Dr Barbara George-Jaeggli

Senior Research Fellow

Centre for Crop Science
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
+61 7 4542 6724


Dr Barbara George-Jaeggli is a Senior Research Fellow at the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture & Food Innovation. She has a Master of Science degree in Biology from ETH in Zürich and a PhD in Crop Physiology from UQ. The main objective of her research is to improve the profitability and sustainability of dry-land agriculture by increasing cereal crop productivity per unit input. Dr George-Jaeggli is part of a multi-disciplinary sorghum crop improvement group based at the Hermitage Research Facility in Warwick who have assembled extensive genotyping and phenotyping resources. Sorghum is valued for its high productivity under hot and dry conditions and is an important summer grain in the broad-acre cropping regions of north-eastern Australia and a staple food crop for millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa. Dr George-Jaeggli’s team uses sorghum as a model to study the genetics and physiology of complex cereal traits, such as drought adaptation, canopy radiation use efficiency, photosynthetic capacity and yield. They have developed tools to measure these traits across thousands of field-grown breeders’ plots using proximal sensing platforms. Barbara George-Jaeggli is currently also the Centre Leader of Hermitage Research Facility.

Research Interests

  • Improving photosynthetic capacity to push through the yield ceiling
    Cereal yields have previously mainly been improved through an increase in harvest index (the ratio of grain to total biomass of a plant). This relationship is approaching a biological limit and further improvements in yield will have to come from increasing the overall growth efficiency of crops, e.g. through improving photosynthesis. Sorghum is a perfect model to study genes that are involved in photosynthetic capacity as it has a relatively simple (and sequenced) genome, but the crop is very diverse. Dr George-Jaeggli is involved in a large research effort combining high-throughput phenotyping methods (including proximal and remote sensing and imaging technologies on mobile platforms and UAVs) and genomics to find genes involved in increased photosynthetic capacity. This work forms part of the efforts of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Translational Photosynthesis to lift crop yields of major food crops to alleviate food shortages.
  • Increased cereal yields in water-limited environments
    The dry-land cereal grain production systems of north-eastern Australia are often affected by water limitation, especially towards the end of the growing season when sub-soil moisture stores run out. Dr George-Jaeggli has been combining molecular genetics, genomics and crop physiological experimentation to dissect complex traits such as stay-green and plant height that are beneficial for yield in water-limited environments.
  • Maximising grain yields through optimised agronomy
    Thanks to public and private investment in genetics, growers in Australia have access to sorghum, maize and wheat hybrids with great yield potential. Dr George-Jaeggli is part of a team of researchers in Queensland and Northern New South Wales who combine on-farm agronomy trials and crop modelling to provide growers with the tools to match hybrids with optimum agronomic practices for their particular environments to ensure they are reaping the benefits of the improved genetics.

Research Impacts

Dr George-Jaeggli's work contributes to the development of new cereal cultivars with greater yield potential, especially in water-limited environments. She has significantly contributed to the unravelling of the mechanisms behind the stay-green trait in sorghum. This knowledge helps to drought-proof crops in Queensland and around the globe and contributes to food security.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Masters (Coursework), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zürich


View all Publications


Featured Publications

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: case histories for major crops. (pp. 196-221) edited by Victor O. Sadras and Daniel F. 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) edited by Vilas A. Tonapi, Harvinder Singh Talwar, Ashok Kumar Are, B. Venkatesh Bhat, Ch. Ravinder Reddy and Timothy J. Dalton. Singapore, Singapore: Springer. 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. doi: 10.1201/9781315164151-5

  • Chapman, Scott C., Zheng, Bangyou, Potgieter, Andries B., Guo, Wei, Baret, Frederic, Liu, Shouyang, Madec, Simon, Solan, Benoit, George-Jaeggli, Barbara, Hammer, Graeme L. and Jordan, David R. (2018). Visible, near infrared, and thermal spectral radiance on-board UAVs for high-throughput phenotyping of plant breeding trials. Biophysical and biochemical characterization and plant species studies. (pp. 275-299) edited by Prasad S. Thenkabail, John G. Lyon and Alfredo Huete. Boca Raton, FL, United States: CRC Press. doi: 10.1201/9780429431180-10

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)