Amanda Choo

Amanda Choo

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

Dr Amanda Choo is a Grant-funded Researcher in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Adelaide and works closely with the Entomology Unit at the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI). Her research focuses on developing genetic strains for the use of agricultural and biosecurity pest control. She was the first in her research field to establish the CRISPR/Cas genome editing technology in tephritid fruit flies, with her work being amongst the top cited articles in the Journal of Applied Entomology in 2018-2019 (Choo et al., 2018). Dr Choo has been awarded the Dean’s Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence (2015), University of Adelaide School of Biological Sciences Postgraduate all round Achievement Award (2015), Insect Genetic Technologies Research Coordination Network (IGTRCN) Peer-to-Peer Training Fellowship (2016), SARDI Publication of the Year Award (2020), Australian Federation of University Women Postdoctoral Grant Award (2021), Edith Dornwell Medal for Early Career Research Excellence (2021) and an ARC Discovery Early Career Research Award DE23. Dr Choo is a member of the national SITPlus Technical Advisory Committee and have strong collaborations with various tephritid fruit fly research groups, both nationally and internationally.

Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) involves mass rearing and release of sterile male insects to control and suppress outbreak populations of pest species. The released sterile males will mate with wild females, resulting in the females producing non-viable eggs, ultimately acting as a “birth control” strategy. This will lead to the reduction and/or eradication of pest species in the targeted area. 

I'm working in collaboration with the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) as part of the SITplus consortium to develop SIT strains to control one of the major horticultural pests in Australia, Bactrocera tryoni (Queensland fruit fly). My research focus is on using gene editing technologies such as CRISPR/Cas9 to produce novel and improved strains that can increase the efficacy and efficiency of SIT.

Current research projects:

  • Development of Bactrocera tryoni temperature-sensitive lethal strains using CRISPR/Cas mutagenesis (Choo et al., 2020 ; Nguyen et al., 2021)
  • Production of different pupal colour strains for Bactrocera tryoni (Ward et al., 2021)
  • Translocation of autosomal gene regions to the Y chromosome in Bactrocera tryoni 

Current HDR student projects:

  • Generation and characterisation of visible markers in Bactrocera tryoni for sterile release (Nguyen et al., 2021)
  • Characterisation of Bactrocera tryoni pupal colour mutant strains 

Potential Honours projects:

  • CRISPR mutagenesis of the yellow2 gene for Queensland fruit fly control
  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2020 - ongoing Grant-funded Researcher University of Adelaide
    2015 - 2019 Research Associate University of Adelaide
    2010 - 2010 Research Assistant University of Adelaide
    2009 - 2009 Research Assistant (Lysosomal Diseases Research Unit) SA Pathology
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2011 - 2015 University of Adelaide Australia PhD
    2008 - 2008 University of Adelaide Australia B.Sc. (Hons) (Genetics)
    2005 - 2007 University of Adelaide Australia B.Sc. (Mol. Biol.)
  • Research Interests

Horticultural Innovation Australia FF18002: Breeding a male-only strain of Queensland fruit fly (Partner Investigator, 2019-2022, $1,711,500) 

 Hermon Slade Foundation: Developing novel, cost efficient methods for controlling the invasive horticultural pest, Bactrocera tryoni (Queensland Fruit Fly) (Co-investigator, 2018-2020, $53, 272) 


Named project personnel on the following grants:

 Horticultural Innovation Australia FF17000: Sex selection genes from fruit fly species for use in SITplus (Project Personnel, 2018-2022, $4, 699,143)


  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2020 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Developing Bactrocera tryoni sexing strains using Sterile Insect Technique for pest control Macquarie University PhD Doctorate Full Time Ngoc Mai Han Nguyen
    2018 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Manipulating key developmental and regulatory pathways in the Queensland fruit fly to develop improved strategies for pest control University of Adelaide, University of Melbourne PhD Doctorate Full Time Zoey Nguyen
    2017 - 2017 Co-Supervisor Development of embryonic lethal temperature sensitive mutations for controlling the fruit fly Bactrocera tryoni using the Sterile Insect Technique University of Adelaide Master of Biotechnology (Biomedical Science) Master Full Time Zoey Nguyen
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2015 - ongoing Advisory Board Member SITPlus Technical Advisory Committee Australia
    2012 - 2013 Member Open Day Committee, School of Molecular and Biomedical Science, University of Adelaide Australia
    2012 - 2012 Representative School Research Symposium Committee, School of Molecular and Biomedical Science, University of Adelaide Australia

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