Researcher biography

Marlize completed BSc (Industrial Chemistry), BSc Hons (Chemistry) and MSc (Chemistry) degrees at Stellenbosch University (South Africa). In 2010 she completed a PhD (Chemistry) at the same university that was focussed on natural product chemistry and the identification of volatile pheromones used in mammalian semiochemical communication. This was followed by a post-doctoral research position at Stellenbosch University where she continued her PhD research. She then joined the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) in 2011 first as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and later as a Principal Research Scientist. Here her research focused on unravelling the factors that negatively impact wine aroma and flavour, with a specific focus on the formation and fate of undesirable sulfur compounds; as well as elucidating the formation pathways of compounds associated with premium aroma characters in wine. Her group also developed innovative tools used to remediate undesirable aromas from wine.

Marlize then joined the School of Agriculture and Food Sustainability, UQ, as a Senior Lecturer in Food Chemistry in 2023. Her research interests include fermented food and beverages. Specifically, evaluating the formation, fate, and function of key aroma and flavour compounds in these food and beverage products, and examining the impacts of processing on these compounds. Marlize is also interested in the isolation and identification of important flavour and aroma compounds from natural Australian Bush foods and the development of new products. Her research relies heavily on the application of chromatographic techniques. Marlize has authored 22 peer-reviewed publications with 539 citations and an h-index of 12.

In addition to her research, Marlize coordinates and teaches Food Chemistry to undergraduate and postgraduate students. Marlize is a Member of the Australian Society of Enology and Viticulture (ASVO) and serves on the journal advisory committee of the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research. Dr Bekker is also a Review Editor for the Frontiers in Nutrition - Food Chemistry journal.

Areas of research