The inaugural ‘Waite in the Spotlight’ was held in July 2016 and was a shared Waite Campus event featuring TEDx-style talks celebrating the diversity of research at the Waite and exploring how microbes can transform the future of Agriculture. Selected talks from a range of disciplines and by speakers from across the Campus partners were featured to showcase our work and some of our people.
Dr Caitlin Byrt
Caitlin Byrt studies the biology of plant traits that influence the quality and quantity of crop yields. As an ‘early career’ fellow of the Australian Research Council, Caitlin is part of a team who has identified a gene and marker that led to an improvement in durum wheat grain yield in the field by 25% in saline conditions, work that has international applications in 18 countries. Caitlin’s research interests are focussed on plant salinity tolerance, membrane biology, cell wall biology and carbon partitioning.
Dr Gupta Vadakattu
Gupta is one researcher who loves getting his hands dirty. His renowned research into genetic diversity, function and resilience of soil microbes has important implications for sustainable production worldwide. Research findings have improved our understanding of environmental health and potential solutions to food scarcity in developing countries, including India where agricultural field trials are delivering impressive results. Gupta’s outstanding contribution to soil science in Australia was recognised by the 2015 Prescott Medal.
Dr Laura Davies
Laura’s love of parasites started with a PhD at the University of Leeds, UK where she worked on plant-parasitic nematodes and plant hormones. Laura then moved to Washington State University, USA for two years to research the defence interactions between root-knot nematodes and potatoes. Laura has been based in Wine Innovation West here at Waite for the past 18 months, characterising interactions between the fungal parasite Eryisphe necator, which causes powdery mildew disease, and grapevine.
Dr Anthony Borneman
A big focus of Anthony’s research is on yeasts and bacteria – both vital in producing the wines and beers that millions of Australians enjoy. As Principal Research Scientist at the Australian Wine Research Institute, Anthony’s research is focused on applying genomics, systems- and synthetic-biology to understand the genetic basis of phenotypic diversity in ‘industrial microorganisms’ – the little agents of change in Australia’s wine and grape sector.
Professor Göran Roos
Göran Roos is a member of the Economic Development Board of South Australia and the advisory board for Investment Attraction South Australia. He is a Stretton Fellow appointed by the City of Playford at University of Adelaide; Adjunct Professor at Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre, University of Adelaide; Adjunct Professor at University of Technology Sydney Business School; and Adjunct Associate Professor in the College of Business, Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Göran is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) and of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA).