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Career profile | Lucy Tran-Nguyen

Job title

Principal Plant Biosecurity Officer

How did you choose your job? Or did it choose you?

I chose this job as I wanted to be able work in a different area, get a better understanding of preparedness and be more proactive and less reactive to exotic incursions and the associated diagnostics and research work.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Reading through my emails, looking for funding opportunities and scoping for innovative ways and tools for surveillance, diagnostics and grower engagement.

How long have you worked in this area and what roles have you had previously?

I started my Molecular Plant Pathologist career in 1998. Started a proper job after I finished my PhD in 2007 where I joined the NT Department of Primary Industry and Resources as a Molecular Scientist. I established the molecular section for Plant Industries, from there, I continued to work with Plant Pathology and Entomology to incorporate molecular diagnostics to their work and research. I was the Principal Molecular Scientist until October 2018 when I moved into my current role.

What training/education have you received?

My Bachelor of Science Honours was on Molecular Plant Physiology and my PhD was on Phytoplasma genomics. My diagnostics training was on the job, I was able to use my molecular skills and knowledge to apply to diagnostics for plant pathology and entomology. The molecular and bioinformatics world has grown at a fast rate as technology got better.

What is your greatest career achievement?

Being able to apply my skills to diagnose exotic pests during biosecurity incursions. I have worked on several outbreaks, the greatest achievements were mango malformation, banana freckle, cucumber green mottle mosaic virus and mango fruit borer. Secondly, working with my Cambodian colleagues on an ACIAR project and that included introducing them to molecular diagnostics.

What advice would you give anyone starting or changing their career?

Be ready to explore different things and ways to do your work. Be persistent, it is an exciting space to be.