2017 Biennial APSA Conference Speakers

Dunkin Lecture - Seasonal Infertility

Dr Ray King

The summer can be one of the most challenging times of the year for care of pigs as the combination of heat and increased day-length create environmental conditions that can be difficult to cope with and manage.  Over time, the Australian pig industry has spent considerable resources in addressing the issues that affect pig production during the summer and yet seasonal infertility is still causing significant issues for Australian and International pig production.  Seasonal Infertility was one of the first major production syndromes that had research outcomes presented at APSA and is a perfect example of how even with the best intentions and substantial robust research, some issues continue to cause production losses. Dr Ray King will provide collated information from international and Australian projects including those commissioned over time by Pig Research and Development Corporation (PRDC), Australian Pork Limited (APL) and the High Integrity Australian Pork Cooperative Research Centre (HIAP CRC), especially those that were presented at APSA, to assist industry to alleviate the problem of seasonal infertility.  In addition, Dr King will identify potential knowledge gaps and recommendations for future research.

Symposium - Genetic improvement in a closed herd

Dr Kim Bunter

Dr Kim Bunter, Principal Scientist, AGBU, University of New England first developed an interest in applied livestock genetics during her undergraduate years, when she completed an honours project at the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU). Kim obtained her Masters in 1995 and a PhD in 2002 and has worked on diverse projects across many different animal species – cattle, sheep, pigs, ostriches and oysters. Her primary expertise is in the R&D and logistical constraints of implementing new traits or better analyses into genetic evaluation systems. Kim has more than 25 years of involvement in the Australian pig industry, having conducted research into and providing advice on the development and implementation of selective breeding programs for pig breeding. Kim played a significant role in the development of IGF-I as an indirect selection criterion to improve feed efficiency in pigs, and is currently working in the areas of reproductive performance and mortality, along with phenotypes for immune responsiveness. She has a thorough understanding of the difficulties faced by industry, commencing with her research in the 90’s which investigated the use of mate selection tools to control both the rate of response and inbreeding within closed pig breeding herds.

Dr Dorian Garrick

Dr Dorian Garrick, Chief Scientific Officer, Institute of Veterinary, Animal & Biomedical Sciences, Massey University had an early start to his career with his predoctoral research investigating some of the first applications of animal prediction methodologies developed at Iowa State and Cornell Universities to sheep and swine improvement. After completing his PhD at Cornell University he returned to his native New Zealand and extended his research from sheep and pigs to the improvement of dairy cattle, trees and other livestock species. His work led to the development of new approaches to national evaluation in dairy cattle and sheep including across-breed animal model prediction and web-accessible systems for on-demand turnkey evaluations. Dorian views animal breeding in a systems context, involving the integration of knowledge and understanding of business goals, production systems, processing and marketing, in concert with quantitative and molecular genetics. In recent years, his activities have focused on the use of genomic data to predict offspring performance. 

Dr Matt Culbertson

Matt was born and raised on a swine farm in Western Illinois where he gained his initial experiences within the swine industry.  After graduating from Oklahoma State University (BS - Animal Science) and the University of Georgia (MS, PhD – Animal Breeding and Genetics), Matt returned to the Midwest and worked for Heartland Pork Enterprises where gained experience supervising a range of activities from technical operations to production to business development and transportation.  In 2002, Matt moved to North Carolina and began working for Murphy Brown / Smithfield Foods where he managed their internal genetics program as well as technical operations (nutrition, veterinary programs, etc.) for their Eastern operations.   In 2011, Matt joined PIC and currently serves as Global Director for Product Development and Technical Services.  In this role, Matt leads a global team focused on continually accelerating the creation and delivery of superior swine genetic products and technical support for PIC customers around the globe.

Symposium - What consumers want

Dr Darryl D'Souza

Dr. Darryl D’Souza is the CEO, SunPork Solutions, the technical services company, as part of the SunPork Group.  Prior to SunPork Solutions, Darryl was the General Manager, Research & Innovation with Australian Pork Limited and the Program Leader with the CRC for High Integrity Pork. Darryl has also held technical positions with Alltech Biotechnology P/L, including Asia-Pacific Technical Manager and Asia-Pacific R&D Manager.  Previous positions also include Research Scientist at the Department of Agriculture and Food, WA, Technical Manager for Craig Mostyn Group (Pork Division) and Research Scientist at the Victorian Institute of Animal Science, Werribee.  Darryl completed his PhD at University of Melbourne in 1998 and is a Meat Scientist with over 20 years’ experience.

Mr Evan Bittner

Evan Bittner is a PhD candidate from the University in Melbourne (UOM) who first developed an interest in Australian agriculture, and the Australian pork industry, during his undergraduate studies in Animal Science. Evan has a diverse background in science, earning his bachelor degree with honours from UOM in 2008 before travelling overseas to work in conservation and study the behaviour of Asian elephants. He returned briefly to earn his Masters in Animal Science in 2010 looking at the steroid chemistry of Asian elephant placentas from calves born in captivity at Australian zoos, before returning to Europe and Asia to continue his field work with wild, captive and domestic elephants.

