Professor Mark Cooper

Chair, Crop Improvement

Centre for Crop Science
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
+61 7 334 62778


Professor Mark Cooper is Chair of Prediction Based Crop Improvement at The University of Queensland, and a global leader in quantitative genetics and plant breeding. His work involves integrating genomic prediction and crop growth models into an ‘end to end’ framework for crop improvement.

Professor Cooper has pioneered the development of novel genetic modelling methodologies, based on gene networks, to study important properties of quantitative traits in biology, and demonstrated how this new genetic modelling framework can be successfully used in plant breeding to improve prediction of important traits under the influences of selection. Professor Cooper’s work at DuPont Pioneer on drought adaptation in one of the largest maize breeding programs in the world led to the AQUAmax hybrids that presently cover millions of hectares worldwide.

A quantitative geneticist by training, Professor Cooper spent 20 years working with industry in the United States and as CEO of his own consultancy firm Zenrun42, before returning to UQ to build upon the critical mass of predictive agricultural expertise in QAAFI and the wider university.


  • Graduate Certificate in Education, The University of Queensland
  • Doctor of Philosophy of Agriculture, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Agricultural Science, The University of Queensland


  • Linares, Julien F., Coles, Nathan D., Mo, Hua, Habben, Jeffrey E., Humbert, Sabrina, Messina, Carlos, Tang, Tom, Cooper, Mark, Gho, Carla, Carrasco, Ricardo, Carter, Javier, Flounders, Jillian Wicher and Brummer, E. Charles (2024). Methods for evaluating effects of transgenes for quantitative traits. Crop Science, 64 (1), 141-148. doi: 10.1002/csc2.21141

  • Wu, Alex, Truong, Sandra Huynh, McCormick, Ryan, van Oosterom, Erik J., Messina, Carlos D., Cooper, Mark and Hammer, Graeme L. (2024). Contrasting leaf‐scale photosynthetic low‐light response and its temperature dependency are key to differences in crop‐scale radiation use efficiency. New Phytologist, 241 (6), 2435-2447. doi: 10.1111/nph.19537

  • Cooper, Mark, Hickey, Lee, Jiang, Xianxian, La Fata, Giorgio, Lomas, Harold, Miller, Tim, O’Brien, Susan, Patel, Parth and Tomarchio, Samuel (2024). Transforming food production with AI. Food AI: A game changer for Australia’s food and beverage sector. (pp. 5-13) edited by Janet R. McColl-Kennedy and Damian Hine. Brisbane, QLD, Australia: The University of Queensland, Australia's Food and Beverage Accelerator (FaBA).

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