Australasian Plant Pathology Society Conference
25-28 November 2019 Melbourne, Australia
Strong Foundations, Future Innovations


Professor Carolee T. Bull

Professor Carolee T. Bull, serves as the Head of the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology, Director of the Penn State Microbiome Center which she established, and as a Professor of Plant Pathology and Systematic Bacteriology at Penn State University. Her research focuses on translational taxonomy using taxonomic inquiry to develop management strategies for diseases of mushrooms and plants. She serves as the convener of the ISPP Committee on the Taxonomy of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria and as the Secretary of the Judicial Commission of the Interinstitutional Committee on the Systematics of Prokaryotes. Prof Bull is a committed mentor and has received numerous awards for mentoring including the Secretary’s Honor Award (the highest award for service to the nation in agriculture) from the US Secretary of Agriculture in 2014. Prof Bull received a BS in Botany from Ohio University in 1985, an MS in Plant Pathology from Washington State University in 1987, and a PhD in Plant Pathology from Oregon State University in 1992. She continued her work as an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and the University of Lausanne before beginning her 20-year career with the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

Dr Thierry Candresse

Dr Thierry Candresse is a senior scientist working for INRA, the French National Agronomical Research Institute. He is the Team leader for Plant Virology and the Director of the Fruit Biology and Pathology joint Laboratory (UMR 1332 BFP) between INRA and the University of Bordeaux. While he has broad interest in molecular plant virology, including plant-virus interactions, his current research focuses on the development and use of novel approaches for plant virus detection and characterization, with applications in aetiology, in diagnostics and in plant virus ecology through metagenomics. Following an initial training in crop protection as an agricultural engineer from the Institut National Agronomique Paris-Grignon, he obtained his PhD in the enzymology of plant virus replication from the University of Bordeaux 2 in 1984. Before joining INRA, he continued his work as a post-doctoral fellow at USDA-ARS in Beltsville (USA) studying viroids with Dr. T.O. Diener. From an initial emphasis in fruit tree virology, his research activities have extended gradually to a broader range of viruses and crops involving a range of collaborative efforts.

Professor Roger Innes

Roger Innes holds the Class of 1954 Professorship in Biology at Indiana University-Bloomington, and currently directs IUB’s Electron Microscopy Center. He received his Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado-Boulder, and completed Post-doctoral research at the University of California-Berkeley. He is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Microbiology. Prof Innes’ research focuses on the immune system in plants, with a particular interest in how plants detect pathogens and how detection is translated into an active immune response. His group was among the first to identify and clone plant disease resistance genes using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. In a second area of research, the Innes laboratory has been investigating intracellular and intercellular signaling and cell biology of the plant immune system, including analysis of endomembrane trafficking in plant cells and production of extracellular vesicles.

Professor Hailing Jin

Dr Hailing Jin is a Professor and Cy Mouradick Endowed Chair in the Department of Microbiology & Plant Pathology, University of California, Riverside, USA. Her lab studies small RNA and epigenetic regulation of plant immunity and pathogen virulence, with an overall goal to develop effective and environmentally friendly strategies to control plant diseases and to ensure sufficient food production. Her lab discovered cross-kingdom RNAi and small RNA trafficking between plant and fungal pathogens. They also discovered that fungal cells can take up RNAs from the environment, which makes it possible to develop eco-friendly RNA-based new generation of fungicides. Prof. Jin’s lab also study the function of infection-induced small RNAs and RNA silencing machinery in plant immunity against bacterial and fungal pathogens. Prof. Jin received her BS degree in Genetics from Wuhan University in 1991 and PhD in Molecular Genetics, from the Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1996. She conducted postdoctoral work at the John Innes Center and University of California, Berkeley. She joined the faculty of Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology at the University of California, Riverside in 2004.

Professor Sophien Kamoun

The EMBO Keynote Lecture

Sophien Kamoun grew up in Tunisia where he developed a passion and curiosity about nature. He studied genetics in Paris and Davis, California, before working in Wageningen, Ohio and Norwich, where he is currently a Senior Scientist at The Sainsbury Laboratory and Professor of Biology at The University of East Anglia. He is known for his seminal contributions to our understanding of plant diseases and plant immunity.

Professor Kamoun pioneered genomics and molecular biology methods to reveal fundamental insights into the biology and evolution of eukaryotic plant pathogens. He discovered virulence effector families from pathogenic oomycetes and fungi, and showed how they can modulate plant immunity. He demonstrated how antagonistic coevolution with host plants has impacted the architecture of pathogen genomes, accelerated the evolution of effector genes, and drove the emergence of immune receptors networks. His inventive work in plant pathology has resulted in new approaches to mitigate some of the world’s most serious crop diseases.

Professor Kamoun has received many awards and recognitions, notably the Kuwait Prize and The Linnean Medal.

