Contact Us

The Australian Plant Phenomics Facility (APPF) is strategically located at three renowned plant research organisations in Australia, enabling us to benefit from a world class concentration of expertise in plant and soil science. You will find our facilities at the University of Adelaide in South Australia, and the Australian National University and CSIRO Agriculture and Food in Canberra.

Canberra (CSIRO)
Canberra (ANU)
Contact form

Your feedback is immensely valuable, ensuring we deliver the best customer service, technology and innovation. Our survey can be completed in 4 minutes.

Provide feedback – Complete our quick Customer Survey

APPF Central

Dr Susie Robinson
Dr Susie RobinsonAPPF Executive Director
P +61 8 8313 0829

With an eye for strategy, business opportunities and organisational culture, Susie loves keeping busy, and is the glue that sticks the three nodes of the APPF together. Spare time is strictly for her accordion playing!

Helli Meinecke
Helli MeineckeAPPF General Manager Operations
P +61 8 8313 0808

Fit, fast and fun, Helli keeps a close eye on business planning, performance monitoring and general operations. If she is not playing beach handball you are likely to find her at Pilates.

Jo Curkpatrick
Jo CurkpatrickAPPF Communication & Marketing Lead
P +61 8 8313 0159

Passionate devotee to the value of communication to organisations, Jo has spent 30 years honing her skills. At home Jo loves to garden, growing and sharing the produce.

APPF Central location
The Plant Accelerator® (Building WT40)
University of Adelaide
Waite Campus
Hartley Grove, Urrbrae
SA 5064 Australia
Phone:  + 61 8 8313 0159

Ruaraidh Mills
Ruaraidh MillsAPPF Project Support Officer
P +61 2 6125 2509

Lover of spreadsheets and Gantt charts, Ruaraidh assists projects throughout the APPF nodes, dividing his time between the Central and ANU teams. When he’s not wrangling deadlines, Ruaraidh can be found cracking abysmal puns and planning social events.


The Plant Accelerator® at the University of Adelaide

A central component of The Plant Accelerator® (TPA) is the first automated high-throughput phenotyping system in Australia, which remains unique in both scale and open-access policy, attracting researchers from Australia and overseas. The system boasts a range of imaging technologies (RGB, infrared, fluorescence and hyperspectral imaging) to facilitate innovative high-quality research into plant performance in different environments. Watch more here.

Researchers from the public and private sector benefit from the expertise in design, management, operation and analysis of large scale phenotyping experiments offered by TPA, which has resulted in many high-impact publications. The facility’s phenotyping capacity has expanded in recent years to incorporate DroughtSpotter platforms to support precision heat and drought screenings and field phenotyping services, offered in partnership with the Unmanned Research Aircraft Facility (URAF) at the University of Adelaide. Plans to offer aerial phenotyping via Airborne Research Australia (ARA) and ground-based phenotyping are being developed with input from potential users to align with grant applications.

TPA is located at the University of Adelaide’s renowned Waite Research Precinct, the largest agricultural research, education and commercialisation precinct in the Southern Hemisphere. Established in 1924, ‘The Waite’ is a co-located partnership of 15 complementary organisations and centres engaged in world-class research and development in plant science, agriculture, food, wine and natural resources.

We are focused on delivering high quality customer support, from initial consultation through to analysis of results. Our in-house research scientists will provide advice on experimental design and optimal use of technology, backed by a cross-disciplinary team including experts in agriculture, plant physiology, biotechnology, genetics, horticulture, image and data analysis, mechatronic engineering, computer science, software engineering, mathematics and statistics.

Our Adelaide facility contains four large greenhouses, referred to as Smarthouses, fitted with conveyor systems and imaging stations (LemnaTec Scanalyzer 3D) for the automated, high-throughput, non-destructive phenotyping of plants. This system consists of over 1km of conveyors with a total capacity of up to 2,400 plants in radio-tagged carts. These are delivered automatically to digital imaging and watering stations controlled by high capacity computing equipment:

  • Hyperspectral imaging (350-2500 nm) utilising Specim cameras integrated onto the high throughput platform by WIWAM.
  • Visible light images (RGB) allow the measurement of shoot area and inferred mass, plant height and width, canopy density, other morphometric data, leaf colour and senescence.
  • Steady-state fluorescence imaging with blue light large field excitation (<500 nm) allows quantification of plant senescence, chlorosis and necrosis.
  • Programmable watering to weight of plants to enable large scale experiments requiring controlled watering levels.

