• The University of Western Australia (M089), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth

    Australia

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Personal profile

Biography

Dr Parwinder Kaur is an award-winning scientist, a passionate leader, inspiring pioneer and positive role model with 15+ years of initiating and delivering research outcomes in biotechnology. Major experience lies in leading cross-disciplinary applied biotechnology research for innovation, research translation – both as an academic and entrepreneur.

Parwinder is recognized as a leader in genome sequencing, translational genomics and capacity building in international agricultural and environmental biotechnology. She has made a pioneering contribution by integrating advanced discoveries in 3D-genomics with DNA Zoo to provide genomic empowerment to unique Australian biodiversity facilitating conservation efforts for threatened and endangered species. Among different noted contributions, she has been instrumental in driving the establishment of DNA Zoo Australia, supported by DNA Zoo global consortium with over 110 collaborating partners. She led rapid public genome release of over 30 iconic Australian species including Koala, Quokka, Australian Black Swan and many other critically endangered like Gilbert’s Potoroo and Leadbeater's possum. Genomic resources developed by her colleagues and collaborators at DNA Zoo are being used in several conservation programs globally. She has provided strategic leadership, as a Director, to DNA Zoo Australia, that have facilitated and contributed to the release of over 250 chromosome-length genome assemblies and production of a total of 32,221,912,617,596 sequenced bases available open access for research and conservation purposes through DNA Zoo global consortium.

In addition, Parwinder is internationally recognised for her studies tracking genomic variation to breed low methanogenic forages in Australia which provided new paradigm for reducing the environmental footprint of ruminants. Parwinder is involved in many cutting-edge collaborative projects utilising high throughput sequencing to investigate biological mysteries of evolution of life on earth. Through multiple landmark studies (e.g. Science, PNAS and more), her research excellence has yielded important new insights into biological mysteries of the genome spatial structure and architecture.

Parwinder, a highly prolific author, has published more than 50 papers and led multiple major initiatives across agricultural and environmental biotechnology to enhance Australian research capacity and translation for broad benefit to the scientific and wider community. She has founded ExPlanta Pty Ltd, a spin-out company merging tech with science to develop bio-engineering solutions, natural compounds for human and animal health products. Parwinder’s work is a demonstration of the innovation and all-round impact that can be achieved through research partnerships between universities, industry, community, NGOs and government.

Parwinder has been recognised by several awards including the prestigious “Science and Innovation Award” by the Australian Academy of Sciences (2013), Microsoft's AI for Earth award (2019), Superstars of STEM (2021) and featured as a Role Model for the Medical Science module on Techtrails by WiTWA (2020) and international ambassador for GirlsXTech.

Her guiding mantra is “Never be afraid to achieve, afraid to learn and explore new dimensions in life. Everything is simple if you break it down.”

Roles and responsibilities

Director, DNA Zoo Australia, The University of Western Australia (UWA)

Co-Founding Director & Chief Science Officer, ExPlanta Pty Ltd.

Superstar of STEM, Science & Technology Australia

Editorial positions:

Invited Ambassador & Board memberships:

  • International GirlsXTech Ambassador
  • Ex Planta Pty Ltd. Board member
  • Pawsey Supercomputing Centre Merit Allocation Grants Reviewer Board
  • Board member on National Steering Committee member for Genome Alliance in Australasia (GAiA)
  • Board member for Genetics Society of Australasia (GSA)
  • Featured Role Model 2020 for the Medical Science module on Techtrails by WiTWA
  • Research committee advisor at Institute of Data, UWA
  • Honorary Research Fellow at Australia-India Institute, UWA

Previous positions

2020–present

Founding Director & Chief Science Officer (CSO), ExPlanta Pty Ltd.    

2019–present     

Associate Professor, School of Agriculture and Environment, UWA

2017–2018          

Research Associate Professor, School of Agriculture & Environment, UWA (part-time)

2017–2018          

Lead Scientist, Genome Innovation Hub, Telethon Kids Institute, Perth (part-time)

2011–2017          

Research Associate, Centre for Plant Genetics and Breeding, UWA

2006                   

Senior Research Fellow, Department of Entomology, Punjab Agricultural University, India

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