Invited Speakers PDF Print E-mail

Keynote Presenters

Timothy Paulitz

Dr. Paulitz is a research plant pathologist with the USDA Agriculture Research Service in Pullman, WA, USA. He investigates root diseases and soilborne pathogens of wheat, barley, Brassicas and other rotation crops, with an emphasis on Rhizoctonia, Pythium, and Fusarium. He has focused on the ecology, epidemiology, spatial analysis and molecular detection and quantification of soilborne pathogens, and the development of cultural management techniques for root diseases, especially in direct-seed systems.

Robin Oliver

Robin is a Technical Manager in Syngenta’s Product Safety organisation and has technical responsibility for environmental fate and behaviour studies. He completed a PhD in Agricultural Chemistry at Glasgow University and has 20 years experience in plant and soil metabolism. Research interests include degradation by anaerobes, phototrophs and indirect photolysis.

Sabine Ravnskov

Dr. Ravnskov is employed as Associate Professor at Aarhus University, covering research in and teaching of microbial interactions in soil and roots with special emphasis on arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) and pathogen interactions in relation to plant health. Main approach in her fundamental research is to reveal mechanisms behind the antagonistic potential of AM fungi against plant pathogens, and to study functional compatibility between plant and fungus in AM symbioses. Dr. Ravnskovs more applied research profile focus on biological plant disease management. 


Graham Stirling

Dr Graham Stirling has an interest in the suppressive forces that regulate nematode populations, and how they are affected by practices such as fallowing, crop rotation, residue retention and tillage. Dr. Stirling has worked on numerous agricultural and horticultural crops for more than 40 years, and in his invited paper, he will discuss the role of carbon inputs from crop residues and roots in enhancing biological suppressiveness to root-knot and root lesion nematode on sugarcane. He will then outline the nematode management practices found to be effective in sugarcane and consider how they might be modified for use in cereal and vegetable cropping systems.

Sue Cross

Sue is the Head of Development in the crop protection division of Bayer CropScience, Australia. She migrated to Australia almost 25 years ago, after completing a BSc. in Agricultural Science at Nottingham University, UK. Most of her career has been spent working in various plant protection positions in the agricultural chemical industry, although she has also spent some time working in the area of plant disease control both in the Australian public sector and at the international agricultural research institutes ICRISAT and AVRDC. She has recently returned to Australia from a position at the global headquarters of Bayer CropScience in Germany.


Professor Lyn Abbott

Professor Abbott’s research focuses on soil biology in sustainable agricultural systems as well as disturbed natural ecosystems. She has had a long-term interest in research that increases the efficiency of fertiliser use in farming systems and the role of soil biological processes in restoration of disturbed environments. This includes understanding the roles of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, the use of soil amendments such as biochar, biosolids, compost and clay to enhance soil biological fertility, indicators of soil quality, and microbial dynamics in soil.

She has run many soil biology workshops for farmers and recently led the establishment of the Monitoring Soil Science project for schools in collaboration with the SPICE Program at The University of Western Australia and the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS). She developed the online learning resource “Soils are Alive” for farmers as well as other web-based information about soil biology, and participates in activities that help bridge the gap between science and land management.

Professor Abbott is currently the Vice Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at The University of Western Australia.

John Howieson

John Howieson, Graham O'Hara, Wayne Reeve and colleagues of the Centre for Rhizobium Studies (CRS). These researchers have released six strains of root-nodule bacteria to commerce, which have been widely 'sown' across southern Australia. These fix nitrogen that forms a substantial portion of this $2 billion asset. The CRS has been very influential in the improvement of inoculant carrier technologies that deliver these elite strains in good condition to their end users. The CRS is currently strongly involved in selecting and breeding new perennial legumes that are adapted to acidic and infertile soils, as well as developing appropriate rhizobia for them. The CRS has a very strong molecular group that assists in understanding the response of rhizobia to stress, which is very relevant to our agriculture.