Sakkie Pretorius


  • Source: Scopus
  • Calculated based on no. of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus

Research activity per year

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


Professor Sakkie Pretorius is internationally recognised as a pioneer in molecular microbiology, biotechnology and translating research outcomes into innovative industry applications. He joined Macquarie University in 2013 and in 2014 his passion for academic excellence and research drove the creation of the University's strategic research framework, World-leading research; World-changing impact. The framework will shape Macquarie's research priorities over the next decade and build upon the Our University: A Framing of Futures project.

Originally from South Africa, Professor Pretorius studied agriculture at the University of the Free State from 1977 until 1986, when he was awarded a PhD for his work on physical, genetic and biochemical characteristics of yeast. He was appointed Professor of Microbiology at Stellenbosch University in 1993, where he later became the founding director of South Africa's Institute for Wine Biotechnology.

By identifying some of the unique characteristics of South African wine production during his ten-year tenure he was part of the team involved in the refooting of the technology of wine production in South Africa. Professor Pretorius' role in this team enabled the burgeoning South African wine industry to grow its production and market presence significantly and attract global recognition for the quality of wines from the region.

Passionate about authentic leadership, prior to taking up his role at Macquarie, Professor Pretorius held the role of Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President: Research and Innovation at the University of South Australia. Prior to this he was the Managing Director and CEO of the Australian Wine Research Institute.

In 2014 Professor Pretorius was able to leverage his extensive expertise in wine yeast genetics to help bring the Yeast 2.0 project to Macquarie University. The ground breaking project involves creating the world's first-ever synthetic complex organism and will open the door to both more robust synthetic biology research at Macquarie as well as applications including more eco-friendly biofuel production and better targeted medication.

Professor Pretorius' reputation for excellence extends to the US and Europe, where he has held a series of prestigious part-time and honorary positions. He conducted molecular yeast genetics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Gottingen, Germany and the Katholike Universiteit in Belgium.

He has published on a range of subjects in more than 230 peer-reviewed research papers (current Scopus h-index of 56 and 77 in Google Scholar), and in addition to being regularly invited to present at conferences, many as keynote speaker, Professor Pretorius has won more than $100 million in funding and filed six patents. He is ranked in the top 1 percent of researchers for Agricultural Sciences and Plant & Animal Science, and is ranked 328th in the world for citations per paper in Agricultural Sciences (Source: Essential Science Indicators: 28 January 2016).

Almost 30 of his papers are in the top 10 percent of the most cited research in Biotechnology & Applied Microbiology, Microbiology, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Food & Science Technology, Genetics & Heredity and Mycology (Source: InCites 2016)

Education/Academic qualification

University of The Free State


Award Date: 4 Apr 1986

University of The Free State


Award Date: 5 Apr 1983

University of the Orange Free State


Award Date: 4 Apr 1981

University of The Free State


Award Date: 19 Aug 1980

External positions

Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Land & Food Systems (Food, Nutrition & Health)

2012 → …

Adjunct Professor, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine


Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President: Research and Innovation


Managing Director


Director of Research


Affiliate Professor, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine


Adjunct Professor, Business School


Honorary Professor, Institute for Wine Biotechnology


Head of Department of Microbiology


Part-time Professor, Department of Food Science and Microbiology (8 weeks per year)


Visiting Professor (2 months)


Director, Institute for Wine Biotechnology and Professor in Microbiology and Wine Biotechnology


Visiting Professor (10 months) as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow


Professor, Department of Microbiology


Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology


Postdoctoral fellow (3 months per year)


Senior Lecturer, Department of Microbiology


Senior Lecturer, Department of Microbiology


Lecturer, Department of Microbiology


Junior Lecturer, Department of Microbiology



Dive into the research topics where Sakkie Pretorius is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 6 Similar Profiles
If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.