Evan has a background in animal reproduction, nutrition, behaviour and officially began working with the Australian pork industry in 2013 after returning to Melbourne, joining the Pork CRC project on ileal digestibility as a Researcher and technician. In November of 2013, Evan started his PhD at UOM investigating export opportunities of Australian pork into Asia, supported by the Pork CRC and the Sunpork group. Evan works closely with the ARC funded, UOM research hub ‘Unlocking the Food Value Chain: Australian industry transformation for ASEAN markets’ to investigate the future of Australian food in the Asian marketplace. 

Dr Heather Bray 

Dr Heather Bray is a researcher at the University of Adelaide investigating community attitudes to the use of science and technology in food production. Heather is a former APSA member and she holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (Hons) and a PhD in Animal Science both from the University of Sydney and has work in pig science in Australia and the Netherlands. Heather has extensive experience in science communication, in particular communicating complex and contentious science to the general public. She developed and delivered schools and community education programs on genetic modification for the Molecular Plant Breeding CRC between 2003 and 2010. After undertaking further study in social research methods she began working with Professor Rachel Ankeny in the University of Adelaide’ Food Values Research Group in the Department of History. Her current research focuses on community attitudes to genetically modified crops and farm animal welfare.

Review - Current and novel feed additives - how they influence pig production

Professor John O’Doherty

Dr  John O’Doherty is Professor of Monogastric Nutrition at University College Dublin.  To date he has published 202 peer-reviewed full length papers in international journals of high repute and received a DSc in published works in 2014.  He has been on the editorial boards of 3 international journals, and was an Associate Editor for the American Journal of Animal Science between 2011 -2014. 

Professor O’Doherty has collaborated extensively with both scientists and industry. He is held in very high esteem by international colleagues as evidenced by: Invitations to present at international conferences and workshops, been external examiner on 9 PhD thesis. Professor O Doherty currently supervises an active research team of 3 post-doctoral fellows and 7 PhD students. He has completed the supervision of a further eight postdoctoral fellows, 19 Ph.D. students and 35 MSc students (by research). He is the 2016 British Society of Animal Science Hammond award winner.

Review - The use of antimicrobials in agriculture - is agriculture really to blame for antimicrobial resistance?

Professor Darren Trott

Darren completed his veterinary degree at Murdoch University and worked in small animal practice for eight years. Following an honours project on Listeria monocytogenes he became interested in the ecology of infectious diseases and completed a PhD with Prof David Hampson on intestinal spirochaetes (awarded in 1998). After completing a three year post-doc at the National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa, USA, Darren accepted a lectureship at The University of Queensland (UQ) School of Veterinary Science in 2000. Darren taught veterinary microbiology to veterinary undergraduates at UQ for 10 years and conducted research on gastrointestinal diseases, microbial ecology and virulence/antimicrobial resistance in companion animal, livestock and human bacterial pathogens. Darren joined The University of Adelaide School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences in January 2010 and his research areas have expanded to also include the development of new antimicrobials for superbug infections.

Review - Eating quality assurance for the pork industry. What has been achieved in 16 years?

Ms Heather Channon

Heather Channon is currently Acting General Manager–Research and Innovation at Australian Pork Limited (APL), the producer-owned company delivering integrated services to enhance the variability of Australian pig producers. She has worked for APL for the past 12 years in various roles within the Research and Innovation Division. Her areas of responsibility have included the management of R&D programs in food safety, product traceability, processing and product innovation, production, meat science and carcass composition, and the implementation of these research outcomes by industry. Heather is also Program Leader for Program 3–Healthy Pork Consumption with the Pork CRC for High Integrity Australian Pork.

Heather is currently completing her Ph.D. at The University of Melbourne, supervised by Professor Frank Dunshea and Dr. Darryl D’Souza, with her Ph.D. program focussed on developing an eating quality system for the Australian pork industry (with support from both the Pork CRC and APL). Prior to this, Heather was a research scientist (meat science) with the Department of Primary Industries, Victoria from 1995–2005. In this role, she conducted many research projects for the Australian pork industry focussed on understanding the impact of processing and post-slaughter factors on pork eating quality.

Review - The advanced assessment of animal welfare

Professor Alan Tilbrook 

Professor Alan Tilbrook is the Professor of Animal Welfare and Behaviour at the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food innovation at The University of Queensland. Prior to this he served as the Research Chief of the Livestock and Farming Systems division at the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI). He plays a key national leadership role in animal welfare and is a founding member and Co-Director of the Animal Welfare Science Centre. He is one of two champions of the National Animal Welfare Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) Strategy under the National Agricultural RD&E Strategy. He chairs the National Animal Welfare Steering Committee and presides over the National Animal Welfare Forum. He is actively involved in the National RD&E Strategy, representing South Australia on the Animal Welfare, Pork, Poultry Sheep, Red Meat (Red Meat Co-investment Committee), Wool and Dairy strategies. He also represents SARDI on the Agricultural Biotechnology Council of Australia.

Prof Tilbrook has a highly productive research career. His research is conceptually driven with a multidisciplinary and integrative approach. Alan’s predominant research interests are endocrinology and neuroendocrinology of reproduction, stress and animal behaviour and welfare, across a range of species including, sheep, pigs, poultry, goats, cattle and humans.