Research projects facilitated by this technology vary from large scale screening of early growth, salinity tolerance to water and nutrient use efficiency. Possible applications are diverse with respect to the measured traits and plant species studied.

In addition our purpose-built facility also houses:

  • A specialised heat and drought phenotyping capabilitythe first of its kind in Australia – will be available. This unique capability will consist of two new controlled environment rooms (CERs) fitted with programmable LED lighting and DroughtSpotters. The specially fitted CERs, each with a capacity of 98 plants, will enable experiments to investigate two different climate regimes in parallel, with up to seven variables including light quality, CO2, humidity, heat and drought stress. Construction is underway, with the new specialty rooms expected to be available to researchers in the second half of 2018.
  • The DroughtSpotter – A specialised greenhouse fitted with LED lighting and a high precision, fully automated gravimetric platform with programmable irrigation to assess transpiration dynamics of plants with a precision of up to 1g. The integrated irrigation units allow precise and reproducible water application for drought stress or related experiments that require an accurate control of water volume to 1ml.
  • 33 state-of-the-art greenhouses
  • 13 growth rooms, and
  • laboratories.

UAV based field phenotyping services are offered in partnership with the Unmanned Research Aircraft Facility (URAF) at the University of Adelaide. Hyperspectral imaging from the air is offered in collaboration with Airborne Research Australia (ARA). Hyperspectral imaging from a ground-based phenotyping platform will be available early in 2019.

Our Adelaide facility provides a suite of analytical tools to support phenotyping in either controlled environments or in the field including data capture through Zegami which allows users to filter, sort and chart data from experiments undertaken in our Smarthouses, with the unique feature of being able to group that data with the corresponding images. Our statisticians and data analytics specialists in Adelaide can provide advice on experimental design and support on data analysis.

The Plant Accelerator®
Building WT40
University of Adelaide
Waite Campus
Hartley Grove, Urrbrae
SA 5064 Australia
Phone: +61 8 8313 6432

Our Adelaide team

Dr Bettina Berger
Dr Bettina BergerScientific Director
P +61 8 8313 0825

Plant science is a lifelong passion for our green goddess, Bettina. She is your first port of call for initial consultation and advice on experimental design.

Dr Darren Plett
Dr Darren PlettTechnology & Development Lead
P +61 8 8313 1134
Kerry Bormann
Kerry BormannBusiness Manager
P +61 8 8313 6432

A farmer’s daughter and one-time agronomist, making a difference for farmers is a matter close to Kerry’s heart. She keeps us running in ship-shape order, taking care of operations, finance and reporting.

Evi Guidolin
Evi GuidolinSenior Administrative Officer
P +61 8 8313 1137

Firmly at the helm of all things ‘organisation’, our team would be lost without Evi. She manages our client bookings and all things administration.

Dr Chris Brien
Dr Chris BrienSenior Biostatistician
P +61 8 8313 0824

So smart with all things numbers it makes our heads hurt, Chris helps us mere mortals understand what great experimental design and analysis is, and how to get the best out of it.

Dr Nathaniel Jewell
Dr Nathaniel JewellBiostatistician
P +61 8 8313 0826

With a head for numbers and an encyclopedic memory for facts, Nathaniel will help you obtain the data and graphs you need to interpret your research results.

Dr Huajian Liu
Dr Huajian LiuPostdoctoral Fellow, Hyperspectral Imaging
P +61 8 8313 1102

The brilliance of light in all it’s wonder is what captivates Huajian. For us, his keen focus is on developing novel phenotyping approaches that use hyperspectral images and 3D vision to evaluate vigour and nutrients in plants.

George Sainsbury
George SainsburyData Architect & Software Engineer
P +61 8 8313 0772

Multi-screen, multi-gaming, multi-tech, up-all-nighter, George takes care of our data management, from storage to tools for database queries and sharing, and everything in between.

Dr Guntur Tanjung
Dr Guntur TanjungMechatronic Engineer
P +61 8 8313 1099

You’ll need some serious imaging equipment to capture this tennis ace. Guntur keeps a watchful eye on our phenotyping systems and analyses the images collected.

Paul Jenkins
Paul JenkinsEquipment Maintenance Manager
P +61 8 8313 0822
M +61 (0)449 904 536

The oil that keeps the cogs turning, Paul keeps us running like an F1 race car. From lighting to mechanical equipment and the very building we work in, Paul makes sure our plants (and the team) have the perfect environment they need.

Robin Hosking
Robin HoskingIPM Manager
Forget about green thumbs, Robin is widely rumoured to be green from the waist down! With a fondness for ‘good bugs’, Robin oversees critters (good and bad) in the greenhouses – otherwise known as integrated pest management – to keep our plants perky.
Lidia Mischis
Lidia MischisTechnical and Horticulture Lead
P +61 8 8313 0827
M +61 (0)432 297 838

Sweet as a rose, there is nothing plant whisperer Lidia can’t grow. She keeps a watchful eye over the plants in our greenhouses and provides support and wisdom to the humans growing them.

Nicky Bond
Nicky BondSenior Technical Officer
P +61 8 8313 0771
M +61 (0)421 803 735

As sharp on the court (as Guntur well knows) as she is with a needle, Nicky will be there to provide support in the greenhouses throughout your experiment.

Fiona Norrish
Fiona NorrishTechnical Assistant
P +61 8 8313 1097

Our princess of bling, Fiona brings her own form of sunshine to the greenhouses as she checks on plants and provides a helping hand to the experiments.

Florian Tanner
Florian TannerPhD Student
Florian is working to help plant breeders find disease-resistant chickpea varieties. He’s skilled in using computer vision and hyperspectral data analysis, and with more healthy chickpeas, he will always be able to consume outrageous amounts of hummus and falafel.

Canberra (CSIRO)

The High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre (HRPPC) at CSIRO

The HRPPC combines expertise in plant science and engineering to develop and build (i) cutting-edge phenotyping technologies to support medium throughput phenotyping of model and potted plants in controlled environments, and (ii) novel plant phenotyping solutions to support research experiments at large scale and high throughput in the field. Field applications include ground and aerial platforms with a capacity of over 250,000 plots p.a. and the first high-resolution plant phenotyping capability for glasshouse/field environments – the Cropatron.

The strong mechatronics and software engineering capability at the HRPPC is driving R&D of cutting edge phenomics technologies that benefit a range of new industries, e.g. pharmaceutics. The centre focuses on supporting and refining existing platforms, for example integrating advanced sensor technologies to measure new traits in new crops and to keep pace with the demand for deeper insight into plant behaviour and function, an innovation to increase capabilities. Our engineers have developed phenoSMART®, a science gateway that provides a national data service for on-demand phenotyping analysis.

Make an enquiry
Report a technical issue on a current project

We have personnel covering a broad range of expertise from agricultural engineering, to software engineers, mechatronics engineering to logistics and experimental design.

A range of services are available in the controlled environment space, from plant establishment in growth cabinets right through to high resolution imaging of material in our PlantScan, CabScan and TrayScan systems.

We offer a range of high throughput field phenotyping services including, airborne thermal and RGB imaging from our HeliPod system, ground based Phenomobile® Lite LiDAR assessment as well as ArduCrop canopy temperature measurements.

Our software engineering team at offer tailored data analytics solutions for phenotyping experiments. These are delivered through the cloud based phenoSMART® platform as well as data and metadata management through PODD.

High Resolution Plant
Phenomics Centre
CSIRO Agriculture and Food
Clunies Ross Street, Canberra
ACT 2601 Australia
Phone:  + 61 2 6246 4339
Fax:  + 61 2 6246 4975

Our Canberra (CSIRO) team

Dr Robert Coe
Dr Robert CoeActing Director
P +61 2 6218 3471

A hot-footing globetrotter and avid horticulturalist, Rob supports the scientific application of phenomic research at our facility.

