- Professor Osmat Azzam Jefferson
Science and Engineering Faculty,
- Discipline *
- Medical Biotechnology, Law
- +61 2 6218 3802
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- Identifiers and profiles
PhD (Cornell University)
- Professional memberships
I am interested in the power of making informative decisions to solve problems. Currently my project involves developing tools to navigate gene patents.
Earlier in my scientific career, I assisted UNESCO researchers in Lebanon on studies related to the evaluation of economic contribution of rural women to the household, the internal decision making process on key family issues, and the impact of war on children and their livelihoods. These imperative experiences swayed my involvement in science-enabled tools to solve societal problems.
In the first eight years of my scientific training, I developed field-based diagnostics for different plant diseases and helped in establishing a diagnostic facility at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas in Aleppo, Syria. My thinking in science broadened substantially after I started my graduate studies at Cornell University and during the post-doctorate research at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Coming from an applied agriculture perspective, I became more intrigued in the dynamic interactions between information, molecular biology, and intellectual property. I was keen on exploring their potential impact on the economy of developing countries.
A few years after my PhD, I was offered the leading position in virology at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines. There, my research program included evaluating conventional and transgenic approaches to manage major rice viruses in South and Southeast Asia and collaborating with breeders on the development and deployment of natural/transgenic virus-resistant varieties. In addition to the staff members, I supervised several undergraduate/graduate students and had strong affiliations with the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, John Innes Institute in United Kingdom (UK), and Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan. I also worked closely with several national programs and co-developed with the Natural Resources Institute in UK a simple virus diagnostic kit for extension agents and breeders in the highly endemic areas of Southeast Asia. The intention was to equip government officials with a decision-making resource for disease management and provide breeders with a screening virus test. Although the uptake of the kit was not funded extensively, my Asian experience was very enriching and I learned that the delivery of science-enabled innovations can be a tool for social change.
Exploring more disruptive and novel technologies in genome mapping, I co-developed with a team at the Biotech Center of the University of Wisconsin- Madison, new optical mapping techniques to characterize and physically map the first draft of an optical rice genome map. In 2001, and for personal reasons, I moved to Australia wherein I have continued to develop enabling technologies/tools to effect social change through several projects with Cambia.
In 2005, I added a new line of research to my portfolio, focusing on the dynamics of power in the internal administration of the international workplace and the justice system re employment relationship between international organizations and their staff.
Here is the link to my presentations: https://www.lens.org/about/team-members/cambia/osmat-jefferson/
and the tools that we develop in the Lens: https://www.lens.org/lens/bio
¨ Seven years of work experience in International organizations in plant science projects ¨ Invited participations in workshops, courses, and seminars in various places around the world ¨ Four years of work experience in development USAID projects with Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. ¨ Short-term training in The Netherlands and Costa Rica and Field work- development projects in Lebanon
- Jefferson O, Koellhofer D, Ehrich TH, Jefferson RA, (2015) Gene patent practice across plant and human genomes, Nature Biotechnology p1033-1038
- Jefferson O, Koellhofer D, Ajjikuttira P, Jefferson RA, (2015) Public disclosure of biological sequences in global patent practice, World Patent Information p12-24
- Jefferson O, Koellhofer D, Ehrich TH, Jefferson RA, (2015) The ownership question of plant gene and genome intellectual properties, Nature Biotechnology p1138-1143
- Jefferson O, (2014) Exploring the scope of gene patents through new levels of transparency, WIPO Magazine p24-29
- Wang D, Ferraro G, Suominen H, Jefferson O, (2014) Automated categorisation of patent claims that reference human genome sequences, Proceedings of the 2014 Australasian Document Computing Symposium p117-120
- Jefferson O, Kollhofer D, Ehrich TH, Jefferson RA, (2013) Transparency tools in gene patenting for informing policy and practice, Nature Biotechnology p1086-1093
For more publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.