Welcome‎ > ‎Team Members‎ > ‎

Biography - Mike Manefield

Employment history

Dr Manefield is currently a Future Fellow in the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of New South Wales in Sydney Australia having spent 2004 to 2010 as a Senior Research Associate in the Centre for Marine BioInnovation where he remains Deputy Director. Prior to this post, Dr Manefield was employed on a continuing contract as a postdoctoral scientist in the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Oxford, UK, starting in, 2001. Dr Manefield has also made four professional visits of approximately three months duration each to the University of Cambridge, UK (2000), the Danish Technical University, Denmark (2000), the Marine Biotechnology Institute, Japan (2003) and the Helmholtz Zentrum Munich, Germany (2009).

Publications, patents and citations

Dr Manefield has generated internationally acclaimed research outputs since 2000. This is best evidenced by an H Index of 19 with 43 peer reviewed publications cited 2093 times in total, giving a career publication citation average of 49. Dr Manefield has 6 publications with more than 150 citations each and is either first or senior author on over half of his publications. Four of his publications have been recognised by the esteemed Faculty of 1000 and he has one patent (WO9629392-A). These metrics of productivity and especially impact demonstrate Dr Manefield’s respected standing in the international environmental microbiology community. Since 2004, Dr Manefield has been conducting scientific research in close collaboration with industry and as a consequence has generated a large body of literature in official internal quarterly and project close-out reports.

Invited presentations

Dr Manefield has twice been invited and financially supported to present at the International Symposium on Microbial Ecology (2004 - Mexico, 2006 - Austria) held biennially and has twice chaired oral presentation sessions for this thriving multidisciplinary international symposium (2001 - Netherlands and 2010 - USA). In 2008, he was invited and financially supported to present at the international symposium of the International Society for Subsurface Microbiology (2008 - Japan) held triennially, indicative of a successful transition into the research space of groundwater bioremediation. In 2010 he was invited and financially supported to present at a symposium on bioremediation convened by Dow Chemicals Australia and attended by environmental consultants, state regulatory personnel and academia. He convened the UK’s annual Molecular Microbial Ecology Group meeting in Oxford in 2003 and established and has convened the UNSW Centre for Marine BioInnovation weekly seminar series since 2005. He is a founding member if the Joint Academic Microbiology Seminars bringing together microbiologists in the Sydney region. Dr Manefield has been invited by universities, institutes and microbiological societies to give presentations in Hobart, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Cancun, Vienna, New Delhi, Munich, Shizuoka, Kamaishi, Belfast, Glasgow, Dublin, Warwick and Copenhagen. He has been selected through peer review to give presentations at conferences in Cairns, San Juan, Ljubljana, Amsterdam, Budapest, Monterey and Prague.

Science education and communication

In the past five years Dr Manefield has supervised 4 PhD students, 1 MSc student and 7 BSc (hons) students to completion. He interacts regularly with the Botany Community Participation Review Committee (annually) and the NSW State Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (biennially) to facilitate the understanding, potential and application of his research. During this time, Dr Manefield has been invited by state and federal governments to give presentations and participate in advisory workshops nationally (Biotechnology/Biosolutions, Canberra, 2007 and Emerging Biotechnologies, Canberra, 2005) and internationally (Indo-Australian Bioremediation Workshop, New-Delhi, India, 2007). Dr Manefield has been profiled by specialist industry journals (Environmental Business, 2006), local newspapers (eg. Southern Courier), national newspapers (Sydney Morning Herald) and radio (2UE Sydney, ABC 702 and 2SER 107.9). Dr Manefield was profiled on ABC TV’s Catalyst in 2008. In 2008, Dr Manefield’s research was showcased at ‘Copenmind’, an international university technology showcase held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Dr Manefield is a member of editorial boards for The ISME Journal (2011) and Applied and Environmental Microbiology (2006-2011) and referees manuscripts for over ten other journals, averaging approximately 25 reviews a year since 2008.

Awards and Honours

Dr Manefield’s contributions to science have been recognised with a NSW Young Tall Poppy Award presented by the Australian Institute of Political Science in 2005 and by being awarded the British Council Eureka Prize for Innovation and Leadership in Environmental Science in 2006. He has since become a Eureka Prize Ambassador lending his experience and scientific brand to Australian Museum marketing. In 2008, the University of New South Wales granted Dr Manefield a Gold Star award. In 2009, the Australian Academy of Science awarded Dr Manefield a grant as part of its Scientific Visits to Europe program. In 2010 Dr Manefield was awarded a prestigious Future Fellowship.


