Dr Katie Dunne

NSW DPI. Development Officer - Viticulture. 

I am a member of the Australasian Plant Pathology society which I joined last year when I joined the DPI as I have continued my interesting plant pathology and vine health. Recently I was an associate/steward at the Riverina Wine shows. I like to help out with these events when I can which started at the Royal Hobart Wine Show while completing my PhD.

What attracted you to your current role?

The close interactions with winemakers attracted me to my current role, being able to link R&D outcomes into the real world, and helping winemakers make the most of the microbiology in their winemaking.

What is one of your interesting findings in your research career?

My PhD focusing on botrytis enabled me to use Precision Viticulture to spatially map the spread of botrytis.  I was able to collaborate with Dr Rob Bramley at CSIRO on this part of my PhD.  It helped us to understand how there will be different epidemics within the block.  The fact that we used a whole block for the trial and commercial equipment enabled aided in showcasing the results as industry can relate to its practical nature.  The data we were able to obtain from soil conductivity and vine vigour and relating it back to disease severity was interesting.  I still like to use the maps to highlight the fact that you still need to understand what is going on across the whole site.  

What inspires you?

The ability of people to find an inner strength when it seems the world/ mother nature is trying to conspire against them.  

Whom do you look up to the most and why?

I have been fortunate enough to have worked with many colleagues that I consider my mentors both here in Australia and overseas.  I have learnt a lot from them and continue to do so. I also admire the resilience of the growers of our industry and their ability to adapt to life’s challenges.

Outside of work, what are interesting facts about yourself?

I enjoy cooking and use it as mechanism to switch my brain off.  My colleagues appreciate it as it generally means I will bring what ever I bake in for them to demolish. Horses are my other passion having grown up around them.

What is the best career advice you’ve been given?

1)      When in doubt trust your gut instinct, rarely is it wrong

2)      You never stop learning (that is you can never know too much)

What advice or recommendation do you have for students interested in a science career?

I would encourage anyone to consider a career in science, it can lead to anything.  I was very lucky that I had a very good guidance officer and two teachers that thought I wasn’t crazy in wanting to pursue a career in the wine industry.  The path started there and continues.

How long have you been a member of ASVO and why would you recommend ASVO to your colleagues?

I joined the ASVO when I was completing my PhD in 2007.  I would recommend the ASVO as it enables all facets of the industry to come together for the common goal of sharing scientific knowledge with the goal that it can be practically applied.  I am always looking up the journal archives for historical papers and ideas that we can try to implement or find a solution to a problem.