Dr John Manners
Assistant Chief, CSIRO Plant Industry
Research program leader, CRC for Sugar Industry Innovation through Biotechnology
Crops and pastures underpin Australia’s food supply and rural communities and provide the basis for Australia’s $27B of annual agricultural exports. Plant disease epidemics occur through either the invasion of exotic pathogen strains across our frontiers, the evolution of endemic strains with increased virulence, or through altered environmental regimes that favour disease development. Some recent examples of these events and what has been learnt will be discussed. Current research on plant-pathogen interactions is at the leading edge of the plant sciences with many fundamental mechanisms beginning to be well understood. In his lecture Dr Manners will outline this frontier of the plant sciences, and its future use in managing the multiple emerging diseases that threaten our plant production systems.
Dr John Manners is a molecular plant pathologist with research interests in fungal pathogens and the molecular dialogue between plants and pathogens that determines disease outcomes. He also has interests in applications of plant biotechnology for crop improvement and disease control.
Dr Martyn Jeggo
Director of Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL)
In the past few years it has become increasingly obvious that the risk from infectious disease, both to man and animals is growing. Whether this be from an old established disease such as Foot and Mouth disease, an entirely new disease such as SARS, or a disease changing host such as avian influenza, the threat is clear. From a diagnostic laboratory perspective, it is critical that the disease and the causative agent can be rapidly and conclusively identified and that the laboratory can then assist effectively in whatever is an appropriate response to the disease in question. Using recent examples from the equine influenza outbreak, this presentation explores what is needed and how best it can be delivered in the Australian context.
Professor John Mackenzie
Professor of Tropical Infectious Diseases
Curtin University of Technology, Perth
A number of viral threats such as SARS, Japanese encephalitis and Dengue have recently been reported throughout the world. Among the factors triggering emerging diseases are deforestation, climate change, and increased international trade and travel.
Professor Mackenzie discussed some of the factors leading to the emergence of viral diseases, and proposed a revised surveillance and response system to these threats as an area in which Australia can make a large contribution to a global problem.
This was the second talk in the Safeguarding Australia series of lectures.
Dr Mike Nunn
Principal Scientist (Animal Biosecurity)
Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Australia enjoys a favourable animal health status that facilitates the export of healthy animals and safe animal products worldwide. However the animal health status of countries can change rapidly. Quarantine and other regulatory authorities monitor and take account of significant changes – such as in the prevalence, distribution, virulence or host range of pests or pathogens – that might require review of biosecurity policies.
This talk explores some recent examples of emerging diseases and how scientific and technological advances are being used to help safeguard Australia from such diseases.
This was the first talk in the Safeguarding Australia series of lectures.