Dr Ben Long

BSc (Hons), PhD, La Trobe University
Honorary Senior Lecturer
ANU College of Science

Areas of expertise

  • Plant Physiology 060705
  • Microbial Ecology 060504
  • Biochemistry And Cell Biology 0601
  • Analytical Biochemistry 060101
  • Enzymes 060107
  • Synthetic Biology 310113

Research interests

  • Directed evolution of inorganic membrane transporters
  • Synthetic biology approaches to novel encapsulated biochemistries



Ben now holds a position as Senior Lecturer in Molecular Plant Biology at the University of Newcastle.


Ben is a synthetic biologist with a PhD in Plant Biology from La Trobe University. His doctoral work focussed on environmental factors which lead to toxin production in cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), and he has significant postdoctoral experience in areas relating to secondary metabolite production in streptomycetes (University of Surrey), cyanobacterial CO2 concentrating mechanisms, and plant cell respiration (Australian Nationa University).  His current research focus 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 Ben 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.


Associated projects utilize directed evolution approaches to evolve novel inorganic carbon transporters for use in plant biology applications

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

β-carboxysome sub-complexes

Carboxysomal carbonic anhydrase structure and function

Exploration of cyanobacterial bicarbonate transporters in bacterial systems


Return to top

Updated:  19 May 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers