Centre Director
Phil Taylor

Macquarie University

 

Prof Phil Taylor is Director of Centre for Fruit Fly Biosecurity Innovation, and is also Director of Macquarie University’s Centre for Biosecurity Futures. His research interests focus on environmentally benign and sustainable management of economically important fruit flies, drawing on experience and expertise in basic biological processes to develop innovative management tools. He is particularly involved with Centre chemical ecology projects in which potential new lures and repellents are inspired by evolutionary adaptations for chemically mediated interactions amongst insects, their food and their enemies. Contact Phil.

Node Leaders
Tony Clarke

Queensland University of Technology

 

Prof Tony Clarke leads the Queensland University of Technology Fruit Fly Research Group. He is also Research Director for the QUT School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences, and a member of the ARC College of Experts.  His research interests lie in fruit fly evolution and ecology, and particularly how the interactions between evolutionary patterns and current biology influence speciation and fruit fly host use.

Markus Riegler

Western Sydney University

 

A/Prof Markus Riegler is based at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment at Western Sydney University and investigates novel microbial control of tephritid fruit flies. At HIE, Markus is the Higher Degree Research Director. His research interests sit with the ecology and evolution of Australian native insects (mostly pest insects but also beneficial insects), their interactions with microbial symbionts, and novel strategies of insect management that apply microbial agents. 

Centre Administrators
Jacqui Delahunt

Macquarie University

 

Jacqui Delahunt is the Administrator of the Centre for Fruit Fly Biosecurity Innovation based at Macquarie University. She is the point of contact for the Centre and, as part of the team, she facilitates communication between members and the presentation of our work to the general public. 

Urvashi Lallu

Macquarie University

 

Urvashi Lallu is the Research Officer for the Centre, based at Macquarie University. Urvashi delivers essential laboratory administration, technical services and support for the research staff and HDR students to help provide a safe, efficient and harmonious workplace for laboratory research.

Centre Members
Solomon Balagawi

NSW Department of Primary Industries

 

Dr Solomon Balagawi s a Research Officer with NSW Department of Primary Industries and manages the sterile fruit fly production facility at NSWDPI, Menangle, and oversees post-harvest fruit fly management research at NSWDPI, Ourimbah. He has researched fruit flies for more than 17 years focussing on fruit fly ecology and biology, especially in the areas of host use and fruit fly resource foraging patterns pertinent to field pest management. Solomon is interested in the functional significance of fruit flies in selecting one resource (e.g. host fruit, habitat) over another. 

James Cook

Western Sydney University

 

Prof James Cook is the leader of the Plant/Animal Interactions research grouping at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment. His expertise is in entomology, molecular ecology and evolution, and his research focuses mainly on symbioses such as insect pollination, insects and endosymbiotic microbes, and herbivore-parasitoid interactions.

Toni Chapman

NSW Department of Primary Industries

 

Dr Toni Chapman is a Senior Research Scientist at at NSWDPI specialising in molecular bacteriology. Her research includes molecular studies on pathogens and commensal of animals, plants and insect hosts and gut community microflora and development of probiotic formulations against target pathogens. She also studies of Bactrocera fruit fly genetic evolution, taxonomy and evolution of bacteria using whole genome sequencing. Toni also works in Plant Biosecurity Research and Diagnostics, approaching plant biosecurity through understanding and identifying bacterial pathogens through both traditional and genomic identification and characterization.

Ashraf El-Sayed

Plant & Food Research, New Zealand

 

Dr Ashraf El-Sayed is a Chemical Ecologist with Plant & Food Research New Zealand. His research work includes the isolation and identification of semiochemicals that mediate multitrophic interactions among insects, plant-insect interactions and plant-plant relationships. He also studies applications of semiochemicals in pest management, chemical ecology of invasive species, and the development of innovative hardware and software for research in chemical ecology.

Bernie Dominiak

NSW Department of Primary Industries

 

Dr Bernie Dominiak currently has been seconded into a role of Scientific Publications Coach in Research Excellence, within NSW DPI. Bernie was responsible for management and policy decisions on endemic pests in NSW. Bernie managed the mass rearing facility at Camden for 23 years and conducted sterile releases. He oversaw the management and market access arrangements for fruit flies in NSW and coordinated the state wide surveillance system and reporting. As NSW coordinator for the Consultative Committee for Exotic Plant Pests, he processed exotic pest detection events and contributed to Australia's response to an incursion. He has a passion for publishing scientific knowledge for use in future decisions and responses to pest detections or changes in status.

