David East

Unravelling the mysteries of plant diseases

Agriculture has always been a big part of David’s life. Growing up on a mixed grazing property just north of Orange in the Central Tablelands of NSW, he went on to study Systems Agriculture at The University of Western Sydney. After finishing Uni, David worked in the cotton industry in Western NSW before taking an opportunity to manage a large forestry nursery. It was David’s career in the forestry sector that led him to move to Tully with his young family, managing propagation for a large forestry company. In 2014, David decided on a different career path, taking on a technical laboratory position with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries based at South Johnstone.

Since joining the Department David has forged a successful career in plant pathology.  His current research work involves a yellow Sigatoka leaf spot trial, evaluating the effectiveness of new chemistry and ‘softer options’ for control. In addition to this work, he is also busy providing general diagnostics for the banana industry.

David East
Plant Pathologist
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture, South Johnstone, Qld

We asked David what is the most exciting part of his research. ‘The most exciting part of my current research is exploring new solutions to perennial problems within the banana industry. The most enjoyable part of my job is diagnostics. Each sample is its own little mystery. It is incredibly satisfying to identify the problem, explore the factors that led up to issue, and to advise ways to avoid it happening again’. 


Outside of the lab David enjoys gardening, spending time with his family, playing guitar and fishing. His favourite banana recipe is banana bread, which he often enjoys for smoko.