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Award Winning Research Scientist Focuses On Mycoplasma
March 4, 2016

A research scientist who has won a national award will nvestigate Mycoplasma bovis an emerging cause of contagious mastitis in Australian dairy herds.  Dr Nadeeka Wawegama, from the University of Melbourne, received the Dairy Australia Award announced at the 2016 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in Canberra on Tuesday night.

For 12 months Dr Wawegama, who holds a PhD in veterinary microbiology from the University of Melbourne, will use the $22,000 award to research the prevalence of Mycoplasma bovis infection in Australian dairy herds

Dr Wawegama said the infection has been identified as a significant problem in the nation’s herds since 2006 and that earlier studies have found at least 50 per cent of the national herd suffered from subclinical mastitis.

“It’s a problem that costs the industry more than $60 million a year,” she said.

“The identification of carrier animals is paramount as there is a lack of treatment options and no effective diagnostic tool.”

Dr Wawegama has developed a sensitive testing tool to identify infected cows and her goal is to use the award to enable her to demonstrate its suitability in ascertaining the true prevalence of Mycoplasma bovis in Australia’s cows.

Dairy Australia’s program manager for product innovation Dr Mani Iyer said mastitis was a serious problem that impacted the health of animals and farm profitability

“So I am delighted we have such a worthy recipient for this year’s award,” Dr Iyer said.

The Dairy Science and Innovation Award is a national competitive prize popular among young scientists.

Eleven winners from across agriculture, fisheries and forestry were awarded a grant of up to $22,000 each, by the Federal Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce, to fund an innovative research project that will benefit Australia’s primary industries.

The awards encourage science, innovation and new technology in primary industries and help to advance the careers of promising young innovators and scientists through national recognition of their research ideas.

By: Dairy Australia


Summer 2018