Siu Fai Lee (Ronald)

Macquarie University & CSIRO

 

Dr Siu Fai Lee (Ronald) is a Senior Research Fellow based at CSIRO, Canberra. He is a molecular geneticist by training and has developed genomic resources for several insect species to learn how they adapt to harsh environments.  His current research explores fundamental questions of domestication, geographical variation, ecological competence, reproductive fitness and re-mating inhibition in Q-fly. He is also involved in the identification of sex selection genes in tephritid fruit flies.

Matt Krosch

Queensland University of Technology

 

Dr Matt Krosch is a Research Fellow within the QUT Fruit Fly Research Group. Matt’s expertise spans taxonomy, systematics, diagnostics, biogeography, population genetics and transcriptomics. Matt is interested in understanding the drivers of diversification and speciation in all their guises, through the lens of phylogenetics and functional transcriptomics.

Justine Murray

CSIRO

 

Dr Justine Murray is a landscape ecologist in the role of a research scientist in the Health and Biosecurity business unit within CSIRO. Her main research area since joining CSIRO in 2009 has been developing spatially explicit models to calculate the potential risk and impact of invasive species in agricultural landscapes in an effort to encourage farmer engagement in effective pest management.

Flore Mas

Plant & Food Research, New Zealand

 

Dr Flore Mas is a Behavioural Ecologist with Plant & Food Research New Zealand with a speciality in Chemical Ecology. She contributes to the R&D of new lures for pest control and surveillance in the Biosecurity group at PFR. Flore leads projects on microbial odours for attracting the Queensland fruit fly and floral lures for Lepidoptera. She is also developing new tools for Biosecurity​ such as automatic traps based on acoustic and machine learning algorithms.

Alexie Papanicolaou

Western Sydney University

 

Dr Alexie Papanicolaou is a Lecturer at the Hawksbury Institute for the Environment and leads the Stressed Fruit Fly lab. In his research he uses molecular biology and computer science to study how organisms adapt to changed environments. His work contributes to knowledge in biosecurity, climate adaptation and evolutionary biology.

Hazel Parry

CSIRO

 

Dr Hazel Parry is a Senior Research Scientist at CSIRO.  By combining data from field-based, ecological study with spatially-explicit simulation models, Dr Parry’s research: i) identifies important landscape features and environmental drivers for pest and disease vector suppression, ii) estimates outbreak risk in relation to population dynamics and dispersal behaviors, and iii) considers the spatial scale of management that may prove most effective.

Kye Chung Park

Plant & Food Research, New Zealand

 

Dr Kye Chung Park is a Senior Research Scientist at Plant & Food Research New Zealand, specialising in sensory electrophysiology of invertebrates and electron microscopy. His research includes the identification and characterisation of olfactory receptor neurons and gustatory sensory neurons of various insect and other invertebrate species, which helps understand the chemical communication systems of invertebrates and plants. His research also focuses on using insects’ chemosensory system as a biosensor for low-level chemical detection.

Peter Prentis

Queensland University of Technology

 

Dr Peter Prentis is a Lecturer at Queensland University of Technology. He researches invertebrate species, in particular the Queensland fruit fly and native sea anemones. He is investigating how how plant derived chemicals (i.e. lures) change behavioral and gene expression patterns of the Queensland fruit fly, as well as how species respond, adapt and persist in response to habitat modification. Using high throughput genomics, bioinformatics and lab experiments, he will help to better manage invertebrate species in human-dominated evironments such as agricultural areas.

Fleur Ponton

Macquarie University

 

Dr Fleur Ponton is a Senior Lecturer at Macquarie University. Her research aims to better understand the network of interactions that defines the relationships between nutrition and infection, integrating the roles of the host microbiota and immunity. Her work provides significant insights into nutritional regulation of the innate immune system, the gut microbiota, and infections by different types of parasites such as bacteria and viruses.

Jane Royer

Queensland Department of Agricuture and Fisheries

Jane Royer is a Senior Entomologist in the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries where she is involved with the diagnostics, monitoring and control of exotic horticultural pests in northern Australia. Her research interests include novel lures for ‘non-responsive’ fruit flies and the biogeography of Australian and exotic fruit fly fauna.

