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. 

Tegan Kukulies

From soil scientist to extension specialist: the focus has always been bananas.

Tegan has worked with the banana industry since graduating from university in 2009. Completing an undergraduate degree at James Cook University in Cairns, Tegan commenced her career with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries working with renown soil scientist and nematologist Dr Tony Pattison. Under Tony’s mentorship, Tegan’s honours project looked at the effects of ground cover management on the biology of soils in banana production systems. Tegan continued working in the field of soil science for six years. 

Meet a researcher

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

With a passion for the banana industry, Tegan decided on a career change taking on an industry development role in 2015, leading the banana industry’s National Development and Extension Project. This decision saw Tegan hitting the ground running, as commencement of her new role coincided with the detection of Panama disease tropical race 4 in Far North Queensland. Tegan played an important role as part of the incursion response, developing information packages and facilitating extension services for the banana industry. This also led to Tegan and the extension team developing an important resource for industry, the on-farm biosecurity best management practices guideline.

Further to her experience in biosecurity extension, Tegan also leads key extension activities and initiatives for industry including banana roadshows, field days and workshops, NextGen activities, Better Bananas website, tailored on-farm biosecurity advice and assistance on general banana agronomy for growers.

Tegan is a local to the north Queensland area and was lucky enough to call Kurrimine Beach her home, growing up with all the beach and boating experiences the area has to offer. She now loves spending time with her young family, enjoying these and other outdoor adventures.

Tegan suggests you try a dessert pizza with Nutella, banana, and marshmallows.

Our banana researchers

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

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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
Profile

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

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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
Profile

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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
Profile

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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

Tom Flanagan
Industry Development Officer
NSW Department of Primary Industries
Wollongbar Primary Industries Institute
Wollongbar

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

Rob Mayers
NQ Field Officer
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture
South Johnstone
Profile

Sue Heisswolf 
Principal Horticulturist
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Bowen Centre for Dry Tropics Agriculture
Bowen

Ashley Balsom 
Technical Officer
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture
South Johnstone

R&D organisations working with the Australian banana industry