The 2021 Organising Committee

Thank you to our 2021 Organising Committee for all their hard work in delivering the 33rd AAAS Conference

Sarah Blumer

Conference Chair & AAAS WA President
Sarah Blumer works as a research officer at Murdoch University based in Perth, Western Australia. Her PhD work examined the mitigation of liveweight loss in adult ewes during summer and autumn in Mediterranean farming climates. Current research work includes: Managing Mums with Multiples, Lifetime Maternals, and the Merino Lifetime Productivity Genetic Evaluation: Systems Efficiency & Profit (GEPEP). Sarah’s main areas of interest are composition, feed efficiency and the value of fat in the adult ewe flock, and translating experimental results to value in the field.

Dr Fiona Anderson

Assistant Conference Chair & Lecturer in Physiology.

Fiona is a Veterinary Science graduate (Melbourne University, 1998) and has worked in Victoria and Western Australia in mixed dairy and equine veterinary practices before joining the team at Murdoch University in 2007. She is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, specialising in Large Animal Internal Medicine and a Member of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists (Equine Medicine). Fiona completed her PhD at Murdoch University investigating lamb carcass composition, eating quality and human health traits and continue to research in these areas plus the wellbeing of sheep and stress in beef cattle.

Professor Michael Friend

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Charles Sturt University.

Michael has extensive international experience, having undertaken research in the UK and USA, and collaborated with researchers and educators from across the globe. Michael is passionate about strengthening the University’s existing partnerships in education and research, and developing new partnerships.

Michael is a highly experienced researcher, having secured in excess of $10m in external grant income as Principal Investigator. He has led several national programs and projects, spanning fields of animal nutrition, farming systems research and participatory action research. He is a highly experienced research leader, having led the Future Farm Industries CRC New Livestock Systems Program between 2010-14, and more recently as Director of the University’s largest research Centre, the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation between 2015-18.

As CRC Program Leader, Michael oversaw the ‘EverGraze’ project, which was a finalist in the Sustainable Agriculture category for the Eureka Prizes in 2014, while the ‘Enrich’ project within the New Livestock Systems Program was the winner in the category in 2013. As Director of the Graham Centre, Michael developed the Centre’s new Strategic Plan, restructured the Centre, and oversaw record growth in external income. Michael has over 100 refereed publications, and has supervised more than 15 PhD and MPhil students, and numerous Honours students.

Michael has over 20 years of university teaching experience, having taught animal science subjects at both Charles Sturt University and University of Tasmania. He has held various leadership positions in teaching, including as Chair of Learning and Teaching Committees and Discipline Leader.

Esther Jones

Executive Officer, WALRC

Esther is an experienced executive officer with an extensive network throughout the Australian red meat industry, from farm to research. Her 20-year career as the curator of major agricultural conferences and celebrations brings another dimension to her professional executive office services.

Emeritus Professor Graeme Martin

Senior Honorary Research Fellow, Faculty of Science, UWA School of Agriculture and Environment

Graeme Martin graduated from The University of Western Australia (UWA) in 1981, worked for 2 years in France (INRA) and 3 years in Scotland (MRC), and then returned to WA. He investigates how environmental factors (nutrition, pheromones, photoperiod, stress) affect reproduction, using techniques in neuroscience, endocrinology, metabolism, behaviour, reproductive technology, molecular biology, and computer modelling. He has trained more than 40 PhD students and published more than 340 refereed papers (h-index = 48; currently averaging 350 citations pa). In 2019, he was elected as Associate Member of the Academie d’Agriculture de France and, in 2021, he will be awarded the 2021 Marshall Medal by the Society for Reproduction and Fertility (UK) and a Fellowship of the Australian Association of Animal Sciences (AAAS). His long-term goal is the development of clean, green and ethical systems of animal production. His research has been featured at least 280 times in mass media.

Dr Hayley Norman

Senior Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO

Hayley Norman is an agricultural scientist who is passionate about farming systems that are profitable and environmentally sustainable. After gaining a PhD in the reproductive ecology of annual legumes, Hayley moved to CSIRO to develop sustainable grazing systems for saline land. Hayley’s team utilise expertise in systems modelling, ruminant nutrition, novel methods to quantify diet selection. They utilised the ‘nutritional wisdom’ of sheep to identify and commercialise AnamekaTM saltbush in 2015. Her team are working with industry to develop near-infrared spectroscopy calibrations to predict the nutritional value of a broad range of plants across the Australian feedbase. Hayley’s enjoys working with multidisciplinary teams and conducting research with farmers. She has conducted grazing systems research in Australia, Iraq, Syria, China (Tibet) and Afghanistan and sits on the WA Livestock Research Council and WA Soil and Land Conservation Council.

Dr Andrew Thompson

Andrew is an Associate Professor and Chair of Animal Science at Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia. He leads a dynamic research team focused on sheep production and he is heavily involved in R&D at a State and National level. Current research activities have a strong focus on improving lamb survival and sheep reproduction, developing more ‘easy-care’ sheep and production systems that require less labour, improving production efficiency through genetics and management, improving feed use efficiency and sensor technologies. Andrew has also played keys roles in the development of ‘Lifetime Ewe Management’, ‘Bred Well Fed Well’ and ‘More Lambs More Often’ training programs which have been delivered to more than 10,000 sheep producers and service providers over the last decade.

Dr Megan Trezona

Megan is passionate about the WA pork industry. She has 20 years of pig research and industry experience and is the R&D Manager at Linley Valley Pork and Craig Mostyn Farms. In this role her primary goal is to identify opportunities across the farms and during processing to improve the consistency and quality of fresh pork for the domestic and export markets. Megan’s research has been primarily around manipulating meat quality and carcass quality through interventions in the management and nutrition of growing pigs and, post-slaughter management of the carcass and pork cuts. Her primary focus is to reduce variability and improve carcass and pork quality. Through postgraduate training, research experience and involvement in industry Megan has developed a thorough understanding of pre-slaughter and post-slaughter effects on the development of important pork quality and eating quality traits.

Dr Tim Watts

Chair, WA Livestock Research Council

Veterinarian and Pingelly sheep producer Tim Watts has held a number of sheep industry business and strategic roles over his career to date. He has extensive research and extension experience from his work with BioClip and as a project consultant to a range of veterinary pharmaceutical companies. He continues to advocate for the adoption of strategies that will deliver improved profit margins within the sheep enterprise.


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