Chronis Rempoulakis

NSW Department of Primary Industries

 

Dr Polychronis Rempoulakis is a Behavioral ecologist with international experience on insect bio-rational control strategies. He is the Leading Entomologist for the Branch of Biosecurity and Food Safety of New South Wales, conducting research in applied entomology and supervising a diverse team of principal researchers. For the last 20 years he has worked in numerous projects and countries for the application of novel control methods for insect pests. He is a world leading expert in many aspects of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) development (dose-response studies,artificial rearing protocols, mating behavior, field dispersal). His excellent knowledge of developing mass rearing systems for insects, insect strain selection and evaluation and all technical aspects of insect biotechnology led him to high responsibility positions in international organizations (FAO/IAEA) and successful biotech companies.  

Max Suckling

Plant & Food Research, New Zealand & University of Auckland

 

Prof Max Suckling studies the biology and behaviour of a very wide range of pest and beneficial organisms, with a strong chemical ecology and biosecurity focus. He believes that by listening to the conversations of nature, we can sometimes gain control of insects in novel ways with minimal non-target impacts. We can also gain new knowledge of the world around us. 

Mark Schutze

Queensland University of Technology & Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

 

Dr Mark Schutze is a Senior Entomologist with Biosecurity Queensland at the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. Mark works with the DAF QDPC Insect Collection which contains over 1 million specimens, including approximately 100,000 Dacine fruit flies, to support biosecurity research and diagnostics. His research focus is the field of integrative taxonomy, especially of genera Bactrocera and Zeugodacus.

Rieks van Klinken

CSIRO

 

Dr Rieks van Klinken is a Senior Research Scientist in CSIRO Health and Biosecurity. His research is directed at solving biosecurity challenges by investigating the relationship between organisms, their environment and humans at multiple spatial and temporal scales. His research interests include prediction of plant, pest and feral animal invasions, their responses to climate change, land use change and alternative management practices, quantifying and predicting the impacts of invasive organisms, developing a user-friendly web-interface to model natural aerial dispersal (TAPPAS), and research to help reduce biosecurity barriers to agricultural trade.

Centre Affilliate Members
Linda Beaumont

Macquarie University

 

Dr Linda Beaumont is an Ecologist at Macquarie University. Her research revolves around understanding the impact of climate change on exotic and native species, and implications for industry and wildlife conservation. Linda is coordinating a project tasked with understanding the consequences of climate change on the ecology and invasiveness of Qfly. Linda is also involved in several initiatives to develop online tools to facilitate e-Research and enable end-users to visualise biological responses to climate change.

Stephen Cameron

Purdue University & Queensland University of Technology

Prof Stephen Cameron is determining the evolutionary relationships between flies based on phylogenetic assessments of quantitative comparative morphology, ecology, and molecular evidence. Using these tools, he is estimating of divergence times of insect taxa, studying evolution across the Order Diptera and determining evolutionary patterns.

Mariella Herberstein

Macquarie University

 

Prof Mariella Herberstein is a Behavioural Ecologist at Macquarie University. She works on the behaviour of spiders and insects and is coordinating a project that investigates the natural predators of Q-flies and what aspects of behaviour exposes Q-flies to the risk of predation. She is also the chair of the Macquarie University Species Spectrum Research Centre and the chair of Academic Senate. 

Ian Jamie

Macquarie University

 

Dr Ian Jamie s a Senior Lecturer in Chemistry at Macquarie University. His research areas cover environmental chemistry and chemical ecology. He is particularly interested in understanding the chemical and physical properties of semiochemicals that allow them to act as signalling compounds, and also in their chemical transformation in the environment. He has expertise in the collection and analysis of volatile compounds such as those that fruit flies respond to.

Joanne Jamie

Macquarie University

 

A/Prof Joanne Jamie is a bioorganic and medicinal chemist at Macquarie University.  She has over 20 years of experience in natural products chemistry, and synthesis and biological evaluation and structure activity relationship (SAR) studies of bioactive molecules for medicinal and agricultural application.  She is particularly interested in the identification of natural products from fruit flies and their evaluation as fruit fly chemical lures, and the design, synthesis and SAR studies of novel fruit fly attractants.

Shoba Ranganathan

Macquarie University

 

Prof Shoba Ranganathan holds a Chair in Bioinformatics at Macquarie University. Shoba’s research addresses several key areas of bioinformatics to understand biological systems using computational approaches. Her group has both experience and expertise in computational biology, ranging from metabolites and small molecules to biochemical networks, pathway analysis and computational systems biology. She is designing new algorithms to improve genetic sequencing techniques that will lead to better understanding of fruit fly genomes and support identification of key sites for improvement of sterile insect technique.

