Professor Andrew Borrell

Professorial Research Fellow

Centre for Crop Science
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
+61 7 4542 6740



Dr Borrell obtained bachelor and master’s degrees in Agricultural Science at The University of Melbourne, focusing on the Green Revolution genes (Rht1 and Rht2) in wheat for his thesis. He then completed a PhD at The University of Queensland on improving the efficiencies of nitrogen and water use for rice in the semi-arid tropics. Andrew was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study the impact of rice research in Asia and the US on rice production in the Australian tropics. Much of his post-doctoral research has focused on improving drought adaptation in sorghum, rice, wheat and barley.

Dr Borrell is a crop physiologist and Centre Leader of the Queensland Government’s Hermitage Research Facility, a centre of excellence for crop improvement in water-limited environments. For more than a decade, Andrew has led an international project (Australia/US) aimed at discovering key genes underpinning the stay-green drought adaptation trait in cereals, using sorghum as a model crop. Prior to this, he conducted research to better understand the physiological basis of stay-green in sorghum. Dr Borrell began his career as a rice agronomist with the Queensland Government.

Dr Borrell co-leads projects in sub-Saharan Africa and India to develop drought-adapted sorghum germplasm. In addition to drought physiology in major cereals, Andrew has supervised a research program aimed at discovering frost adaptation in winter cereals at heading stage. He has also worked extensively in South-East Asia for the past 25 years developing sustainable cropping systems, including recent research on rice production and adaptation to climate change in Vietnam. Dr Borrell has served as Secretary-General of the Asian Crop Science Association.

Research Interests

  • Research Interests
    Producing more food with less water is one of the major challenges facing humanity. My research involves elucidating the physiological/molecular basis of drought adaptation in cereals, including the discovery of genes and gene networks that regulate adaptation, e.g. the stay-green drought adaptation trait in sorghum, wheat and barley; root architecture in sorghum, wheat and barley; early vigour in barley. Strong international collaborations to advance these areas of research include partners in USA (Texas A&M University), India (ICRISAT, IIMR), and Ethiopia (EIAR, Jimma University) with funding from GRDC, TAMU, GCP, ACIAR and BMGF. Other research interests include the efficiency with which resources (radiation, water and nitrogen) are utilized by crop plants, and developing sustainable cropping systems. This research has focused on developing novel water-saving strategies for climate-smart rice production in Australia and Asia. International partners for this research have included Indonesia (University of Mataram, Lombok), Vietnam (VAAS), and Norway (NIBIO), with funding from GRDC, ACIAR and NIBIO. Photosynthesis is another research interest, with particular focus on extending the duration of photosynthesis in C3 (wheat) and C4 (sorghum) plants. This research is funded by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Master of Agricultural Studies, University of Melbourne
  • Bachelor of Agricultural Science, University of Melbourne


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Book Chapter

  • Borrell, Andrew, van Oosterom, Erik, George-Jaeggli, Barbara, Rodriguez, Daniel, Eyre, Joe, Jordan, David J., Mace, Emma, Singh, Vijaya, Vadez, Vincent, Bell, Mike, Godwin, Ian, Cruickshank, Alan, Tao, Yongfu and Hammer, Graeme (2021). Sorghum. Crop physiology applications for genetic improvement and Agronomy. (pp. 196-221) edited by V. Sadras and D. Calderini. London, United Kingdom: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-819194-1.00005-0

  • Borrell, A., van Oosterom, E., George-Jaeggli, B., Vadez, V., Singh, V. and Hammer, G. (2020). Physiology of growth, development and yield. Sorghum in the 21st century: food – fodder – feed – fuel for a rapidly changing world. (pp. 127-155) Singapore, Singapore: Springer Singapore. doi: 10.1007/978-981-15-8249-3_6

  • Potgieter, Andries B., Watson, James, George-Jaeggli, Barbara, McLean, Gregory, Eldridge, Mark, Chapman, Scott C., Laws, Kenneth, Christopher, Jack, Chenu, Karine, Borrell, Andrew, Hammer, Graeme and Jordan, David R. (2019). The use of hyperspectral proximal sensing for phenotyping of plant breeding trials. Fundamentals, sensor systems, spectral libraries, and data mining for vegetation. (pp. 127-148) edited by Prasad S. Thenkabail, John G. Lyon and Alfredo Huete. Boca Raton FL, USA: CRC Press.

  • Nagothu, Udaya Sekhar, Bloem, Esther and Borrell, Andrew (2018). Agricultural development and sustainable intensification: technology and policy innovations in the face of climate change. Agricultural development and sustainable intensification: technology and policy innovations in the face of climate change. (pp. 1-22) edited by Udaya Sekhar Nagothu. London, United Kingdom: Routledge.

  • Krishna Reddy, K., Tesfai, Mehreteab, Borrell, Andrew, Nagothu, Udaya Sekhar, Suresh Reddy, K. and Gurava Reddy, K. (2016). Climate-smart rice-production systems: studying the potential of alternate wetting and drying irrigation. Climate change and agricultural development: improving resilience through climate smart agriculture, agroecology and conservation. (pp. 206-231) edited by Udaya Sekhar Nagothu. Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge.

  • Hammer, Graeme, Messina, Charlie, van Oosterom, Erik, Chapman, Scott, Singh, Vijaya, Borrell, Andrew, Jordan, David and Cooper, Mark (2016). Molecular breeding for complex adaptive traits: how integrating crop ecophysiology and modelling can enhance efficiency. Crop systems biology: narrowing the gaps between crop modelling and genetics. (pp. 147-162) edited by Xinyou Yin and Paul C. Struik. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-20562-5_7

  • Geethalakshmi, V., Mehreteab, Tesfai, Lakshmanan, A., Borrell, Andrew, Nagothu, Udaya Sekhar, Arasu, Meenakshi Sundara, Senthilraja, K., Manikandan, N. and Sumathi, S. (2016). System of rice intensification: climate-smart rice cultivation system to mitigate climate change impacts in India. Climate change and agricultural development: improving resilience through climate smart agriculture, agroecology and conservation. (pp. 232-258) edited by Udaya Sekhar Nagothu. Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge.

  • Borrell, Andrew, Jordan, David, Mullet, John, Henzell, Bob and Hammer, Graeme (2006). Drought adaptation in sorghum. Drought adaptation in cereals. (pp. 335-399) edited by Jean-Marcel Ribot. New York, U.S.A.: The Haworth Press.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision