We would like to invite you to Science Protecting Plant Health 2017, to be held at the Brisbane Convention Centre, Queensland Australia, from 26-28 September 2017.

We are pleased to present an international event and host a joint conference of the Australasian Plant Pathology Society and the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre.  We will present an exciting and invigorating scientific programme that will appeal to a broad audience of researchers, students, educators and policy makers. 

Conference themes will focus on the latest science, research and practice from leaders in their fields encompassing all the disciplines of plant biosecurity and plant pathology. Recent developments, as well as future advances, will be showcased at this peak event, with presentations by international, national and local speakers in a well-rounded program augmented by poster presentations and an exciting social schedule.

Field trips, including to the spectacular “Carnival of Flowers” in Toowoomba on the Darling Downs, are currently being planned, as is a series of workshops by expert presenters on specific disciplines.

Brisbane, in the south-east corner of Queensland, has much to offer Australian and international visitors. Late September provides perfect weather – the days are typically sunny and temperatures warm without high humidity. Brisbane, surrounded by rich horticultural land, is the gateway to the amazing beaches of the Sunshine Coast to the north, the Gold Coast and Lamington Plateau to the south, the sand islands of Moreton Bay and the agricultural lands of the Darling Downs to the west.

Plan an extended visit to Queensland, and experience unique Gondwana subtropical rainforests, breeding grounds of the majestic humpback whale, pristine beaches and coral reefs.

There is much to see and enjoy in Queensland.  We look forward to welcoming you in 2017.

Ms Jennifer Cobon

 Australasian Plant Pathology Society 

Dr Michael Robinson

Plant Biosecurity CRC

Conference Convenors

Conference Committee

Jennifer Cobon | Conference Convenor & Chair
Department of Agriculture & Fisheries, Qld

Michael Robinson | Conference Convenor       
Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre


Andrew Geering | Scientific Programme    
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI),
The University of Queensland


Elizabeth Dann | Sponsorship      
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI),
The University of Queensland

Victor Galea | Treasurer           
The University of Queensland


Tony Steeper | Executive Committee       
Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre


Jo Luck | Executive Committee           
Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre

Roslyn Reen | Committee Member
The University of Southern Queensland

Elizabeth Aitken | Committee Member
The University of Queensland

Christine Horlock | Committee Member
Department of Agriculture & Fisheries, Qld


Roger Shivas | Workshops  
Department of Agriculture & Fisheries, Qld

Kirsty Owen | Field trips           
The University of Southern Queensland


Kylee Carpenter | Sponsorship 
Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre

Support for SCIPLANT 2017

Dr Geoff Garrett AO

As the world population continues to grow, our future is inexorably linked to a secure food supply and a healthy environment. Having strong plant protection and biosecurity systems is not just desirable, but is critical to our existence.

Queensland has an exemplary record of implementing successful biosecurity measures, such as the eradication of citrus bacterial canker, the control of sugarcane smut, and the containment of Panama Tropical Race 4 in banana plantations.

Such achievements are testimony to Queensland’s world-leading research and development capacity in plant protection and plant health. So it is only logical that our great state be host to an international conference that seeks to inform and provide an information exchange for the world’s leading authorities in this endeavour.

One of my passions is to see the translation of research and ideas into practical solutions. We can do so much more to improve translation through effective collaboration and communication between researchers and industry. Many of the programs developed under the Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland initiative are focussed on this very thing – and require research institutions to ‘hold hands’ with industry and end users, thereby improving the flow of ideas in both directions.

I am therefore delighted that the SCIPLANT 2017 is focussed on facilitating engagement and the exchange of ideas between researchers and the end users of this research.

I commend the SCIPLANT 2017 to all those interested in learning more about, and to applying the world’s best ideas in plant health.


Dr Geoff Garrett AO
Queensland Chief Scientist

Abstract Submissions Open

The committee is happy to announce that abstract submission for the conference is open. All abstracts are to be submitted online only.

For full topics and abstract guidelines please click on the link below.  Abstracts will be considered for both oral and poster presentations but the final decision will be made at the discretion of the program committee.


View Guidelines and Submission Process

Submit an Abstract

Call for Workshops


SCIPLANT is calling for workshop proposals as part of its program development. It is expected that workshops will be self-funded by workshop registration fees. If you are interested in running a workshop please complete below form and return to Dr Roger Shivas, SCIPLANT Workshop Convenor at roger.shivas@daf.qld.gov.au


Workshop Proposal Application form


See Current Workshops

Daniel McAlpine Memorial Lecture

Prof Barbara Howlett

Barbara Howlett has a B.Sc (Hons) in Biochemistry (University of Melbourne), M.Sc in Botany (ANU), and a Ph.D in Botany (University of Melbourne). She has worked in a diverse range of research areas including influenza, bacterial chemotaxis, pollen allergens, nitrogen fixation and plant diseases. During a sabbatical visit to Stanford University she studied genetics of the bread mould, Neurospora crassa: this laid the foundation for her subsequent research on blackleg disease of canola. Until 2015 Howlett led a national project monitoring virulence of blackleg fungal populations across Australia and developing disease management strategies for canola farmers. 

With French colleagues, Howlett’s team  sequenced the genome of the blackleg fungus. A key finding was that disease-related genes are often located in unstable parts of the genome, where gene loss and mutations readily occur. This explains how disease resistance can rapidly break down in the field. The practical applications of this discovery have had a significant impact on the profitability of the Australian canola industry.

Howlett is a Fellow of the American Society of Microbiology, the Australian Academy of Science and the Australasian Plant Pathology Society, as well as an Honorary Member of the American Mycological Society

Plenary Speakers

Prof Chris Gilligan

Professor Chris Gilligan holds a personal chair in Mathematical Biology in the Department of Plant Sciences at Cambridge, where he leads the Epidemiology and Modelling Group. His research is focused on the development and use of models to predict the spread of plant disease and to identify optimal strategies for the control of disease at scales ranging from on-farm to the landscape, regional and continental. Current applications involve models to inform the control of crop disease in the UK, US, Africa and India, as well as diseases of trees in natural vegetation in the USA and UK. His research group is contracted by the UK Government to provide emergency modelling support to respond to emerging epidemics of plant disease. Professor Gilligan also works at the interface between epidemiology and economics and on longer-term models to predict future demands for energy, land and water.

Professor Gilligan has served as Head (Dean) of Biological Sciences, one of six academic schools at Cambridge. He currently chairs the UK Joint Nature Conservation Committee (the public body that advises the UK Government and Devolved Administrations on UK-wide and international nature conservation). He also holds a Prime Ministerial appointment as Trustee of the Natural History Museum in London. He chaired the recent UK Government Taskforce on Tree Heath and Plant Biosecurity; he was chair of the Science Advisory Council for the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) (2011-14) and served two terms as a member of the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (2003-2009). He has chaired a number of other national reviews including UK research in crop science and animal health. He is a Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society, a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, a Professorial Fellow of King’s College Cambridge and a past President of the British Society for Plant Pathology.

Prof Roger Innes

Roger Innes is a Professor in the Department of 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.

 Dr. 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, and revealed that the great majority encode proteins containing nucleotide binding domains and leucine rich repeats (NLRs).  Most NLR proteins are now known to detect pathogen effector proteins indirectly, via detecting modification of effector targets. These insights are now leading to new approaches for engineering disease resistance in plants.

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. The release of extracellular vesicles is upregulated during pathogen infection and these vesicles carry numerous defense-related proteins, as well as microRNAs, suggesting an important role in immune responses

Prof Linda Kinkel

Linda Kinkel is a Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Minnesota.  She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Plant Pathology and M.S. in Biometry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed Post-doctoral research at the University of California-Berkeley.

 Dr. Kinkel’s research focuses on the ecology and evolutionary biology of plant-associated microbes in native and agricultural habitats.  She is especially interested in developing practical approaches for managing the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of antagonistic soil bacteria to enhance disease suppression.  Her current work integrates metagenomics analyses of soil and endophytic microbiomes in relation to pathogen suppression, plant host and plant community diversity, and soil carbon dynamics in agricultural and native prairie soils.  She is actively involved in the American Phytopathological Society’s Phytobiomes Initiative, and is an Associate Editor-in-Chief for the new Phytobiomes Journal.  

Dr Mark Hoddle

Mark Hoddle is an Extension Specialist in biological control and Director of the Center for Invasive Species Research at the University of California, Riverside. Hoddle received his BSc and MSc in Zoology from the University of Auckland in New Zealand and his Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in the USA. Hoddle's research focuses primarily on the classical biological control of invasive arthropod pests affecting agricultural, urban, and wilderness areas.


For more information about becoming a sponsor, please contact the Conference Secretariat for a copy of the Sponsorship Prospectus.
e: spph@yrd.com.au or p: +61 7 3368 2422

Sponsorship Prospectus

Media Releases

For the latest news please click on the links below:


July 2016 - International Plant Health Conference confirmed for Australia