estimated 670,000 children in developing countries, and blindness in another 400,000. James led a project to genetically modify bananas – the staple diet in many poor countries – to boost their pro-vitamin A levels. The release of these lifesaving bananas is planned for East Africa in four years.
James also placed disease-resistant genes into local Cavendish bananas, to protect them from a virus and fungi that destroy crops and cause significant economic damage in Queensland. He has also led developments including medical technology that enables rapid testing for genetic diseases, and molecular farming technology that aims to produce edible, plant-based vaccines.