Professor Jan E. Leach

Jan Leach is a plant pathologist who studies the molecular basis of plant disease susceptibility and resistance and how these responses are influenced by interactions within the phytobiome. Prof Leach is the current President of the International Society of Plant Pathology. She is a Fellow and a past President of the American Phytopathological Society (APS). She served on the APS Public Policy Board for 16 years, leading advocacy efforts such as the Phytobiomes Initiative, a systems-level approach to improving crop productivity. Prof Leach is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. She is a member of the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources of the US National Academy of Sciences, and a Non-Resident Fellow of the Noble Research Foundation Institute.

Professor Neena Mitter

Prof Neena Mitter, Director, Centre for Horticultural Science, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, the University of Queensland, is one of Queensland’s leading biotechnologists, having been involved in molecular biology and biotechnology in Australia and India for over 20 years. She is internationally recognised for her leadership in innovative, cross-functional research and exceptional industry engagement to address global challenges of agriculture and food security. She leads an impactful research group to deliver global innovations, namely ‘DsRNA based BioClay spray for crop protection’, ‘Single dose- shelf stable Nanovaccines for animal health and ‘Clonal propagation of avocado using plant stem cells’. These are ground breaking platform technologies impacting agricultural production, environmental sustainability and socio-economic dynamics of farming community. With increased scrutiny on use of chemicals as crop and animal disease control agents; Prof Mitter is focussed is on developing clean technologies for the agriculture of tomorrow.

Mrs Lois Ransom PSM

Lois Ransom is an Assistant Secretary in the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. Mrs Ransom is the immediate past Chair of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and has held executive roles in both the IPPC and the Pacific Plant Protection Organisation.

A plant pathologist by training and practice, Mrs Ransom worked for the Tasmanian Government before moving to the Australian Government in Canberra, where she has held a number of senior biosecurity positions, including in plant import operations, international mail and pest risk analysis. She was Australia's Chief Plant Protection Officer (CPPO) for eight years. In a two year project with the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries, she assisted the development of the Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response (GIA) and established the independent GIA Secretariat. She has also chaired a number of national policy committees including the Plant Health Committee, the Biosecurity Emergency Preparedness Working Group and has participated in many plant pest incursion responses.

Mrs Ransom was Australia's Agriculture Counsellor in Tokyo from 2000 to 2003. She was awarded the Public Service Medal, which is an award in the Orders of Australia, in 2019 for services to biosecurity.

Professor Eileen Scott

Eileen Scott is Professor of Plant Pathology in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine at the Waite Campus, University of Adelaide. She completed a BSc with honours in microbiology at the University of Edinburgh and PhD in plant pathology at the University of Cambridge. She joined the University of Adelaide in 1987, where she teaches plant pathology and conducts research on fungal and bacterial diseases, mainly of horticultural species, canola and pulse crops. Prof Scott’s research group has comprised postdoctoral scientists, postgraduate and honours students investigating pathogen detection, biology, epidemiology and disease management. Grapevine powdery mildew and trunk diseases have been the main research focus for the last 25 years.

The supervision, mentoring and sponsorship of students and early career researchers has long been a passion. To date, Prof Scott has supervised/co-supervised 39 PhD, 15 Masters and 31 honours students to successful completion, as well as supervising 13 postdoctoral researchers. She is proud to have continuing collaborations with numerous graduates from her group.

Prof Scott has been a member of APPS since 1987. She served as Executive Secretary (1997-99) and President (2013-15) and was awarded Fellow of the Society in 2011, the citation for which included teaching and supervision.

Professor George Sundin

George W. Sundin is a Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University at Michigan State University. He joined the faculty in 2002 with a research emphasis in phytobacteriology and with extension responsibilities in tree fruit disease management. His current research centres on the Erwinia amylovora fire blight pathosystem with projects ranging from developing improved chemical and biological approaches for fire blight management to basic studies of pathogen-host interactions. Ongoing projects in the lab include studies of the role of cyclic di-GMP and small RNAs in the regulation of virulence (type III secretion system, exopolysaccharide production, biofilm development, and motility) in E. amylovora, functional analysis of E. amylovora type III effectors, and development and use of virulence inhibitors for bacterial disease management. These are long-term research efforts that engage multiple graduate students and involve collaborators at other institutions. The work is challenging and exciting, and links with field research and apple growers keep these projects directed towards finding solutions to the fire blight problem.

Download the Conference Program Book
  • Key Dates

  • Registrations Now open
  • Call for Abstracts Now open
  • Early Bird Registration Deadline 5 July 2019
  • Call for Abstracts Close 25 July 2019
  • Notification to Authors 9 September 2019
  • Registration for Workshops Close 23 September 2019
  • APPS 2019 Conference 25 - 28 November 2019


The Conference will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. View Venue information.

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General Information

We look forward to welcoming you to the 2019 Australian Plant Pathology Society Conference. See more information.