Sakkie Pretorius

Professor Sakkie Pretorius is internationally recognized as a pioneer in molecular microbiology, biotechnology and translating research outcomes into innovative industry applications. He joined Macquarie University in 2013 and in 2014 his passion for academic excellence and research drove the creation of the University’s strategic research framework, World-leading research; World-changing impact. Originally from South Africa, Professor Pretorius studied agriculture at the University of the Free State from 1977 until 1986, when he was awarded a PhD for his work on physical, genetic and biochemical characteristics of yeast. He was appointed Professor of Microbiology at Stellenbosch University in 1993, where he later became the founding director of South Africa’s Institute for Wine Biotechnology. Passionate about authentic leadership, prior to taking up his role at Macquarie, Professor Pretorius held the role of Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President: Research and Innovation at the University of South Australia. Prior to this he was the Managing Director and CEO of the Australian Wine Research Institute. In 2014 Professor Pretorius was able to leverage his extensive expertise in wine yeast genetics to help bring the Yeast 2.0 project to Macquarie University. He conducted molecular yeast genetics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Gottingen, Germany and the Katholike Universiteit in Belgium. He has published on a range of subjects in more than 200 peer-reviewed research papers and in addition to being regularly invited to present at conferences, many as keynote speaker, Professor Pretorius has won more than $100 million in funding and filed six patents. He is ranked in the top 1 percent of researchers for Agricultural Sciences and Plant & Animal Science, and is ranked 328th in the world for citations per paper in Agricultural Sciences (Source: Essential Science Indicators: 28 January 2016). Almost 30 of his papers are in the top 10 percent of the most cited research in Biotechnology & Applied Microbiology, Microbiology, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Food & Science Technology, Genetics & Heredity and Mycology (Source: InCites 2016).

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