Chris O'Connor

Macquarie University

 

Chris is the the Industry Liaison and Outreach Coordinator for the Hort Innovation project ‘Post Factory Pilot of SITplus Fly production’. Chris has most recently spent several years with the peak industry body for the nursery sector, Nursery & Garden Industry Australia.  Here he worked across a range of projects and roles including the nursery industry biosecurity project and the nursery industry on-farm accreditation program as well as policy development and communications.

Centre Funded Postdoctoral Research Fellows
Soo Jean Park

Macquarie University

 

Dr Soo Jean Park is is an organic/analytical chemist and Chemical Ecologist. Her research interests include development and applications of fruit fly attractants, development of chemicals that attract and kill target species and identification and applications of fruit fly pheromones.

Jennifer Morrow

Western Sydney University

 

Dr Jennifer Morrow is a molecular biologist at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment at Western Sydney University. Her research interests include understanding the symbiotic relationships of insects and bacteria through genomic and transcriptomic research. Here, her specific focus is the impact of the intracellular bacterium Wolbachia on Q-fly fitness and fecundity, which may be exploited for the development of novel Q-fly management strategies.

Rehan Silva

Queensland University of Technology

 

Dr Rehan Silva is a behavioural ecologist at Queensland University of Technology who focuses his research on insect-plant interactions. He takes a behavioural ecology approach into understanding the ecological and biological interactions between insects, their natural enemies (parasitoids and predators) and their host plants. In his current work, he conducts detailed behavioural and ecological research on polyphagy in Bactrocera tryoni.

Centre Affiliated Postdoctoral Research Fellows
Bishwo Mainali

Macquarie University

 

Dr Bishwo Mainali has worked as an Applied Entomologist for the past 20 years and has extensive experience with numerous insect pests including stink bugs, whitefly, thrips, and fruit flies. Bishwo has worked on the development of benign control methods of these pests including the design and development of lures and traps. Currently, his work focuses on Q-fly rearing and development of QC protocols, ecology, and all major operational elements of the Sterile Insect Technique.

Jeanneth Perez

Macquarie University

 

Dr Jeanneth Perez is an entomologist working on the behaviour, chemical ecology and electrophysiology of fruit flies. Her main research interest focuses on topics related to the insects chemical communication, tritrophic interactions, and the use of natural enemies in integrated pest management programs.

Maryam Yazdani

Macquarie University

 

Dr Maryam Yazdani conducts research in the field of Insect Behaviour and Control. In 2017, Maryam became a Research Leader for industry projects funded by AgNova Technologies Pty Ltd and Citrus SA, focusing on investigating pest management strategies for Citrus Gall Wasp (CGW). She has got a patent for inventing a formulation for attracting CGW. Maryam is a great believer in the importance of industry engagement and innovation for translating research for economic and social.

Sabbir Siddiqui

Macquarie University & South Australia Research Development Institute

 

Dr Mohammad Sabbir Siddiqui is a molecular biologist and expert in γH2AX protein (a DNA double-strand break marker). His research interests include investigation and application of γH2AX as a potential biomarker of radiation-induced DNA damage in Queensland fruit fly (Q-fly) cells. He is developing a γH2AX diagnostic assay to distinguish between wild and irradiated flies for the sterile insect technique, as well as to quantify irradiation doses.

Vivian Mendez

Macquarie University

 

Dr Vivian Mendez is a behavioural biologist whose research with Queensland fruit flies has explored pre-release supplements for Sterile Insect Technique programs, and developed novel control methods.  Current projects investigate the effects of colony domestication on sexual behaviour, reproductive development and immune function of Queensland fruit flies.

Maurizio Benelli

Macquarie University

 

Maurizio, is an Applied Entomologist with extensive experience in developing cold storage technologies for use in insect mass rearing programs, invitro rearing techniques of entomophagous insects, and any aspect of insect quality control. Maurizio is interested in developing and implementing environmentally friendly tools to be adopted in Integrated Pest Management programs targeting fruit fly pests. Currently, he is investigating the impact of stressors experienced by sterile Queensland fruit flies throughout Sterile Insect Technique operations, including transport from mass rearing facilities to rear out and release centres. Also, he has been conducting large field experiments on fruit fly spatial ecology in collaboration with NSW Department of Primary Industries.

