Professor Henry is a graduate of the University of Queensland (BSc (Hons)), Macquarie University (MSc (Hons)) and La Trobe University (PhD). He was awarded a higher doctorate (DSc) by the University of Queensland for his work on analysis of variation in plants. Robert has built his academic career around his interests in Australian flora and plants of economic and social importance. During his career, Robert has worked with CSIRO on fruit and vegetable biochemistry and the Queensland Department of Primary Industries (QDPI) as a cereal chemist, where his work included the assessment of quality in barley for use in malting and brewing and research on the impact of pre-harvest sprouting on the end-use quality of wheat. He was appointed as Senior Principal Scientist at the Queensland Wheat Research Institute and gained a Fellowship from the Science and technology Agency of Japan to work on plant molecular biology in the National Institute of Agrobiological Resources. Robert was the first Research Program Leader (Plant Biotechnology) for the Queensland Agricultural Biotechnology Centre at the University of Queensland and was appointed to his current position of Professor of Plant Conservation Molecular Genetics at Southern Cross University in 1996 to establish the Centre for Plant Conservation Genetics. He initiated a large international program of research on grape genomics in 1997 and continues to make innovative contributions to plant science. A Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI), Robert received the Guthrie Award for contributions to cereal science in 2000.
Internationally recognised for his academic contribution, Professor Robert Henry is one of Australia’s leading plant scientists. He currently leads a team of about 50 staff members working across a range of research and commercial platforms including DNA technologies, genomics, plant improvement and bioinformatics. Professor Henry has been a contributor to Australian Research and Development Corporations as a member of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) board, the Market Advisory Group of the GRDC, the Northern Panel of the GRDC, the Sugar Research and Development Corporation and the Plant Improvement Working Party. Robert has been a consultant to the Horticulture Research and Development Corporation and many other private and public research, investment and management agencies - both Australian and international. As an active participant in the Australian Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) Program, Robert was a foundation member of the Program Management Committee of the CRC for Tropical Plant Pathology and a program leader in the CRC for Molecular Plant Breeding. He has been a researcher in the Molecular Plant Breeding CRC, the CRC for Sugar Industry Innovation, Deputy Director of the CRC for Sustainable Production Forestry and Research Director (Genome Technology) in the Grain Foods CRC Ltd. Robert established the Australian Plant DNA Bank in 2001 and is a founder and director of Puragrain Pty Ltd.
More recently Robert has established the BioEnergy Research Institute (Founder and Director) to develop plant biomass and conversion technologies for the transport biofuels industry. His extensive expertise and experience in plant genetics for food improvement is now being applied to energy trait identification and improvement to plant biomass for biofuels and bioproducts.
Robert is a senior editor of the Plant Biotechnology Journal. He has written and edited several books on plant molecular biology and product quality and published over 200 refereed scientific papers and more than 500 national and international conference papers. The ISI has identified him as one of the 100 most cited scientists in agriculture in the international scientific literature over the last 20 years.