Since 2003, Dr Manefield has attracted $4.95 million in funding as lead investigator and $1.31 million as collaborator. Funding sources include the UK BBSRC, the Environmental Biotechnology CRC, the Australian Antarctic Division, the ARC Linkage Program, the ARC LIEF program and the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund. Dr Manefield has managed consulting contracts with Orica Australia, Dow Chemicals Australia and Coffey Environments Australia.

History of Collaboration

Dr Manefield’s scientific career has taken place in a dynamic collaborative context, and as such, he considers multidisciplinary investigation and collaboration across industry and institutions the natural order of science. His postgraduate studies (1996-2000) were conducted in collaboration between research teams at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the Danish Technical University (DTU - Givskov/Gram). Within UNSW, he teamed his environmental microbiology expertise (School of Microbiology - Kjelleberg) with synthetic and analytical organic chemistry expertise (School of Chemistry - Kumar/Read) and marine chemical ecology expertise (School of Biology - Steinberg/de Nys). Immediately after postgraduate studies he built productive links with the University of Cambridge, UK (Salmond) and fortified links with the Danish Technical University (Givskov) by spending three months at each institution. The success of these early career interactions is evidenced by the generation of 13 publications and a patent (WO9629392-A) on quorum sensing inhibition and the foundation of a Research Centre (Centre for Marine BioInnovation) and two biotechnology companies (Biosignal and QSI Pharma). He has also spent three-month professional visits working with microbiologists at the Marine Biotechnology Institute, Japan (Watanabe) and the Helmholtz Zentrum Munich, Germany (Lueders/Mechenstock). Dr Manefield has co-authored peer reviewed publications with all of the above named researchers.

Dr Manefield was employed by UNSW in 2004 to lead the bioremediation program for the Environmental Biotechnology Cooperative Research Centre (2004-2010). The program integrated teams from different disciplines (microbiology, process engineering, molecular biology) from UNSW, Murdoch University, Macquarie University and the University of Queensland to develop technologies to address specific environmental challenges faced by industry partner Orica Australia Pty Ltd. Success is supported by 7 publications and a patent (WO/2008/064427) but better evidenced by the continued financial support of the industry partner ($1,289,000 over six years) in recognition of the generation of invaluable remediation expertise and know-how. As further evidence of his ability to maintain and leverage long standing industry relations Dr Manefield has led an ARC Linkage project (LP0669801, 2007- 2010, $575,000 ARC + $248,000 partner) with Orica and conducted contract work for Orica (2006, $129,000), Dow Chemicals (2009, $84,000) and Coffey Environments (2009, $16,000). Dr Manefield is also lead CI on a current ARC Linkage Project with Biogas Energy (LP100100128, 2010-2014, $1,238,000 ARC + $600,000 Industry) for the microbial conversion of coal to methane. These industry interactions have additionally necessitated building and maintaining relationships with environmental consulting and services companies Geosyntec Consultants, Canada, URS Corporation Asia Pacific and the ALS Laboratory Group.

Within Australian academia, Dr Manefield has collaborated with microbiologists and ecologists at the University of Queensland (Blackall) and the University of Tasmania (Johnson) on an ARC Discovery Project (DP0559246, 2005-2008, $260,000); with a separation scientist at the Australian Centre for Research on Separation Science (QEII fellow Breadmore) and an ecologist from the Australian Antarctic Division (Powell) on an Australian Antarctic Division grant (2008, $73,000); with environmental scientists at Flinders University (Ball) and TERI University in Delhi, India (Sarma/Lal) on an Australia-India Strategic Research Fund project (2008-2011, $400,000) involving Indian industry partners Indian Oil Technologies Ltd and the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd; with analytical chemists (Guilhaus, UNSW BMSF), biochemists (Dawes, UNSW BABS), ecologists (Steinberg, UNSW BEES) and biomedical scientists (Ho, Garvan) on successful equipment acquisition (LE0775746, 2007, $102,000) and with environmental engineers (Stuetz, UNSW CEE) within the Poultry Cooperative Research Centre.