Katharina Merkel

Queensland University of Technology & CSIRO

Dr Katharina Merkel investigates the the local foraging behaviour of Queensland fruit fly.  Working on projects releveant to Sterile Insect Technique, her current work focuses on density dependent foraging responses of B. tryoni to host fruit, a field which links theory developed for parasitoids to fruit flies.

Tahereh Moadeli

Honorary Postdoctoral Associate, Macquarie University

 

Dr Tahereh Moadeli's work focuses on the development of larval diets for mass rearing of Queensland fruit flies. Sterile Insect Technique programs currently under development through the SITplus initiative will require many millions of sterile flies each week. Larval diets able to produce large numbers of high quality flies at minimal expense, are a key element of this effort.  Tahereh has developed novel gel diets that have been deployed in the new SITplus Queensland fruit fly factory.

Centre Funded Postgraduate students
Sitaram Aryal

Western Sydney University

 

Sitaram is investigating the diversity and impact of entomopathogenic and other parasitic nematodes on Australian tephritid fruit flies. The mortality of fruit fly larvae and pupae will be assessed in soils across different Australian environments. Different baiting methods will be used to isolate and characterise nematodes that attack fruit flies in the soil. Their pathogenicity in larvae, pupae and adults will be evaluated in the laboratory and under field conditions. His project will provide new biological control agents for fruit fly control.

Cynthia Castro-Vargas

Macquarie University & CSIRO

 

Cynthia is investigating the molecular basis of sexual performance in Queensland fruit fly.  Her project targets male sexual performance phenotypes that are expected to confer mating success in nature and in SIT programs, such as ability to attract mates, initiate and sustain copulation, transfer an ejaculate and inhibit sexual receptivity of mates.  

Nazma Akter Tithi

Macquarie University & Plant & Food Research, New Zealand

 

Nazma is interested in the fruit fly gut bacteria that play important roles in fly nutrition, development, fecundity, climatic adaptation and behaviour. Nazma is investigating how fruit flies avoid harmful bacteria and locate beneficial bacteria, focusing on whether and how adult Bactrocera fruit flies, particularly Bactrocera tryoni, respond to volatile emissions from gut bacteria. Her project aims to determine the olfactory responses of fruit flies to odours produced by the diverse bacteria isolated from their guts and to detect and identify the VOCs produced by the isolates.

Vivek Kemparaju

Macquarie University

Vivek is investigating chemical ecology of Queensland fruit fly, and is especially focusing on the chemical relations between these flies and their enemies, such as ants, spiders and wasps. Can the flies detect and avoid areas that have been recently occupied by enemies, and can enemies use chemical cues to find the flies?

Jaye Newman

Queensland University of Technology

 

Jaye is investigating fruit fly phenology, with a focus on developing predictive phenological models. She is taking a physiological approach to explaining the ‘winter’ reduction and very early spring peak of Q-fly, which occurs along the entire Australian east coast, from Cairns to northern Victoria. The conserved nature of this phenological pattern across such a broad latitudinal range, suggests that temperature and day-length are not key explaining factors.

Sally Noushini

Macquarie University & Plant & Food Research, New Zealand

 

Sally is carrying out comparative studies of pheromones produced by Bactrocera fruit flies, identifying putative pheromone components from gland and air-borne emissions, synthesising each component, and testing for biological activity.  Her project provides insight to the evolutionary patterns of pheromonal communication in fruit flies, and will pursue the possibility of pheromones as lures for those species that show poor response to traditional lures.

Stephen Sharpe

Western Sydney University

Stephen is studying the entomopathogen diversity of Australian tephritid fruit flies in field populations across different environments by using diverse sampling and baiting methods, followed by isolation and molecular characterisation. Furthermore, he is testing selected entomopathogens on flies in the laboratory and under field conditions, and characterising their host-pathogen interactions using genomic and transcriptomic approaches. His project supports the development of entomopathogens for microbial fruit fly control.

Melissa Starkie

Queensland University of Technology

 

Melissa is developing a 'whole of evidence' (genetic and morphological) phylogenetic tree of the Australian dacine flies. This information will be used to test different hypotheses about factors which have driven the diversification of our fruit fly fauna, including the different roles of rainforest fragmentation, ecological speciation and repeated incursions from current day PNG. Her work supports the development of robust and comprehensive diagnostics for pest fruit flies.

