Researcher biography

Dr Juliane Henderson is a tropical plant pathologist with over 20 years of experience in molecular diagnostics and biosecurity. Since 2000, she has worked exclusively on banana diseases, developing diagnostic tools to help protect the Australian banana industry from exotic fungal and bacterial pathogens which threaten productivity.

Dr Henderson has made significant contributions to the eradication responses of three serious banana disease incursions over the past 15 years. In 2001, she led the team responsible for diagnosing black Sigatoka in Tully, Australia's largest commercial growing region. Dr Henderson provided hands-on expertise during the campaign, working alongside traditional pathologists in far north Queensland to develop molecular diagnostic capacity for confident disease identification. These diagnostics underpinned both the eradication and the ensuring disease-free verification programs, and the greater team received an Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) Certificate of Commendation in recognition of their efforts. In 2013, the culmination of nine years research by Dr Henderson's team into another important disease threat, exotic banana freckle, provided the diagnostic tools and knowledge which is currently being used in the Northern Territory to support the eradication of this disease. The following year in 2014, Dr Henderson confirmed the diagnosis of Fusarium Wilt 'Tropical Race 4', in Tully and is now working on developing new assays to improve identification of this serious disease. Dr Henderson regularly contributes scientific expertise to technical working groups and scientific advisory panels charged with protecting the banana industry. She has a particular interest in the application of innovative technologies to address biosecurity challenges and welcomes the opportunity to work with others in similar projects.