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Group Leader - Pests & Diseases

Legume Engineering Team

The Legume Engineering Team has been working in the field of legume biotechnology for the last 30 years. The team has developed transformation protocols for several species including chickpeas, cowpeas, garden peas and lupins. They have worked with these species in different areas including improving nutritional composition and insect protection. A major milestone was achieved in 2019 with the development and commercial release in Nigeria of the Bt cowpea variety Sampea 20-T, the world first GM cowpea. This cowpea is resistant to the pod-borer, Maruca vitrata, a major pest of this crop in West Africa. It is expected that this research will have a major impact and help to reduce hunger and rural poverty of a large portion of the Nigerian population.

Microbial Technologies Team

The Microbial Technologies Team exploits the strengths of beneficial microbes and the weaknesses of pathogens to develop novel crop protection solutions and animal feed supplements. The team's research approaches involve a broad range of disciplines from comparative -omics, analytical chemistry, microbial engineering and fermentation systems, plant genetics, plant pathology, and field trial evaluation over multi-environments. Through both basic strategic research and applied research to deliver industry specific outcomes, they deliver novel approaches for manipulating biocontrol microbes, microbial solutions for targeting decreased methane emission from ruminant livestock, and strategies to enhance crop resistance gene durability.

Dr Louise Thatcher

Principal Research Scientist (AGRICULTURE & FOOD)

Crown Rot Resistance Team

The Crown Rot Resistance Team aims to reduce impacts of soil/stubble-borne necrotrophic fungal pathogens in crop production by improving breeding technology. We identify novel loci conferring resistance, develop diagnostic markers, and incorporate resistance into elite wheat and barley lines for breeding programs to exploit. To accelerate research output and interrogate new science questions, we also exploit methodologies for enhancing the capacity to handle large and complex plant genome datasets.

Dr Chunji Liu

Chief Research Scientist (AGRICULTURE & FOOD)

GM Technologies Team

Data Intensive Approaches Team

The Data Intensive Approaches Team uses data-driven approaches to accelerate knowledge discovery in plant-pathogen interactions. The team develops state-of-the-art methods encompassing all areas of plant-pathogen interactions such as effector prediction, resistance gene identification, genomics as well as digital disease diagnostics.

Dr Jana Sperschneider

Senior Research Scientist (AGRICULTURE & FOOD)

Gene Discovery Team

Dr Kathy Dibley

Research Scientist (AGRICULTURE & FOOD)


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