Adrienne Elizabeth Clarke AC (born 6 January 1938 ) is Professor Emeritus of Botany at University of Melbourne, where she ran the Plant Cell Biology Research Centre from 1982-1999. She is a former chairman of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO, 1991–1996), and a former Lieutenant Governor of Victoria (1997–2000). Clarke has been Chancellor of La Trobe University since 2011.
Born in Melbourne, Clarke reports she experienced some sexism as a bright student in the 1950s. She attended Ruyton Girls' School and then the University of Melbourne where she studied Biological Sciences and gained her PhD in the early 1960s.
In 1964 she became a research fellow at the United Dental Hospital of Sydney, then moved to Baylor University in Houston and the University of Michigan, later teaching at the University of Auckland. She worked at the University of Melbourne as Research Fellow (1969-1977), then lecturer, senior lecturer and reader before being appointed Professor of Botany in 1985 and Laureate Professor in 1999. She retired from the University in 2005.
Clarke is a former chairman of CSIRO (1991-1996) and a former Lieutenant Governor of Victoria (1997–2000). She is a Fellow of Janet Clarke Hall at the University of Melbourne. In 2010 she joined the La Trobe University Council, and succeeded Sylvia Walton as Chancellor of La Trobe University on 26 February 2011.
She has also been involved in the commercial sector; she was a director of a number of public companies and sat on a number of boards, including Western Mining, Alcoa, Fisher and Paykel, Woolworths and the AMP Society. She was also a member of the Australian Advisory Board of the Global Nature Conservancy. In 1998, in association with three University of Melbourne colleagues, she founded the agribusiness Hexima.
Clarke's scientific work provided critical insight to the biochemistry and genetics of flowering plants, their reproduction, and their growth. It led to industrial applications for next-generation controls of insect pests and fungal disease of crops. Her team was the first to clone the gene which regulates self-compatibility in plants and the first to clone the "c" DNA of an Arabinogelactan Protein.
She describes her expertise as:
- The molecular basis of self-incompatibility
- The chemistry and biology of a class of proteoglycans, the arabinogalactan-proteins
- Proteinase Inhibitors and their use in control of insect development 
She is author of four major scientific books dealing with chemistry, cell biology and genetics.
Clarke is a strong proponent of genetic engineering, and has dismissed the claims of so-called "activists" opposing what she considers to be good science capable of solving world problems, like food insecurity in Africa. She has also served on numerous company boards, including the high CO2 emitting aluminium producer Alcoa, uranium-producing WMC, and has been accused of having an uncritical acceptance of agricultural biotechnology.
Honours and awards
- Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA)
- Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (FTSE)
- 1991 Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)
- 1992 ANZAAS Mueller Medal
- 1993 Outstanding Achievers Award, National Australia Day Council
- 2001 Centenary Medal
- 2004 Companion of the Order of Australia (AC)
- Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences (USA)
- Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (USA)
- "Clarke, Adrienne (1938 - )". The Encyclopedia of Women & Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia. www.womenaustralia.info. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
- "Laureate Prof Adrienne Clarke AC". RiAus (Royal Institution of Australia). Retrieved 28 May 2014.
- "Fellows". Staff and Governance. Janet Clarke Hall, The University of Melbourne. 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- "Professor Adrienne Clarke". Botany.unimelb.edu.au. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
- ED.com.au (2012-12-18). "Promoting Gm Debate". ABCA. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
- "Letter to the Editor : News : The University of Melbourne". Archive.uninews.unimelb.edu.au. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
- FTSE, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
- Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), 10 June 1991, It's an Honour. For service to science and industry,particularly through the application of biotechnology.
- Centenary Medal, 1 January 2001, It's an Honour. For outstanding community service, especially as Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria.
- Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), 26 January 2004, It's an Honour. For service to science and academia as a leading international researcher, for the application of economic benefit to scientific discovery, and for mentoring future leaders.
- Laurence Muir (2007) Professor Adrienne Clarke, pp17–20 of: "Some Inspirational People" - 15 inspirational Australians profiled by Sir Laurence MacDonald Muir.
Sir James Gobbo
|Lieutenant Governor of Victoria
1997 – 2000