Emeritus Professor John Nolan
Emeritus Professor John Nolan has been associated with ‘Recent Advances’ since its inception in the early 1970s. His connection with UNE pre-dates ‘Recent Advances’ and spans nearly 60 years from the time he enrolled in the Bachelor of Rural Science course in 1962. His lecturers and mentors in the Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition at UNE in the 1960s included a number of the people responsible for instigating ‘Recent Advances’, including Professors G. L. (Bill) McClymont, Frank Annison, Rob Cumming and David Farrell. During John’s PhD studies under the supervision of Professor Ron Leng, he pioneered 15N tracer dilution methods as a means of quantifying nitrogen kinetics and conservation in ruminant animals. His quantitative studies using 15N as a tracer led to international consultancies with IAEA and FAO, providing many opportunities for networking.
After about 15 years of full-time postdoctoral research, John joined the lecturing staff in the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Nutrition, the original home of ‘Recent Advances’. During the next 15 years, his livestock nutrition research was extended to include feeding behaviour – choice feeding and feed aversion – in ruminants and poultry. Later, John served for 10 years as Professor of Animal Nutrition in the School of Environmental and Rural Science. Since his retirement in 2011, he has maintained an active role in research and postgraduate student supervision as an adjunct member of the Animal Science group. Over the years, John has contributed various research papers and reviews to ‘Recent Advances’ and his postgraduate students have always been encouraged to present their current work as preliminary findings at the symposia.
Dr Tracy Muller
Tracy Muller graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science in the School of Animal Studies (honours) at the University of Queensland. She received a Master of Science in biometeorology examining the effect of ammonia on the health and welfare of sheep and cattle on board live sea transportation to the Middle East with the University of Queensland. Tracy then spent time working in Veterinary Clinics before moving to Canada and working at the Prairie Swine Centre, Saskatoon, as a Research Technician.
Tracy then returned to Australia and accepted position with the SunPork Group as a Research Associate, focusing on sow physiology, nutrition, health and welfare.
Tracy is finishing her PhD with SunPork and Murdoch University investigating the potential for optimising sow body composition throughout gestation, and lactation, and understanding how changes in metabolic status influence reproductive performance.
Kate Plush is the Science, Technology and Adoption Manager for SunPork, Australia’s largest fully integrated pork business. The group conducts research across all areas of production from genetics, through nutrition, to meat quality. Kate is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the University of Queensland, and a reproductive physiologist whose scientific interest largely lies in the transition period, when the sow moves from gestation to lactation. She began her research career as a Pork CRC funded Postdoctoral fellow with the University of Adelaide in confinement-free housing options for sows and piglets, before progressing to the South Australian Research and Development Institute as a Pig Reproduction Scientist. She especially enjoys the translation of scientific outcomes to industry.
Professor Mike Gidley
Professor Mike Gidley is Director of the Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences in the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation at The University of Queensland. He is also Chair of the Australian Academy of Science’s National Nutrition Committee and co-Chair of the group that wrote the recently published ‘Nourishing Australia – a Decadal Plan for the Science of Nutrition’, available at https://www.science.org.au/supporting-science/science-policy-and-analysis/decadal-plans-science/nourishing-australia-decadal-plan.
Prof Gidley’s own research is focussed on structure – function – nutrition relationships in plant-based foods and ingredients. This has led to the detailed characterisation of starch and dietary fibre digestion and fermentation both in vitro and in vivo, with the understanding generated leading to opportunities for optimising nutritional value of foods and feeds.
Professor Rob Speight
Robert is Professor of Microbial Biotechnology at Queensland University of Technology and the Program Leader of the Industrial and Synthetic Biotechnology Program within the Centre for Agriculture and the Bioeconomy as well as Program Leader for Technologies and Processes within the Centre for a Waste Free World. He is a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology and Vice-President of Synthetic Biology Australasia. He has extensive industry collaborations and works closely with industry partners on projects involving synthetic biology and industrial biotechnology for the processing of waste streams to products such as livestock feed supplements.
Robert has been in an academic role since 2014, prior to which he was a research manager at The University of Queensland. He moved to Australia from the UK in late 2010 after 8 years as Founder, Operations Director and Head of Biotechnology for Ingenza Ltd, a global leader in industrial and synthetic biotechnology.
Dr Valeria Torok
Dr. Valeria Torok is the Food Microbiology Program Leader with the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), Food Sciences Group based at the Waite Campus in Adelaide. She is also the Fight Food Waste CRC Food Safety and Integrity Theme Leader and an affiliate Senior Lecturer with the University of Adelaide School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences. Dr. Torok has keen interests in food safety research and risk mitigation, role of gut microbiota in livestock production and gut health, novel diagnostic development and functional foods. During her career she has worked closely with both industry and regulatory bodies, and has formed multidisciplinary scientific collaborations both nationally and internationally.
Dr Chris Rogers
Dr Amelia Almeida
Dr Matthew Callaghan
Matthew Callaghan is the technical manager for Ridley AgriProducts and is an adjunct senior fellow within the School of Agriculture and Food Science at the University of Queensland. He has worked in applied nutrition servicing both intensive and extensive animal production systems over the last 20 years, including specialist knowledge in supplementation strategies for the northern Australian beef industry. He regularly collaborates on research projects with industry bodies and universities and is a regular contributor to journal publications. In the last 5 years, recent years highlights include leading a project in the National Livestock Methane Project evaluating the safety and efficacy of nitrate supplementation in northern Australian beef cattle industry, the invention of a lick block for the Pork CRC which improves welfare outcomes in group housed sows, nutrition consultation for the Indonesian-Australian Commercial Cattle Breeding Program and managing a project investigating manufacturing processes, animal health and productivity responses associated with feeding of a probiotic for livestock.
Dr Shaniko Shini
Dr Shini is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Queensland. She has a background in veterinary medicine and wide experience in research and teaching in Veterinary and Biomedical curricula. Her academic activities include teaching in the areas of cell and tissue biology, physiology & gut health, and supervision of multiple PhD students.
Dr Shini is recognised at national and international levels for her research on pathobiology of stress and stress-induced immunosuppression in production animals, fatty liver haemorrhagic syndrome in laying hens, and probiotics for gut health in poultry. She has been involved in many funded projects as a principal investigator and research collaborator in Australia and internationally. She has published regularly in peer-reviewed scientific journals and industry communications relevant to poultry.
Dr Shini’s recent work addresses effects of advanced animal feed supplements on gut health in the antibiotic-free era. She is leading Gut Health Studies conducted at the University of Queensland (Gatton Poultry Research Facilities) in collaboration with QUT and industry partners, and making significant contribution to the understanding of intestinal physiology and pathophysiology, and probiotic mode of action.
Dr. Zoey Durmic
Research Assistant Professor, The University of Western Australia
I hold DVM (1998), MVetMicrobiol (1992), SpecVetMicrobiol (1995), PhD (Microbiology & Nutrition, 2000, Murdoch University). My expertise and research interests are in animal production, animal gut physiology and microbiology, dietary manipulation, in particular exploring plants and plant compounds to address issues in animal health and production, and to reduce enteric methane. I have been involved in methane mitigation projects since 2000 (CSIRO methane vaccine project), and then followed onto projects at UWA since 2002, where I have been working in the area of methane mitigation using strategies that involve plants and plant bioactivity. I have supervised five PhD students and have published research and review papers. I am Associate editor for Animal Production Science and Animal Feed Science and Technology.