Marni Tebbutt
Marni TebbuttBusiness Operations Coordinator
P +61 2 6246 4339

Tennis and horse riding, singing and wine sipping… somehow Marni tears herself away from this fabulous lifestyle to support business development, operations and reporting for our office.

Jamie Scarrow
Jamie ScarrowLead, Field
P +61 2 6246 4647

Handy with his hands, if it needs building or fixing, Jamie is your man. When not tooled up, Jamie is busy overseeing logistics and technical services for our field phenotyping projects.

Wayne Thompson
Wayne ThompsonLead, Controlled Environments
P +61 2 6218 3699

Quick with a big smile, global traveller and keen cyclist, Wayne oversees logistics and supports users of our controlled environment services.

Dr Geoff Bull
Dr Geoff BullSenior Image Analyst & Software Engineer
P +61 2 6218 3502

When Geoff can tear himself away from the crisp white ski slopes of a mountain he works on software development for computer vision related tasks.

Robert Fulton
Robert FultonSenior Web Developer
P +61 2 6218 3505

Robert is happiest camping and rambling about the countryside. If he’s not roaming the great outdoors, he’ll be camped out in the office taking care of our system interfaces and automating data pipelines.

Sakda Eamkulworapong
Sakda EamkulworapongSoftware Engineer
P +61 2 6218 3523

Cars have more than just good looks in Sakda’s opinion; he loves their ‘brains’. Sakda has a fascination for ECU remapping, PCB design and micro-controller programming. Smarts that come in handy when implementing and troubleshooting software for us.

Michael Salim
Michael SalimMechatronics Engineer
P +61 2 6246 5188

Our resident ‘zen-gineer’, Michael ensures the smooth running of our field equipment and loves designing and constructing innovative hardware prototypes of the future.

Michael Pritchard
Michael PritchardMechatronics Engineer
P +61 2 6218 3647

For Michael, there’s nothing like a high intensity futsal match to wrap a busy day masterminding low cost enabling technologies, delving into sensor networks and the seeking solutions in IoT research.

Jordie Ellis
Jordie EllisResearch Project Officer
M +61 (0)458 219 851
P +61 02 6218 3681

Jordie’s love of science evolves around how plants behave and interact with the world at a chemical level. When not supporting research projects at the APPF, Jordie relishes the magical chemistry that is fried chicken, chips and hot sauce, enjoyed with a good binge-TV session.

Canberra (ANU)

The Plant Phenomics Group at ANU

Our node at the Australian National University (ANU), the Plant Phenomics Group, has unique expertise in phenomics, bioinformatics, hardware and software development and data visualisation. This provides essential research support to APPF customers, linking phenomics data to underlying genomic variation. The node offers modern PC2 facilities and provides the only quarantine certified plant growth facilities in the ACT region. With a strong history of supporting ground-breaking plant research, including the development of open source, high throughput phenomics infrastructure and visualisation tools, the node creates open data sets for plant science researchers nationally and internationally.

Strategically placed in the Plant Science Division at the ANU, the node benefits directly from the diverse expertise locally available as well as supporting research and technology development at the Research School of Biology. This includes two Centres of Excellence (CoE): the ARC CoE in Plant Energy Biology (PEB) and the ARC CoE for Translational Photosynthesis (TP). Additional collaborations are in place with the ANU-CSIRO Centre for Biodiversity Analysis, the CoE for Robotic Vision and the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI), which offers high-performance supercomputing, cloud and data repository.

Multidisciplinary in-house experts at our ANU node can assist with experimental planning and design, bioinformatics, image and data analysis, and genomics related to phenomics (including GWAS and GBS). We specialise in developing open source, low cost phenotyping solutions, data management, machine learning applications for phenotyping, next generation data visualisation and virtual reality. Collaborative opportunities are also possible with our location partners ARC Centres of Excellence, Plant Energy Biology and Translational Photosynthesis.

