Dr Emma Mace

Senior Research Fellow

Centre for Crop Science
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
+61 7 4542 6729


Dr Emma Mace’s research interest is in developing and applying innovative genomics approaches to support sorghum improvement activities.

In Dr Mace’s current role leading sorghum genomics research components of research projects funded by the Grains Research Development Corporation (GRDC), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and the Global Crop Diversity Trust, her work focuses on generating significant innovative outcomes across a range of applications, from basic through to applied, specifically in using technologies to bridge the gene to phenotype gap, and to elucidate the genetic basis of quantitative and qualitative traits.

Research Interests

  • Sorghum
  • Genomics

Research Impacts

Australia produces at least 2 million tonnes of grain sorghum each year. Sorghum is one of the most diverse crop species with great potential for improvement in yield, drought resistance, insect resistance and grain quality. An understanding of the genetic control of key characteristics provides plant breeders with new opportunities to increase the rate of genetic gain and breed new improved genotypes. However, the complexity of gene function determination remains one of the major challenges facing plant biologists today, despite the development and application of new technologies, including high throughput genotyping and next-generation sequencing.

The UQ sorghum genomics team, together with researchers at DAF, are using an integrated set of technologies and germplasm collections to enhance gene function determination in sorghum.

Our capacity: marker-assisted selection, genomic selection and mapping


• high resolution genetic mapping for quantitative traits and identification of beneficial alleles

• development of customised SNP markers for target traits for Marker Assisted Selection

• development of whole-genome prediction models for applying genomic selection for target traits

The integrated application of new technologies and resources within the sorghum breeding program is being used in a range of research projects investigating a range of crop trait characteristics including drought tolerance, grain size, photosynthesis and grain yield.


  • PhD (Plant Genetics), University of Birmingham, UK
  • Master of Science (Plant Genetics), University of Birmingham, UK
  • Bachelor of Science (Biology), University of Nottingham, UK


View all Publications


View all Grants


View all Supervision


Book Chapter

  • Joshi, Dinesh, Singh, Vijaya, van Oosterom, Erik, Mace, Emma, Jordan, David and Hammer, Graeme (2016). Genetic manipulation of root system architecture to improve drought adaptation in sorghum. In Rakshit, Sujay and Wang, Yi-Hong (Ed.), The sorghum genome (pp. 207-226) Cham, Switzerland: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-47789-3_11

  • Mace, E. S., Mathur, P. N., Godwin, I. D., Hunter, D., Taylor, M. B., Singh, D., DeLacy, I. H. and Jackson, G. V. H. (2010). Development of a regional core collection (Oceania) for taro, Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott, based on molecular and phenotypic characterization. In V. Ramanatha Rao, P. J. Matthews, P. B. Eyzaguirre and D. Hunter (Ed.), The Global Diversity of Taro: Ethnobotany and Conservation (pp. 185-201) Rome, Italy: Bioversity International.

  • Paterson, Andrew H., Stalker, H. Thomas, Meagher, Maria, Burow, Mark D., Dwivedi, Sangam L., Crouch, Jonathan H. and Mace, Emma S. (2004). Genomics and genetic enhancement of peanut. In Richard F. Wilson, H. Thomas Stalker and E. Charles Brummer (Ed.), Legume Crop Genomics (pp. 97-109) Champaign, United States: AOCS Press.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Potgieter, Andries B., Watson, James, Eldridge, Mark, Laws, Kenneth, George-Jaeggli, Barbara, Hunt, Colleen, Borrell, Andrew, Mace, Emma, Chapman, Scott C., Jordan, David R. and Hammer, Graeme L. (2018). Determining crop growth dynamics in sorghum breeding trials through remote and proximal sensing technologies. In: 38th IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS), Valencia, Spain, (8244-8247). Jul 22-27, 2018. doi:10.1109/IGARSS.2018.8519296

  • Borrell, A. K., George-Jaeggli, B., van Oosterom, E. J., Mace, E. S., Jordan, D. R., Kassahun, B., Matiwos, T., Vadez, V., Talwar, H., Christopher, J. T., Chenu, K., Richard, C., Robinson, H., Hickey, L., Nagothu, S. U. and Hammer, G. L. (2017). Adapting cereals to drought: genetic and management solutions. In: Trop Ag 2017 Book of poster abstracts. TropAg2017, International Tropical Agriculture Conference, Brisbane, Australia, (123-123). 20-22 November 2017.

  • Jordan, D., Mace, E., Borrell, A., Cruickshank, A., Chapman, S., van Oosterom, E. and Hammer, G. (2013). An Integrated Approach to Sorghum Crop Improvement in Australia. In: 4th International Conference on Integrated Approaches to Improve Crop Production under Drought-Prone Environments (InterDrought-IV), Perth, WA, Australia, (). 2 - 6 September 2013.

  • Borrell, A., Hammer, G., Van Oosterom, E., George-Jaeggli, B., McLean, G., Hamlet, S., Hunt, C., Mace, E., Mullet, J., Klein, P., Weers, B. and Jordan, D. (2013). Improving cereal productivity with stay-green technology.. In: 2013 QAAFI Annual Research Meeting, Brisbane, Australia, (). 6-7 August 2013.

  • Singh, V., van Oosterom, E. J., Jordan, D. R., Mace, E., Colleen, H. and Hammer, G. L. (2013). Nodal root angle in Sorghum and its association with drought adaptation. In: 30th Interdisciplinary Plant Group Symposium, Columbia Missouri, United States, (). 29 - 31 May 2013.

  • Jordan, D., Mace, E. and Borrell, A. (2013). Sorghum crop improvement in Australia: integrating breeding, genomics, physiology, molecular biology, bioinformatics, and simulation modelling. In: Proceedings of the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Sorghum Research Institute, Liaoning Academy of Agricultural Science. 2013 Annual Meeting of the Sorghum Research Institute, Liaoning Academy of Agricultural Science, Shenyang, China, (). 28-30 January, 2013.

  • Franckowiak, J., Platz, G., Lawson, W., Killian, A, Fox, G., Kelly, A., Mace, E. and Jordan, D. (2011). Management of traits and genes involved in adaptation of barley to north-eastern Australia. In: 16th Australian Barley Technical Symposium, Adelaide, Australia, (). 18-21 September 2011.

  • Singh, Vijaya, van Oosterom, Erik, Jordan, David, Mace, Emma and Hammer, Graeme (2010). Genetic control of root system architecture in sorghum and its implications on water extraction. In: J. Wery, I, Shili-Touzi and A. Perrin, Proceedings of Agro2010: The XIth ESA Congress. Agro2010 XIth ESA Congress, Montpellier, France, (553-554). 29 August - 3 September, 2010.

  • Lawson, W., Mace, E., Collard, B., Fox, G., Kelly, A., Sutherland, M. and Franckowiak, J. (2010). Investigating the molecular genetics of malt and feed quality traits in barley. In: 6th Canadian Barley Technical Symposium, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, (). 25-28 July 2010.

  • Bovill, J. H., Lehmensiek, A., McNamara, B., Wildermuth, G. B., Platz, G., Mace, E. and Sutherland, M. W. (2007). The identification and validation of QTLs conferring resistance to spot blotch and common root rot in barley. In: Phytopathology. , , (S12-S13). .

  • Christopher, M, Mace, E, Jordan, D, Rodgers, D, McGowan, P, Delacy, I, Banks, P, Sheppard, J, Butler, D and Poulsen, D (2007). Applications of pedigree-based genome mapping in wheat and barley breeding programs. In: EUPHYTICA. 13th Australasian Plant Breeding Conference, Christchurch, NEW ZEALAND, (307-316). 18-21 Apr 2006. doi:10.1007/s10681-006-9199-z

  • Christopher, Mandy J., Mace, Emma, Jordan, David, Rodgers, David, McGowan, Paul, DeLacy, Ian H., Banks, Phillip M., Sheppard, John., Butler, David G. and Poulsen, David (2006). Applications of pedigree-based genome mapping in wheat and barley breeding programs. In: Advances in pasture plant breeding : Papers from the 13th Australasian Plant Breeding Conference. 13th Australasian Plant Breeding Conference, Christchurch, New Zealand, (). 18-21 April 2006.

  • Chapman, S. C., Doherty, A., Hammer, G. L., Jordan, D., Mace, E. and Van Oosterom, E. J. (2006). Predicting flowering time in sorghum using a simple gene network: functional physiology or fictional functionality?. In: 5th Australian Sorghum Conference. 5th Australian Sorghum Conference, Gold Coast, (1-18). 30 January - 2 February 2006.

  • Crouch, JH, Buhariwalla, HK, Blair, M, Mace, E, Jayasharee, B and Serraj, R (2004). Biotechnology-based contributions to enhancing legume productivity in resource-poor areas. In: Serraji, R, Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation. International Workshop on the Biological Nitrogen Fixation for Increased Crop Productivity, Montpellier France, (47-65). Jul 10-14, 2002.

  • Hadkins, ES, Lester, RN and Maxted, N (1995). The European Solanaceae Information Network. In: FernandezMunoz, R, Cuartero, J and GomezGuillamon, ML, First International Symposium On Solanacea for Fresh Market. 1st International Symposium on Solanacea for Fresh Market, Malaga Spain, (80-87). Mar 28-31, 1995. doi:10.17660/ActaHortic.1995.412.7

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision