Meet a researcher

They know their banana plants but what do you know about them?

Our team of Australian banana researchers working on industry funded research and development span across several government departments, universities and organisations throughout Australia. 
Collectively they have over 400 years’ experience in banana research!
Over time, we aim to introduce you to our researchers and give you some insight into the work that they do as well as some fun facts about each of them. 

David East

Unravelling the little 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. 

Our banana researchers

Jeff Daniells
Principal Horticulturist
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture
South Johnstone
Profile

Richard Piper
Entomologist
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture
South Johnstone

Wayne O’Neill
Plant Pathologist
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Ecosciences Precinct
Brisbane

Kathy Crew
Plant Pathologist (Virology)
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Ecosciences Precinct
Brisbane

Tegan Kukulies
Development Horticulturist
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture
South Johnstone

Matt Weinert
Industry Development Officer – Bananas
NSW Department of Primary Industries
Wollongbar Primary Industries Institute
Wollongbar

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

Tony Pattison
Principal Nematologist
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture
South Johnstone

Hazel Gaza
Soil Ecologist
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture
South Johnstone

Lynton Vawdrey
Principal Plant Pathologist
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Mareeba Research Facility
Mareeba

Stewart Lindsay
Team Leader – Banana Production Systems
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture
South Johnstone

Shanara Veivers
Research Horticulturist
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture
South Johnstone

Katie Ferro
Research Horticulturist
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture
South Johnstone
Profile

Ingrid Jenkins
Information Development Officer
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture
South Johnstone

Curtis Lanham
Development Horticulturist
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture
South Johnstone

Kathy Thomson
Technical Officer
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Ecosciences Precinct
Brisbane

Carole Wright
Senior Biometrician
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Mareeba Research Facility
Mareeba

Jennifer Cobon
Principal Experimentalist
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Ecosciences Precinct
Brisbane

R&D organisations working with the Australian banana industry