Dr Peter Hunt

Team Leader

Contact details:

Biography

My main expertise is in molecular biology, including DNA technology and genetics. I have used my skills to study plants and animals, parasites and their hosts; addressing both basic and applied scientific questions. I'm currently involved in developing tools for the objective assessment of livestock diseases, their causative organisms and the identification of animals genetically resilient to disease stress. I'm also involved in work to develop ways of optimising whole farm management to avoid or reduce disease incidence through nutrition, vaccination and the timing of key on-farm operations. The current focus of funded projects is on gastrointestinal nematodes and the diseases they cause in sheep and poultry which cost livestock producers each year in lost production and control expenses. Similar diseases have medical importance and also effect other classes of livestock, horses and companion animals where they are kept outdoors. Currently my work is funded by Meat and Livestock Australia, and the poultry CRC. I work with collaborators in Armidale, Brisbane, Wagga Wagga and elsewhere to develop ways of more efficiently managing livestock diseases and more effectively and comprehensively monitor disease organisms. Together, these approaches will enable more effective control of these parasites and less reliance on chemicals for their control.Our over all aim is to undertake research which will:1) allow flexibility and precision in pathogen management, and 2) facilitate the development of an objective managment culture for livestock health. Endemic diseases of veterinary importance have a large impact on livestock and companion animals throughout Australia. Despite this, there is little scope to objectively assess disease incidence or the success or failure of control mechanisms. Partly, this is because there are few tools available to objectively and consistently assess diseases and the abundance of disease organisms in animals across the agricultural, urban and environmental landscape. A good system where we know where diseases are, their characteristics and the methods of control which work, would be great for Australia. Endemic diseases are important but in addition, an objective measurement culture in animal health would also allow increased surveillance, vigilance and enhanced control of any exotic disease outbreak.

Fields of Research

Current Roles

  • Team Leader
    Animal Measurement

  • Biological Safety officer
    Armidale sites

  • Project Leader
    Impact of Ascaridia galli on free range egg production

  • Project Leader
    MLA B.AHE.0315 - New option for monitoring drench resistance and movement of Barber’s Pole Worm.

  • Participating scientist
    MLA/CSU - Integration of cropping and livestock

  • Participating scientist
    H&B Strategic - Mx-genes in livestock for broad innate disease resistance

Professional Experiences

  • 2002-present

    Research Scientist, CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Armidale, NSW Australia
    CSIRO

  • 1998-2002

    Postdoctoral work, CSIRO Plant Industry, Canberra, ACT Australia
    CSIRO

  • 1995-1998

    Postdoctoral work, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland UK
    University of Edinburgh

Community and Corporate Citizenship

  • 2012-ongoing

    Biological safety officer and QAP manager, Armidale