Sharon Towett

Western Sydney University

 

Sharon is investgating Australian tephritid fruit flies across different environments for the diversity and prevalence of symbiotic bacteria that can manipulate host reproduction. A major focus will be on the common insect endosymbiont Wolbachia. Laboratory fruit fly populations harbouring Wolbachia and other reproductive manipulators will be established in order to assess reproductive manipulations, other fitness effects and symbiont transmission parameters. Her project contributes to the development of the Incompatible Insect Technique (IIT) that uses bacterial reproductive manipulators for pest population suppression.

Vimal Varghese

Queensland University of Technology

 

Vimal is working on a habitat risk model for fruit flies across habitat types in South East Queensland. He will refine the model by documenting changing fruit fly abundance and diversity across large-scale landscape transects, which cover rainforest, rural, peri-urban and urban habitats. The work will greatly support area-wide management of Q-fly by identifying habitat types which promote and support flies.

Centre Affiliated Postgraduate students
Saleh Adnan

Macquarie University

 

Mr Saleh Adnan, an applied entomologist, worked with bio rational management of major insects pests of horticultural crops, and also explored the potential of several pre-release supplements for deploying in successful fruit fly Sterile Insect Technique program. His future research focuses include the development of monitoring tools as well as integrated pest management strategies for major insects pests of broad-care and horticultural crops.

Asif Ahmed

Macquarie University & CSIRO

 

Asif is investigating the biochemistry of accessory gland fluids that are transferred with the ejaculate of male Queensland fruit flies, and are responsible for induction of sexual inhibition in mated females. Female remating behaviour, and exposure of first mate ejaculates to sperm competition, is an important element of the fruit fly mating system and is also an important element of sterile insect technique success.
 

Md Jamil Hossain Biswas

Macquarie University

 

Jamil works on the integration of Queensland fruit fly Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) practice into an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) scheme. Investigating the effect of various control methodologies either alone or in conjunction with SIT, he is working with various traps and treatments of sterile flies in contained environments and field trials. His work will determine the best combination of methods for larger scale application within an Area Wide Integrated Pest Management (AW-IPM) scheme.

Hue Dinh

Macquarie University

 

Hue’s project focuses on exploring the complex network of interactions between nutrition, immune function, and infections in Queensland fruit fly (Q-fly). Hue’s also interested in the phenomenon of immune priming which has now been demonstrated in a wide range of invertebrate species. This understanding is thought to be important to generate healthy flies for sterile insect technique (SIT) programs.

Sushil Gaire

Macquarie University

 

Sushil’s research focuses on evaluating the quality of mass reared Queensland fruit fly flies for use in the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). His work will optimise quality control protocols and develop new tools for assessing the quality of sterile fruit flies. He works under laboratory and mass production conditions, ensuring that the techniques used for mass rearing and handling of Q-flies for SIT produce flies that have the highest possible performance in the field. 

Ben Hanssen

Macquarie University

 

Ben's project investigates a series of prospective new fruit fly lures based on zingerone, a compound that is related to the common lures cuelure and methyl-eugenol, but attracts some flies that respond poorly to either of the common lures. New lures will enhance Australia's border security by enabling early detection, and rapid response, to invasions by fruit flies that are not detected in the usual cuelure and methyl-eugenol trap, and will also enable improved monitoring and control options for Jarvis’ fruit fly.

Joel Herring

Queensland University of Technology

Joel is developing a GCMS-based metabolomics assay that will be used to increase our understanding of B. tryoni sexual behaviour. Building on our knowledge of the transcriptomic effects on male fruit flies of zingerone feeding, his research will reveal the metabolomic changes associated with lure feeding. The protocols he develops will support a new generation of fruit fly metabolomic research.

Kiran Mahat

Queensland University of Technology

 

Kiran researches a parasitoid of the Q-fly, the braconid Diachasmimorpha kraussii (Fullaway). He

aims understand how: D. kraussii discriminates suitable hosts from unsuitable hosts, survives periods when hosts are unavailable, where they forage in the environment and how this foraging strategy influences their genetic structure. The results from this study will reveal the foraging strategy of D. kraussii , which in turn will assist in better utilising this parasitoid in fruit fly biological control programs.

Jess Inskeep

Macquarie University

 

Jess' project explores differences in the behaviour of Q-flies derived from mass produced colonies and wild populations. Jess studies the ways that the domestication and sterilization process may affect fly behavior or negatively impact fly fitness. Jess is also interested in the relationship between visual and olfactory cues and in improvements of trapping methods that can enhance the capture of wild Q-flies. 
 

