Laboratory Residentials 2015-16

Laboratory Residential program

Laboratory Residentials are an initiative of the National Plant Biosecurity Diagnostic Network. The concept builds upon the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources scholarship program, which sought specifically to develop diagnostic protocols for High Priority Pests. Laboratory Residentials provide scope for plant diagnosticians to develop expertise and knowledge, and may include improvements in their skill bases in areas such as laboratory practices and quality management, diagnostic techniques, and specialist disciplines. Laboratory Residentials are made possible due to funding from the Department, through the Plant Biosecurity and Response Reform program for the purpose of implementing aspects of the National Plant Biosecurity Diagnostic Strategy. If you have any questions regarding the Residential program please contact the NPBDN Executive Officer at or (02) 6272 4568.


The Subcommittee on Plant Health Diagnostics (SPHD) is pleased to announce the following Residentials for 2015-16.

Name Description of residential
Lucas Shuttleworth The NPBDN professional development residential to be completed at the Biosecurity Queensland Plant Pathology Laboratory in August/September 2015 will involve updating and further developing the laboratory diagnostics manual for Panama disease (tropical race 4). It will provide the opportunity to acquire hands on training in field and laboratory detection of the disease, and to actively participate in the current Panama disease (tropical race 4) emergency response and Biosecurity Queensland diagnostic group. On return to the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute in NSW, the knowledge and training received will be disseminated to managers and colleagues, and will help build capacity for future detection of the disease.
Yu Pei Tan The aim of this residential is to validate the molecular tests for Colletotrichum lentis in the draft National Diagnostic Protocol during a 3-week visit to the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada. These tests will identify pure cultures of C. lentis as well as detect it in infected plant tissue. The residential will also incorporate a short visit to the Canadian National Mycological Herbarium and Canadian Collection of Fungal Cultures in Ottawa, Canada, where by cultures, herbarium specimen and DNA of C. lentis will be deposited.
Quang Dinh This Residential in Dr Brett Summerell’s laboratory will improve Dr Quang Dinh’s skills and experience of morphological, genetic and molecular biological techniques to identify and characterise Fusarium strains. There are nearly 100 well defined species of Fusarium worldwide with at least that number again still to be properly characterised. Of this, 15 species/subspecies in this genus are listed as exotics on several crops in Australia. Quang will work with the host laboratory to identify unknown Fusarium isolates in the VPRI reference collection. On return to Victoria, Quang will be able to update current protocols used for Fusarium identification and transfer these skills to other staff in the Crop Health Services Diagnostic unit. A permanent relationship between the two laboratories will be established, enabling future collaboration.
Peter Langlands Mites (Acari) are a diverse and economically important group. This two week Laboratory Residential will facilitate learning from Australian mite expert Dr Bruce Halliday at the Australian National Insect Collection. This will allow me to develop technical skills and knowledge relating to mite curation and identification. The mite identification capability of the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia will therefore be strengthened.
Mary Finlay-Doney Palynology is an interdisciplinary science which has applications in biosecurity, apiary and agricultural production. This residential will provide a unique opportunity to foster skills of direct relevance to current biosecurity questions and the development of agricultural in northern Australia. Mary will visit the laboratory of Professor Simon Haberle at the Australian National University to develop skills in palynological analysis. This residential will include generating a list of pollen found in association with the cucurbit virus Cucumber Green Mottle Mosaic Virus in Northern Territory bee hives. These data will inform management plans for the Australian honey bee industry.

Helping Australian plant diagnosticians succeed together