Launch of Victorian & Tasmanian Branch

The launch of a Victorian & Tasmanian Branch for the Australian Association of Animal Sciences (AAAS) has brought together animal scientists from academia, industry and government on the newly formed Vic & Tas Branch Committee. With the committee’s research interests ranging from animal physiology, behaviour, nutrition, genetics to wildlife conversation the branch formation highlights the diversity of knowledge and experience found in Australia’s animal science community and the important role AAAS plays in bringing all those involved animal science together.

The Vic & Tasmanian AAAS committee are currently planning their first major event, an online webinar exploring the growing usage of smart technologies in animal science and production. A cross-section of speakers from wildlife and production animal backgrounds will share the smart technologies that are already changing their industries. Further details of this event – scheduled for November – will be available soon.

Introducing the Victorian & Tasmanian AAAS Branch Committee

Frank Dunshea

Frank Dunshea

President
Evan Bittner

Evan Bittner

Vice President
Mike Rose

Mike Rose

Treasurer
Jo Newton

Jo Newton

Secretary

President: Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor and the Chair of Agriculture at the University of Melbourne (UOM), Professor Frank Dunshea. With a research career spanning over 35 years in farm animal and biomedical research, Frank is a respected research leader in the pork and other animal industries in Australia. Frank is committed to ensuring that all animal industries operate in a responsible and sustainable manner and much of his work has focussed on improving efficiency through reducing inputs and outputs while maintaining product quality and consumer health.

Vice-President:  Mr Evan Bittner is a part-time PhD candidate and researcher also from UOM. In November 2013, Evan started his PhD investigating export opportunities of Australian pork into Asia, supported by the Pork CRC and the SunPork group. Evan also manages the ARC funded, UOM research hub ‘Unlocking the Food Value Chain: Australian industry transformation for ASEAN markets’. Evan’s concurrent roles enable him to draw upon his Animal Science degrees, background in animal reproduction, nutrition, behaviour and husbandry, and experience gained working in SE Asia on the conversation and study of Asian elephant behaviour.

Treasurer: Professor Mike Rose, Interim Director at the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA). After completing tertiary studies in dairy cow nutrition and lactation physiology in the UK, Mike spent 7 years at the National Institute of Grassland and Livestock Science, Japan. In 2000 he commenced as a lecturer in livestock production at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University, UK, before becoming the Director of Learning and Teaching. Prof Rose moved to Tasmania in 2019 to take up the role of Associate Head of Learning and Teaching at TIA and more recently Interim Director of the Institute.

SecretaryDr Jo Newton OAM, is a research scientist with Agriculture Victoria. Since completing a PhD in livestock genetics from the University of New England, Jo’s research has focused on the value of better herd improvement decisions on farm. A recipient of an Endeavour Postdoctoral Fellowship, Jo spent 6 months as a visiting scientist in Ireland developing a tool to explore the benefits of genomic testing on dairy, beef and sheep farms. Jo has a history of advocacy and involvement in the wider agricultural community, particularly in supporting young agriculturalists.

The General Committee includes.

  • Dr Graham Lean of Agrivet Consulting. Graham has over 30 years’ experience consulting to farmers and agribusiness across Australia. Graham has veterinary and finance qualifications and is an authorised representative to provide futures in agricultural commodities. His services range from farm management and farm finance advice to animal health programs, futures advice in wool, beef and grains, farm benchmarking and farm business plans.
  • Dr Stephanie Muir, a research scientist with Agriculture Victoria Research based in Hamilton, Victoria. Stephanie is a graduate from the UOM, completing both a B Ag Sci (Hons) and a PhD at this institution. Her current research work involves feed intake, feed efficiency and methane emissions in sheep, however she has cross industry interests, having conducted research on beef and dairy cattle and as part of grazing systems experiments.
  • Dr Jeremy Cottrell is a Senior Lecturer in Dairy & Livestock Science at UOM. Prior to this he spent time as a Research Scientist with the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industry and as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Baylor College of Medicine, in Texas. He holds a PhD from Victoria University.
  • Student Liaison: Ms Lily Tran is a PhD student at La Trobe University (LTU) studying the development of rapid, field-deployable DNA diagnostics for livestock parasites. She has a BAvBSc (Hons I) from LTU, where she worked on novel methods to improve liver fluke detection. Lily’s research interests include: vertebrate invasive species, disease epidemiology, animal health and biosecurity.
  • Student Liaison: Dr Surinder Singh Chauhan is a Senior Lecturer at UOM. His research program aims to develop suitable strategies to mitigate heat stress impacts on food animal production, and to identify and deliver innovative tools to improve meat quality. As well as a PhD from UOM, Surinder holds a Bachelor of Veterinary Science & Animal Husbandry and spent 10 years in veterinary practice before embarking on a research career.

To enquire about joining AAAS and the Vic & Tas Committee and engaging in branch activities please contact Branch Secretary: Jo Newton via jo.newton@agriculture.vic.gov.au