Jet fuel research launches ANU graduate’s career in the US

Carston Kulheim and David Kainer. Image: Stuart Hay, ANU

David Kainer's postgraduate research at ANU on turning Australia's iconic gum trees into low-carbon renewable jet fuel has landed him a job at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the United States.

Oak Ridge is the largest science and energy laboratory within the US Department of Energy.

Dr Kainer has graduated with a PhD from the ANU Research School of Biology and has started a postdoctoral position at Oak Ridge.

As part of his PhD at ANU, he investigated the genetics that control the production of eucalyptus oils, which can be used to produce advanced renewable jet fuel.

"The Ecology and Evolution division of the ANU Research School of Biology was absolutely amazing, both academically and socially. I already miss it," Dr Kainer said.

"I was always encouraged by mentors at the School to present my work at international conferences and to network as much as possible, and spent three months with a lab at North Carolina State University in 2015.

"This indirectly led to connections with the computational biology group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, where I am now employed as a postdoc."

Dr Kainer said he was happy to be part of the scientific endeavour to improve scientific capabilities and society's understanding of the world.

"As long as I make some contribution towards this through my research efforts, small or obscure as they may be, that is enough for me," he said.