Our ANU node consists of a modern greenhouse facility, growth cabinets and, coming in 2018, a modular growth environment facility. The greenhouse facility includes precision environmental control and top down RGB real time imaging of plant growth to analyse genetic variation in water use efficiency in plant growth. It also incorporates a glasshouse Balance Array (real time pot weighing system). Conviron plant growth cabinets include the Spectral Pheno Climatron (SPC) chambers equipped with 7 Heliospectra LEDs and 10 bands LED lights, top down NIR, DSLR RGB, time lapse imaging and simulated climate control. The modular growth environment facility consists of 4 cutting edge modular growth environments for precision phenotyping with dynamic light, temperature, moisture and nutrients levels, simulating current and future conditions.

In the field, our ANU node can conduct remote sensing experiments that measure growth and phenology (seasonal development) of most leaves in a canopy with virtual/augmented reality to visualise across scale, space, time and colors, leading to predictive models for selecting and breeding.

Our ANU facility offers a number of phenomics analytics services including:

  1. An end to end interface for experiment and chamber scheduling, project management, monitoring and data visualisation.
  2. Segmentation pipeline with:
    • automated QA/QC steps for ensuring clean datasets and error notification
    • image calibration and color correction and automated segmentation
    • automated output of phenotypes at the plant level, eg rosette area, compactness, roundness, eccentricity, RGB metrics for small flat plants like Arabidopsis, Tobacco, etc.
  3. TraitCapture genomics analysis pipeline (all data can be readily accessed via the TraitCapture portal):
    • trait heritability over time and environment
    • multi-trait co-heritability over time and environment
    • quantitative trait locus mapping (GWAS)

Plant Phenomics Group
Australian National University
Bldg 134, RSBS, Acton
ACT 0200 Australia
Phone:  + 61 2 6125 3741

Our Canberra (ANU) team

Dr Tim Brown
Dr Tim BrownDirector
P +61 2 6125 1707

Someone who can certainly ‘see the forest for the trees’ is Tim. His love of forests and the cutting edge technology that allows us to ‘virtually’ see them from the sky down to the molecule, knows no bounds. When not attached to a VR headset, Tim focuses on our technological development and research collaborations.

Dr Richard Poiré
Dr Richard PoiréSenior Technical Officer
P +61 2 6125 3652

Our part-time model (try to spot Richard in photos on our website), long distance runner and makerspace aficionado, Richard is a plant physiologist and phenomics expert for our team.

Gareth Dunstone
Gareth DunstoneComputational Systems Developer
P +61 2 6125 2644

Rumoured to live with a large grey and white lion, when not gaming the night away, Gareth oversees our systems development, coding and programming.

Ruaraidh Mills
Ruaraidh MillsProject Officer
P +61 2 6125 2509

Lover of spreadsheets and Gantt charts, Ruaraidh assists projects throughout the APPF nodes, dividing his time between the Central and ANU teams. When he’s not wrangling deadlines, Ruaraidh can be found cracking abysmal puns and planning social events.

Ellen Levingston
Ellen LevingstonData Manager
P +61 2 6125 2644

When not rocking out with her synths or curating her culinary garden collection, Ellen is knee deep in data, from maintaining sensors to database design and exploration of new cutting-edge data technology.

Penny Burrell
Penny BurrellTechnical Officer
P +61 2 6125 8319

Penny manages our growth cabinet facility, supporting users with advice, planning and compliance. When she isn’t nurturing plants in our facility you’ll find her enjoying the great outdoors.

Ming-Dao Chia
Ming-Dao ChiaCasual Technical Assistant
P +61 2 6125 3068

Ming supports our team providing technical support, 3D modelling and scanning, VR, AR and general statistical support using R.

Imelda Forteza
Imelda FortezaCasual Technical Officer
P +61 2 6125 3652

Imelda supports our team by taking care of the upkeep and maintenance of our controlled environment growth chambers. She is a microbiologist by trade.

Not sure where to start?  Let’s talk…

Contact us




    I have read and agree to the terms of the Privacy Statement of the University of Adelaide, host institution of the APPF.

    We like to avoid robots. Please answer this simple maths question: