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Waite In the Spotlight 2017

Sep 29, 2017, 2:45 pm - 5:30 pm


Who is GutWoman and what is her superpower? What determines how wine feels in your mouth? Do you really know where your food comes from? How can nerds with insect nets protect your food? What is genome editing and is it safe?

Waite research is providing answers to these questions and more! Featuring TEDx-style talks, Waite in the Spotlight is a celebration of the diversity of research at the Waite, what we do, and why it matters.

The talks at this event will be short, each focused on a single topic or idea springing from agriculture, food, wine and environmental science and designed to be thought-provoking and interesting to a non-scientific audience.


Featured speakers:

  • Professor Rachel Burton, the University of Adelaide and ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls – GutWoman’s guide to good insides
  • Richard Gawel, Australian Wine Research Institute – You paid WHAT for a bottle of wine?? Why what you feel in your mouth matters.
  • Dr Nina Welti, CSIRO Agriculture – Your food comes from WHERE?
  • Kym Perry, SARDI – Nerds with nets protect your food.
  • Professor Mike Keller – University of Adelaide School of Ag, Food & Wine – Genome editing: is it safe?



Waite in the Spotlight is a free public event, however we ask that you register to assist us with catering, venue and capacity arrangements. Refreshments and a cash bar will be available. Register online at:

Register online at: https://wits-2017.eventbrite.com/


Please arrive by 2:45pm for a 3pm start. Refreshments will be available after the talks at approximately 4:30pm.

Speaker profiles

Professor Rachel Burton

Rachel is a plant scientist and molecular biologist at the University of Adelaide, passionate about plant cell walls and all the useful things they can do for us. She is interested in the ways that the parts of the cell wall are made and put together but even more intrigued by how they are disassembled or fermented in the human gut, because they are the crucial dietary fibre element of our diets. 2017 has seen Rachel named a Superstar of STEM by Science & Technology Australia and a finalist in the Unsung Hero of South Australian Science Awards.

Dr Nina Welti

Nina has studied methane in boreal wetlands in Finland, measured isotopes throughout the Danube River and the vineyards of Austria, partitioned carbon in subtropical coastal sand islands off the coast of Queensland, traced the nitrogen cycle in the Siberian Arctic and currently tracks carbon and nitrogen throughout Australian agricultural landscapes. Nina is an isotope biogeochemist in the Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Group of CSIRO here at Waite. Her primary research interests are measuring and understanding the small-scale biogeochemical processes occurring in soils and sediments and their role in larger ecosystem-scale changes.

Richard Gawel

Richard initially trained as a winemaker at Roseworthy Agricultural College. Following a short career as a winemaker, he was appointed as a lecturer in sensory science at the University of Adelaide. He later lectured in wine and food studies at the Le Cordon Bleu culinary school. He is currently a research scientist at the Australian Wine Research Institute specialising in factors which influence the in-mouth texture of red and white wines.

Kym Perry

Kym Perry is a Research Scientist in the Entomology Unit at SARDI. His research involves finding more effective and sustainable ways of managing insect pests that attack broad-acre crops in the Australian grains industry. He has worked on insect pests including Mandalotus weevils and European wasp, as well as advising government agencies on Australian plague locust control in South Australia. He is currently completing his PhD investigating the dispersal patterns of the diamondback moth, a major pest of canola crops in Australia and around the world.

Professor Mike Keller

Mike Keller is  J.A.T. Mortlock Professor of Plant Protection. He is an entomologist whose work has focused on the biological control of insect pests, and the behaviour of their natural enemies. He has also conducted research on pollinators. Mike received a PhD from North Carolina State University and served as a research scientist with the United States Department of Agriculture for nearly three years before he joined the University of Adelaide in 1987. Mike has been Dean of Waite, Head of the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, and Director of the Waite Research Institute since 2015.


Sep 29, 2017
2:45 pm - 5:30 pm
Event Categories:
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Lirra Lirra
McLeod House, Waite Road
Urrbrae, SA 5064 Australia

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