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These are the confirmed speakers for the 2022 Annual Diagnostics and Surveillance Workshop (ADSW). For further information contact

Dr Jeremy J Burdon
BSc (Hons), PhD, Hon DSc, FAA, FTSE, MAICD

Dr Burdon has an international reputation as both a scientist (in the evolutionary biology of plants and pathogens) and a research manager. In addition to election to the fellowship of Australia’s two leading science bodies (AAS; ATSE), Jeremy is a foreign fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science, has published extensively, and has received numerous national and international science awards and recognition. He has broad interests across all plant-based agricultural industries developed through a previous role as Chief of the Division of Plant Industry, CSIRO (2003-2012). He has served on the Board of Trustees of Bioversity International (a member of the CGIAR: 2009-2015), on the Board of the Grains Research & Development Corporation (2011-2017), and on the Board of the Cotton Research & Development Corporation (2017-2020). Currently he is a Non-Executive Director of Sugar Research Australia Pty Ltd (2019-current) and the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (2022-present).

Dr Jenifer Ticehurst

Jen spent over 15 years working at the ANU on decision-support systems and integrated assessments to support natural resource management. Her research used Bayesian networks and participatory modelling; and included a focus on irrigated water use and management in the Murray-Darling Basin. In 2020 she joined ABARES and has been working on general surveillance to support biosecurity.

Dr Jessica Lye

Jessica is the Citrus Biosecurity Manager at Citrus Australia. She has a research interest in building better biosecurity engagement for improved plant health in urban environments. Past appointments have included managing the vegetable and potato biosecurity program at AUSVEG, where she was involved in several exotic pest incursion responses, and leading agricultural extension activities at the Melbourne-based research group, Cesar Australia. While there she contributed to preparedness and awareness activities for Spotted Winged Drosophila and educated grain growers about the phenology of Russian Wheat Aphid and Fall Armyworm in Australian environments.

Dr Benjamin Schwessinger

Benjamin Schwessinger studied biochemistry in Leipzig Germany before becoming fascinated by plants. Benjamin switched to plant science half way through his degree and graduated from the beautiful University of Glasgow with a first-class honours Bachelor of Science. He obtained his PhD from the University of East Anglia working at the Sainsbury Laboratory with Dr. Cyril Zipfel investigating receptor kinase mediate immune signaling in Arabidopsis. He moved to sunny California to work with Prof. Pamela Ronald at the University of California, Davis. During this time, he mostly worked on immune signalling in rice while being supported by multiple independent postdoctoral fellowships. Looking for new frontiers, Benjamin moved to work on the genome biology and evolution of plant pathogenic rust fungi at the Australian National University, Canberra. His initial move was support by an Australian Research Council DECRA fellowship to work in the laboratory of Prof. John Rathjen as independent research fellow. In 2018, Benjamin became fully independent supported by an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship and he is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Australian National University. His team focuses on genome evolution and host adaptation of rust fungi and explores how apply the latest technologies to improve Australia’s biosecurity measures.

Callum Fletcher

Callum Fletcher is Manager – Biosecurity at the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC). In this role he manages the various investments that GRDC had makes in biosecurity and surveillance in Australia’s grains industries. These programs have a particular focus on improving preparedness and response in the event of an exotic plant pest or disease incursions that may threaten the nation’s second largest agricultural industry. With over twenty years’ experience working in the agricultural science sector, he has most recently held biosecurity and research positions at AUSVEG and Plant and Food Research in New Zealand.


Dr Nigel Crump

PhD. Sc. (Ag.), Grad. Dip. App.Sc. (Ag.), B.App.Sc. (Ag.)

Dr Nigel Crump is a potato pathologist with extensive experience working in the Australian potato industry. Nigel is the General Manager and Principal Scientist for the Australian Seed Potato Industry Certification Authority (AuSPICA), which is an industry-based organisation that operates the seed potato certification Scheme in South Australia, Victoria, and northern New South Wales. Seed potato certification includes assessments of seed crops for commercial quality and phytosanitary requirements to support domestic and international export market requirements.

In addition to seed potato certification, Dr Crump oversees the day-to-day operation of the Toolangi Elite Business which produces G0 potato minitubers and tissue culture plantlets, which are the foundation propagation material for commercial potato production.

AuSPICA has a significant role in providing a range of professional technical services to the wider potato industry. Dr Crump enjoys a leadership role in the development and delivery of technical knowledge and services, and in so doing works with a small team of potato specialists. In addition to the General Manager AuSPICA role, Nigel makes significant contribution to the Australian and International potato industry through his many adjunct roles which include.

  • Deputy Chair of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) – Specialised section on seed potatoes,
  • Director World Potato Congress Inc
  • Director (Deputy Chair) Potatoes Australia Ltd.

Dr Crump is a member of the Australasian Plant Pathology Society, the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Laura Murphy

Laura Murphy is a Senior Technical Officer within the Propagative and Research Material Program of the Plant Import Operations Branch at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. In this role she is primarily focused on plant research material import pathways including assessing the risk of import proposals for plant samples, plant pathogens, plant and plant related genetic material and biological control agents. Laura has been in this role since 2018, prior to which she also worked across the seed and nursery stock import pathways. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and has a passion for Australia’s unique and varied ecosystems as well as a background in agriculture.