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. 

Kathy Grice

Horticulture's jewel in the north!

For horticultural producers, plant diseases can be the bane of your existence. That’s why many turn to Kathy Grice for assistance. Working in plant pathology for the past 33 years, Kathy offers a wealth of knowledge and experience to help diagnose plant diseases as well as providing management options. With her career based in Far North Queensland a large portion of Kathy’s time has been working on solutions for Australian banana growers.

Kathy’s work is primarily in diagnostics. Banana samples sent to her lab in Mareeba vary from leaf and fruit disorders to corm and root diseases. 

Kathy Grice
Senior Experimentalist (Plant Pathology)
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Mareeba Research Station, Mareeba, Qld

The primary objective of Kathy’s work in diagnostics is to ensure exotic plant pathogens are not present in our local banana industry. The importance of her diagnostic work is best exemplified by her key role in the black Sigatoka response that resulted in the successful eradication of the disease in Far North Queensland in the early-mid 2000s. 

More recently, Kathy and colleague Peter Trevorrow have focussed their research on the post-harvest quality issue of Crown end rot. As part of this work they have looked into ‘softer’ control options as an alternative to registered fungicides, with some biological products showing promising results. 

Recently Kathy was awarded the prestigious ‘Lester Burgess Diagnostics and Extension Award’ for her contribution to her field of plant pathology and service to horticultural industries.

When asked what she enjoyed most about her work, Kathy responded, ‘The most exciting or rewarding part of any research is being able to provide a grower/s or an industry with a solution to a particular problem or issue.  I think I enjoy the variety in the work (a mix of laboratory and field work) and learning new ways of tackling research.’

Kathy is a Mareeba resident and an amateur twitcher, so you may find her bird watching in her free time. She also enjoys yoga and travelling overseas to experience different cultures and food. 

Our banana researchers

Jeff Daniells
Principal Horticulturist
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture
South Johnstone
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Richard Piper
Entomologist
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture
South Johnstone

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

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

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

Kathy Grice
Senior Experimentalist (Plant Pathology)
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Mareeba Research Facility
Mareeba

David East
Plant Pathologist
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture
South Johnstone
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Tony Pattison
Principal Nematologist
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture
South Johnstone

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Hazel Gaza
Soil Ecologist
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
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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
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Carole Wright
Senior Biometrician
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Mareeba Research Facility
Mareeba

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

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

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

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Peter Trevorrow
Senior Plant Pathologist
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Mareeba Research Facility
Mareeba

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Nandita Pathania
Plant Pathologist (Bacteriologist)
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Mareeba Research Facility
Mareeba

R&D organisations working with the Australian banana industry