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    Professor Tony O'Donnell

Professor Tony O’Donnell BSc PhD DSc FRSB Pro Vice-Chancellor, Executive Dean Science, Faculty of Science, The University of Western Australia (UWA)

Visiting Professor and Distinguished International Researcher Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Changsha, PRC Professor and Honorary Doctor in Science, The Naresuan University, Thailand

Career History

Tony O’Donnell is Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of Science at the University of Western Australia. He was born and educated in the UK, graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1976 and completed his PhD at the University of Bristol in 1980. He holds visiting positions at Kasetsart and Naresuan Universities in Thailand and with the Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Changsha, PRC. Before moving to Western Australia in August 2008, he worked at the University of Newcastle in the Northeast of England where he held senior research and administrative positions. Whilst at Newcastle he established and was the first Director of the multidisciplinary Institute for Research in Environment and Sustainability (IRES). In 2012 he was awarded a Visiting Professorship for Distinguished International Researchers by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Key research

• Soils are complex, multi-organism systems that are becoming amenable to analysis through the expansion of post-genomic technologies into environmental genomics. In the last ten years, the importance of the microbiome in maintaining a sustainable biosphere has been widely recognized. This has resulted in a surge of activity in environmental microbiology, and the development of novel technologies to better interrogate the role of microorganisms in soil.

• Professor O’Donnell has used these techniques to investigate gene: environment interactions in a range of systems, including agricultural soils and contaminated land. Central to Professor O'Donnell's research is the need to understand the functional consequences of the interactions between the soil microbiome and management of the abiotic soil environment.

Previous positions

Professor O’Donnell has served on the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council grants board for Plant and Microbial Sciences and Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Panel. He has also sat on the Natural Environment Research Council research advisory panel for the Centres for Ecology and Hydrology (Biodiversity panel). Internationally, he has chaired the grants board of the Finnish Academy of Sciences and holds adjunct Professorships in Thailand and Brazil. He maintains strong research interests in SE Asia and has led training workshops and UK trade missions in Thailand, Malaysia and Korea.