Dr John Manners

Dr John Manners

Dr John Manners: Chief, CSIRO Plant Industry

Dr John Manners, Chief of CSIRO Plant Industry, has an interest in researching sub-tropical crops, including sugar, in northern Australia.

  • 29 April 2010 | Updated 16 August 2013

In this article

  1. Overview
  2. Publishing History


Page 1 of 2

Current activities

Dr Manners' research interests are in:

  • understanding the mechanisms of plant defence to fungal pathogens
  • improving disease resistance in grain crops.

In particular, Dr Manners’ research has focussed on the manipulation of regulatory genes in plant defence to provide enhanced resistance to necrotrophic fungal pathogens.

Dr Manners has a strong commitment to innovative research for improving our primary industries and overall quality of life.

Dr Manners has recently initiated research in studying crown rot and head blight diseases of wheat incited by pathogens.

This work has focussed on characterising wheat defences that are active against fungal pathogens and on identifying how Fusarium pathogens sense their host and induce mycotoxin production.

Dr Manners also:

  • participates in a research team that is applying genomics to sugarcane improvement
  • has an interest in science issues pertaining to the release of genetically modified plants.


Born in London, Dr Manners completed a PhD in a joint industry (ICI) and university-sponsored project on fungal phytopathogen biochemistry and the mode of action of fungicides in 1979.

He worked briefly with the agrochemical industry in the United Kingdom before coming to Australia to take up an academic research post in Brisbane.

He joined CSIRO in 1985 and now leads a team working on crop improvement in northern Australia, including sugarcane, wheat, soybean and macadamias.

Dr Manners has a strong commitment to innovative research to provide robust intellectual assets for Australia and to using these assets to improve our primary industries and overall quality of life.

Academic qualifications

Dr Manners has been awarded the foillowing degrees and diplomas:

  • Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours from the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom (UK), in 1973
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Science and Technology, from the University of London, UK, in 1979
  • Diploma of Imperial College (DIC), London, UK, in 1979.


Dr Manners is also:

  • Research Program Leader of the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Sugar Industry Innovation through Biotechnology
  • Honorary Professor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
  • Director of the International Society for Plant Molecular Biology.

Dr Manners has published more than 200 refereed research journal articles and is co-inventor on several patent applications on disease protection technologies. A list of scientific papers published by Dr Manners is available his Publishing History.

Read more about CSIRO Plant Industry.