Dr Ben Long

BSc (Hons), PhD, La Trobe University
College of Science
T: 6125 2322

Areas of expertise

  • Plant Physiology 060705
  • Microbial Ecology 060504
  • Biochemistry And Cell Biology 0601
  • Analytical Biochemistry 060101
  • Enzymes 060107
  • Food Engineering 090802


Ben graduated with a PhD in Plant Biology from La Trobe University working on toxic cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), before taking up a postdoctoral position at the University of Surrey to work on secondary metabolite production in streptomycetes, using bioreactor culture techniques to optimize antiobotic production. He later returned to Australia, and to cyanobacterial research at ANU, focusing on cyanobacterial carboxysome structure and function. During this time, working in close collaboration with Prof. Murray Badger and Prof. Dean Price, he determined underlying protein interactions which are essential for the formation of ß-carboxysomes, proteinaceous micro-compartments required for CO2 fixation in cyanobacteria. For a short period he also worked with Prof. Owen Atkin on the spatial heterogeneity of mitochondria in plant cells and the contribution of cell types to overall leaf respiration. He has since returned to cyanobacterial biochemistry and physiology and his current research involves synthetic biology approaches to building a CO2 concentrating mechanism in plant chloroplasts for the enhancement of photosynthesis as part of the Realizing Increased Photosynthesis Efficiency (RIPE) network funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, and UKaid.

Find me on ResearchGate, Google Scholar, and Publons


Researcher's projects

Ben's current work involves the analysis of carboxysomes, cyanobacterial microcompartments housing the CO2-fixing enzyme Rubisco. These microcompartments are like bacterial organelles, capable of isolating specific biochemical processes from other parts of the cell and enabling Rubisco to operate at its maximal rate under low CO2 and high O2 which prevail under normal atmospheric conditions. Our aims are to introduce carboxysomes to the chloroplasts of crop plants in an effort to improve photosynthesis and yield.

Current student projects

Directed evolution of cyanobacterial bicarbonate transporters

The interaction of CcmM and Rubisco within β-carboxysomes

Structure and function of the α-carboxysomal carbonic anhydrase CsoSCA

The requirementment for cyanobacterial Rubisco chaperonins in heterologous expression systems

Past student projects

Expression of bacterial microcompartments in E. coli

Beta-carboxysome sub-complexes


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Updated:  17 September 2021 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers