Plant Biosecurity expert wins Science & Innovation award

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Dr Kim Ritman Award for Science & Innovation winner is plant biosecurity expert Professor Brendan Rodoni

Professor Brendan Rodoni is the inaugural winner of the Dr. Kim Ritman Award for Science and Innovation. The win is recognition of his efforts to improve Australia’s capability for managing plant biosecurity risks.

Professor Rodoni is a strong advocate for biosecurity research. He has made a substantial contribution to plant virology and bacteriology research over his 35-year career.

Professor Rodoni was involved in the national response to the reported detection of fire blight in Melbourne in 1997. This report resulted in one of the most intense survey and diagnostic programs in the history of plant industries in Australia.

In 2010, he was involved in the development of advanced molecular diagnostic methods for the detection of plant viruses. This resulted in the adoption of new polymerase chain reaction tests for post-entry quarantine operations.

In 2012, he investigated new approaches for diagnosing high-priority exotic plant bacterial pathogens. This led to improvements in diagnostic capability for Australia, New Zealand and the United States. This improved detections of fire blight, zebra chip, citrus canker and kiwi fruit blight.

Prof Rodoni has led innovative work in emerging genomics technologies and field-deployable detection systems.

Since 2018 he has worked on a national high-throughput sequencing (HTS) project. This includes his advocacy role in developing a framework and guidelines for using HTS.

He is currently engaged in a 5-year industry-funded surveillance project that will change how airborne emergency plant pests are detected.

Prof Rodoni’s has a strong commitment to delivering outcomes for government, industry and the community. His efforts have contributed significantly to innovations in biosecurity.

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