Melbourne, 13 May 2011 – Denis Persley, Principal Plant Pathologist at the Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) in Brisbane is the winner of this year’s AUSVEG Researcher of the Year Award, sponsored by Bayer CropScience. The award was presented at the 2011 AUSVEG National Convention in Brisbane.
This award acknowledges Denis’ life-long work for the Australian vegetable industry of more than 40 years.
Starting as a cadet while studying part time at the University of Queensland and the Queensland University of Technology, Denis’s first project area included work on summer cereal crops, such as maize and sorghum. His research then gradually included vegetable crops including cucurbits, capsicums, and sweet potatoes among others. The focus of almost all his research within the last 15 years has been to develop control measures for plant virus diseases in vegetable crops.
“In my role as a virologist, I identify virus resistance sources among crops, do some testing, look at strain variations, and work together with plant breeders to cross trait characteristics and develop resistant crop varieties”, Denis explains. “In the end, our work feeds back to the vegetable industry and finally to growers to enable them to grow healthier crops more profitably”, he adds.
The findings of his research work have made Denis one of Australia’s leading authorities on plant virus pathogens, their vectors and control methods, as well as a leading researcher for the vegetable industry. Denis has also published his research findings in a number of technical articles. He has edited and co-authored two handbooks on diseases in vegetable crops in Australia, with his latest handbook being released at the 2010 AUSVEG National Conference.
Over the last decade, Denis has also been a team leader and mentor for plant pathologists at DEEDI and makes every effort to keep the research endeavors in Brisbane running.
“One can never achieve outstanding results alone. Good outcomes always resolve from good teams working together. Therefore, the award, which I am very proud of, reflects upon the work we have done as a team, as well as the Department’s commitment to basic research in the area”, Denis claims.
In the future, Denis will continue his work at DEEDI. His goal is to achieve the greatest possible control of virus diseases in the vegetable industry one day. And to achieve this goal, Denis is always looking for new alliances across the industry.
“At DEEDI, we have great research facilities and we are continuously looking forward to new collaborations to advance in our ability to understand what the important virus diseases in vegetable crops are, how they spread and what effective management can look like”.
The AUSVEG Researcher of the Year Award is sponsored by Bayer CropScience and acknowledges researchers who have a track record of research or extension work in fields which has advanced the vegetable industry long-term.
About Bayer CropScience
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience, a subgroup of Bayer AG with annual sales of EUR 6.830 billion (2010), is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and traits. The company offers an outstanding range of products and extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture and for non-agricultural applications. Bayer CropScience has a global workforce of 20,700 and is represented in more than 120 countries.
The Australian head office is located in Melbourne.
Fleur Wilkins, Communication Manager, Bayer CropScience
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