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Pamela Rickard

Pamela Rickard

Professor Pamela Athalie Deidre Rickard (1928–2002) was an Australian biochemist, serving as head of the University of New South Wales School of Biological Sciences from 1981 to 1988.[1]

Born in Sydney, she worked for a few years at the Daily Telegraph newspaper, before completing a TAFE course and entering Sydney University as a mature age student.[1] She then gained a Masters in biochemistry at the New South Wales University of Technology, writing her thesis on the "iron-containing pigments of certain fungi"[1] under Professor Bernhard Ralph and Dr Frank Moss, and graduating in 1961. She then began a PhD in London on the biosynthesis of porphyrins under Professor Claude Rimington, finishing in 1963.[1] She then began a permanent lecturing position at the University of New South Wales, where she would remain until retirement in 1988.

In the mid 1960s, she became part of the cutting edge field of biotechnology when the school was restructured as the Department of Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering, only the third biotechnology department in the world at the time.[1] She worked initially on yeast biochemistry, followed by enzyme technology, making interesting discoveries relating to the Crabtree effect, where cytochromes are not synthesised in high-glucose yeast environments.[1] Her group also found that synthesis of other yeast fermentation enzymes was enhanced in such environments, discoveries useful to the brewing industry.

In the 1970s, she worked on the use of enzymes in wine production, with the goal of using sultana grapes for wine,[1] before moving on to the digestion of ligno-cellulosic waste. In 1974 she published a review of the use of enzyme technology in industry.

She retired in 1988, receiving an emeritus professorship, compiling and editing a History of the Development of Biotechnology at UNSW in the same year.[2]


  1. Heard, Marian. "Interviews with Australian Scientists: Pamela Rickard". Australian Academy of Science.
  2. Rogers, Peter; Rickard, John (28 December 2002). "Hard road to top of scientific field". Sydney Morning Herald.

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