Ian specialises in microbial biofertiliser development.

Ian started his PhD in 2021, with a project focused on identifying new potential biofertiliser strains to improve plant growth, elucidating the mechanisms of plant growth promotion in these strains, and validating these impacts on crops in glasshouse and field trials. In particular, the goal of the project is the development of an organic fertiliser enriched with a number of beneficial biofertiliser strains that can provide a broad spectrum of benefits to crops whilst remaining economically viable to produce and apply to fields. With rising concerns about the security of chemical fertiliser supplies, and the environmental issues that the overapplication of these fertilisers can cause, looking to biofertilisers as a way to deliver crop nutrients in a more sustainable way can help to safeguard food and crop supplies for decades to come.

‚ÄčIan graduated from The University of Queensland in 2020 with dual bachelor's degrees in Chemical Engineering (Hons) and Bioprocess Biotechnology (Hons Class I). This included a final year honours project in the Marcellin group looking at the characterisation of a soil-based bacterium that was seen to improve plant growth when inoculated into soil. The project involved optimisation of the fermentation process to maximise yields, an examination of some of the potential proteins and pathways involved in improving plant growth, and undertaking glasshouse trials to validate the use of this bacterium as a potential biofertiliser.