Parwinder Kaur

Dr. Parwinder Kaur is an award-winning scientist, a passionate leader, inspiring pioneer, and positive role model with 15+ years of experience initiating and delivering research outcomes in biotechnology. Her 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 the DNA Zoo global consortium with over 110 collaborating partners. She led the rapid public genome release of over 30 iconic Australian species including koala, quokka, Australian black swan, and many other critically endangered species, 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 has facilitated and contributed to the release of over 275 chromosome-length genome assemblies and production of over 34 trillion sequenced bases available via open access for research and conservation purposes through the DNA Zoo global consortium. In addition, Parwinder is internationally recognized for her studies tracking genomic variation to breed low methanogenic foragers in Australia, which provided a new paradigm for reducing the environmental footprint of ruminants. Parwinder is involved in many cutting-edge collaborative projects utilizing high-throughput sequencing to investigate biological mysteries of the evolution of life on earth. Through multiple landmark studies (e.g. Science, PNAS and more), her published research has provided new insights into the biological mysteries of the genome's 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 Australia's research capacity and the translation of research for the benefit of the scientific and wider community. She 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 recognized with several awards including the prestigious “Science and Innovation Award” by the Australian Academy of Sciences (2013), Microsoft's AI for Earth award (2019), and 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.”

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