Rajib Majumder

Macquarie University & NSW Department of Primary Industries

 

Rajib investigates Queensland fruit fly gut ecology, especially in the context of sterile insect technique (SIT) programs. Gut ecology is increasingly understood as a potent influence on animal health through, for example, nutrition and immune function. Rajib's project focuses on  how the gut microbiome composition changes through the flies' life stages, and the functions of identified components of the gut microbiome.  This is important for understanding the health and performance of sterile flies used in SIT programs and for understanding the relationships between the insect, its gut microbiome, and its broader ecology.

Donald Cameron

Macquarie University

 

Donald is a chemist who is investigating deployment mechanisms for current and future fruit fly attractants. This involves determining some physical chemical properties, such as volatility and vapour pressure of the compounds and the stability of newly developed lures in the atmosphere. He is also investigating formulation techniques to extend the shelf life of lures and enhance the efficacy of known lures.

Binh Nguyen

Macquarie University

 

Binh works on the relationship between gut microbiota and the physiology of insects using Drosophila and Q-flies. Her research focuses on the effects of the gut bacteria on metabolism, immunity and resistance to infection, as well as reproduction and development at both larval and adult stages. Binh's also interested in developing probiotic treatments for flies reared in factory conditions to generate healthy flies for sterile insect technique (SIT) programs.

Angel David Popa

Macquarie University & CSIRO

 

Angel’s project explores the domestication process in Queensland fruit fly at the phenotypic and molecular levels. He is documenting natural variation in tolerance to cold, heat, and desiccation in diverse natural populations from Australia and tracking changes in abiotic stress tolerance through the domestication process. He is using modern genomics tools such as population resequencing, genome-wide association analysis, and gene expression profiling to understand the genetic consequences of domestication as well as the molecular basis of tolerance to key abiotic stresses.

Darshana Rathnayake

Macquarie University

 

Darshana's research focuses on predator-prey interactions in Queensland fruit flies. He aims to identify effective biological agents to control this pest species using both behavioural and molecular approaches. Further, his research investigate how susceptible sterile male Q-flies are to the natural predators compared to the wild flies and thereby to identify the effectiveness of SIT in controlling Q-flies.

Shirin Roohigohar

Queensland University of Technology

 

Shirin researches the behavioural, physiological and metabolic interactions between Bactrocera tryoni larvae and host fruit of different ripening stages, and fruit which is on and off the plant as these are relevant for to whether or not a fruit is a suitable host. Shirin uses behavioral, transcriptomic and metabolomics approaches to solve these problems.

Jason Shadmany

Macquarie University

 

Jason investigates prevalence and predictors of polyandry and paternity in the Queensland fruit fly. Polyandry is a potent evolutionary force influencing reproductive biology of most animals not only at individual scale but also at population, landscape, and species level. Jason’s project focuses on patterns of female remating and subsequent sperm use in wild and laboratory populations of the Queensland fruit fly, and identifying male traits associated with paternity advantage. His project will also investigate post-copulatory success of sterile males, such as are released in sterile insect technique management programs.

Sabira Sultana

Macquarie University

 

Sabira (Dina) Sultana is a PhD candidate at Macquarie University. She is researching the biogeography of Qfly with the aim of identifying potential geographic shifts in suitable habitat that may occur due to climate change. In particular, her work will identify which areas may become more (or less) climatically suitable for Q-fly in the future. 

Shahrima Tasnin

Queensland University of Technology

 

Shahrima investigates Bactrocera tryoni population demographics, examining the age structure of different populations throughout the year in tropical and subtropical Queensland. Studying field age structure of Queensland fruit flies according to season will provide significant insights into when the fly populations are stable, breeding and increasing, or aging and declining. The applied benefits of such information will be the better temporal targeting of area-wide controls, for example by determining the most effective release times of sterile male flies.

Shirleen Shomila Prasad

Macquarie University & CSIRO

 

Shirleen is investigating the genetics underlying reduced stress tolerance of domesticated Queensland fruit flies, and heritability of stress tolerance, with the ultimate goal of enhanced stress tolerance of flies released in SIT programs. Her research draws on quantitative genetic approaches using crosses amongst isofemale lines of varying domestication state and stress tolerance. Patterns of interest are then investigated using molecular genetics approaches.

Dean Southwood

Macquarie University 

 

Dean is investigating the computational side of genetic sequencing - can current techniques be improved on the computer side to give us more accurate and reliable genomic data? His project involves designing new algorithms to improve state-of-the-art, third-generation genetic sequencing techniques, in order to better understand fruit fly genomes.

