Barbara Drigo

Future Industries Institute, University of South Australia

Adelaide, SA

Contact me for

  • Mentoring
  • Sitting on boards or committees
  • Providing an expert opinion
  • Outreach activities
  • Conference presenting
  • Opportunities to collaborate


Dr Barbara Drigo conducted her doctoral studies at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) in the Netherlands and was awarded her PhD in 2009 at the University of Leiden. Her PhD research used a number of interrelated methods in molecular microbial ecology to study the effects of climatic conditions on plant-soil-microbial interactions. While waiting for her PhD thesis defence (Feb 2018- Jan2019), she worked as a project manager for Plant Research International at the Wageningen University & Research Centre. Shortly after, she moved to the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE) at Western Sydney University. At the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE), I contributed to numerous research projects focussing on (i) the effect of climatic changes (drought and elevated atmospheric concentrations of CO2) on plant-soil-microbial interactions and (ii) rehabilitation of degraded lands using microbial bio-amendments. In August 2016, she became a lecturer/research fellow (equivalent to US Assistant Professor) with the Future Industries Institute (FII). Since joining UniSA’s Future Industries Institute (FII) in 2016, she has led the molecular microbial component of several research projects on food, soil and water safety and security in Australia and Pacific islands (total funding $3.931M). Her research was featured at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science, the White House Office of Science and Technology, the Royal Geographical Society in London, Proceeding of the National Academy of Science USA, ISME Journal and in Trends in Ecology and Evolution and many other media. Her research was awarded by the American Society of Microbiology (ASM) and the International Society of Microbial Ecology (ISME) and, she was invited as a visiting scientist in several institutions including University of Oxford (UK), Uppsala University (Sweden), Chinese Academy of Science (China), James Hutton Institute (UK) and Australian National University.  Since 2015, she is an eXXpedition ambassador. In this role, a key focus has been to build a global network of multidisciplinary women who can contribute to world-class scientific studies. The eXXpedition achievements have been highlighted by Time Magazine, the BBC, CNN, ABC, SKY News and many other media. In 2016 and 2017, the research she collaboratively conducted into the effect of human activities on ecosystem functioning was featured at the White House Office of Science and Technology (Barack H. Obama II administration), the Royal Geographical Society and other media. In 2016, she was invited to attend the Theo Murphy Australian Frontiers of Science Symposium on ‘The Microbiome: Exploring the role of microorganisms in ecosystem processes and health’.  In 2018, she established the Joint Academic Microbiology Seminars (JAMS) in Adelaide and the ‘500 Women Scientists’ in Australian and New Zealand. Both are multi-award-winning non-profit organisations devoted to supporting early and mid-career microbiologists and women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) respectively.