Centre Alumni
Ania Deutscher

NSW Department of Primary Industries

Fruit Fly ITTC Research Fellow Alumni (Macquarie University)

 

Dr Ania Deutscher is a Molecular Microbiologist at the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute (EMAI) in Menangle. Her research aims to further our understanding of the Queensland fruit fly gut microbial community composition, to determine what influences this composition, and to investigate the roles of gut microbes in Queensland fruit fly development and performance.

Francisco Devescovi

National Scientific and Technical Research Council, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Fruit Fly ITTC Research Fellow Alumni (Macquarie University)

 

Dr Francisco Devescovi investigated inhibited response to male pheromones as a mechanism that might underlie the reduced mating tendency of already mated female Queensland fruit flies. More broadly, he is interested in diverse aspects of behaviour, electrophysiology and chemical ecology in fruit flies and their parasitoids. 

Kate Lynch

University of Sydney

Fruit Fly ITTC Research Fellow Alumni (Macquarie University)

 

Dr Kate Lynch is investigating the heritable and environmental effects of temperature preference and temperature related stress traits in the Queensland fruit fly. This will allow for an estimation of the adaptive potential and developmental plasticity of these traits, which can be used to model future dispersal, particularly under changing climactic conditions. Her studies are also investigating the role of domestication on temperature-related traits, which will help to inform the successful application of the Sterile Insect Technique.

Humayra Akter

South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI)

Fruit Fly ITTC Research Student Alumni (Macquarie University)

 

Dr. Humayra Akter is an Entomologist who explored pre-release dietary supplement for Queensland fruit fly (Qfly) SIT programs during her PhD research and found that raspberry ketone (RK) dietary supplements provided immediately after adult emergence can substantially accelerate maturation and sexual performance of male Qfly. Dr. Humayra also investigated effects of RK feeding at early age on male ability to induce sexual inhibition in mates, reproductive organs development, pheromone composition, lure response and survival in desiccation and starvation. Currently she is engaged in the development of genetic sexing strain and cryopreservation technique in Qfly

Marianne Peso

University of Wollongong

Fruit Fly ITTC Manager Alumni (Macquarie University)

 

Dr Marianne Peso was the Manager of the Centre for Fruit Fly Biosecurity Innovation. As part of the Centre team, she facilitated communication between members and the presentation of our work to the general public.

 

Her research examines the behaviour and physiology of agricultural pests and beneficial insects with the aim of improving Australia's biosecurity.

Nilesh Chand

Biosecurity Authority of Fiji

Fruit Fly ITTC Research Student Alumni (Macquarie University)

 

Nilesh is interested in the bacterial flora that is associated with fruit flies as pathogens, symbionts, and key elements of nutrition. His project focused on how fruit flies avoid harmful bacteria and locate beneficial bacteria, and in particular investigated the olfactory responses of fruit flies to odors produced by the diverse bacteria with which their ecology is intimately interwoven.

 

Currently Nilesh works as a Chief Plant Protection Officer at Biosecurity Authority of Fiji.

Shabnam Tarahi Tabrizi

Fruit Fly ITTC Research Fellow Alumni (Macquarie University)

 

Dr Shabnam Tarahi Tabrizi is a Molecular biologist and Biochemist. While at the Centre she was investigating the relationship between nutrition and infection in Queensland fruit fly gut microbiota, aiming to identify the role of different microorganisms and micronutrients in development and gut symbionts of Queensland fruit fly for better understanding of the gut microbiome components and functions.

John Baumgartner

University of Melbourne

Fruit Fly ITTC Research Fellow Alumni (Macquarie University)

 

Dr John Baumgartner was a postdoctoral research fellow at Macquarie University during 2017-2019, during which he explored the potential consequences of climate change for the distribution of suitable conditions for Qfly and other economically significant fruit flies in Australia. John's work primarily used correlative habitat models to relate fly distributions to environmental conditions, and assessing these relationships under climate change conditions. He is now a postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis (CEBRA), University of Melbourne, where he supports a range of biosecurity projects as a scientific programmer.

Juliano Morimoto

University of Aberdeen, UK

Fruit Fly ITTC Research Fellow Alumni (Macquarie University & NSW Department of Primary Industries)

Dr Juliano Morimoto investigates a wide variety of topics ranging from host-bacteria interactions, nutrition, evolutionary biology, and animal behaviour. His main research topic focuses on the effects of the gut microbiota on reproduction and sexual selection in the Queensland fruit fly.