About Us

About Us

The Australasian Grain Science Association (AGSA) provides a forum for Australasian grain scientists, students, nutritionists and others with an interest in grain science, to advance the knowledge and understanding of grain science and the grain industry. It serves individuals in the grain food and allied industries, the agrifood sector, research and education.

AGSA began as a cereal chemists’ learned society in 1951, and met under the umbrella of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) until 2009. It is managed by an executive committee which is democratically elected from, and by, members annually.

Through conferences and other activities, AGSA facilitates exchange of information, networking and communication relevant to the Australian grain industry. Through its awards, AGSA has a long history of recognising outstanding achievement in the grain sciences and allied industries.

AGSA History

The inaugural meeting of an Australian independent cereal chemists association was 17-19 October, 1951, at the Old Sydney Technical College. Conferences have been held annually to serve the needs of the profession.

Vision

A vibrant Australasian grain science community delivering positive impact to industry and society.

Mission Statement

AGSA will foster innovative grain science and promote a sustainable grains industry with positive impacts on society. We will connect grain scientists, support career development, curate grain science methods, facilitate discussion on emerging science, industry and society issues, and be a voice for the Australasian grain science community nationally and internationally.

Australian Grain Science Association Council 2020-2021

Executives

ChairCassandra Walker

Dr Cassandra Walker is a senior research scientist with Agriculture Victoria based in Horsham. Her background is in analytical chemistry (Federation University, 1995), and completed her PhD at the University of Melbourne in 2014. Dr Walker plays a key role in the Seed Phenomics and Quality Traits laboratory. Her main research strengths are the development of innovative, rapid sensor technologies, particularly the application of NIR (Near Infrared Reflectance) and image analysis to advance agricultural research, whether it is assessing grains, plant material or seed. Dr Walker is widely published in using sensor technologies to advance breeding selection, and has a keen interest in the impact of climate change on grain quality, in particular elevated CO2. Dr Walker has been a committee member in various roles of both the Royal Australian Chemical Institute – Cereal Chemistry Division and AGSA for over 20 years.

Vice ChairSushil Dhital

Sushil completed his PhD at The University of Queensland in 2011 elucidating the structure-property relations of starch granules. This was followed by a research fellow position at UQ, examining the starch-plant cell walls interactions. Sushil joined Monash University (Department of Chemical Engineering) in July 2019. Sushil currently serves as Editor for the journal Carbohydrate Polymers and in the Editorial Board of journals Food Hydrocolloids and Food Chemistry. His stronghold and research interest are on relating the plant molecular structures to macroscopic properties with relevance to food, health, and product development. He uses cross-disciplinary approaches drawing from physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering. He uses various in-vitro and in-vivo models to elucidate the fundamental mechanisms beyond the nutritional and processing functionality of food and food ingredients.

SecretaryJennifer Dang

Jennifer Dang has a background in Food Science and Technology (UNSW) and completed a PhD in Agriculture (University of Sydney) in 2004, concentrating on rice chemistry. Jennifer is the Applications Manager at PerkinElmer Sydney, formerly Perten Instruments of Australia. Her main roles include managing applications projects for PerkinElmer’s rheological instrumentation, and providing training and support to distributors and customers on applications using those instruments.

TreasurerPhilip Downie

After graduation in 1974 Philip began his career at the Victorian Department of Agriculture in Horsham working in wheat quality. Philip was responsible for small-scale quality evaluation of Victorian wheat breeders’ lines as well as developing and evaluating new tests for small samples. Philip then moved to AWB and represented AWB on various State Variety Evaluation and Release committees. He developed and introduced the use of control varieties as a more objective means of classification of new varieties. And with others Philip was responsible for grade blending operations to meet market requirements. Philip then became Managing Director at Perten Australia, he was responsible for day to day operations, sales, finance, accounts and service activities and for developing new products and directions for the international company. Philip is now a consultant and has worked with Nugrain, AWB, Pfeuffer GmbH, been a panel member for the Australian Wheat Variety Classification Panel (AWVCP) and assessed wheat quality data supplied by breeders for the AWVCP. He has worked in various voluntary roles within the Cereal Chemistry Learned Society and the Australasian Grain Science Association in since 1996.

Public OfficerLindsay O'Brien

Dr Lindsay O’Brien was appointed wheat breeder at the Victorian Crops Research Institute in 1968 and from 1982 to 1988 led the wheat breeding and cereal chemistry programs. From 1988 until 2001 he was Director of the University of Sydney’s I. A. Watson Grains Research Centre in Narrabri. From 1968 to 2001 he was involved with the breeding of 16 wheat varieties. In 2001 he was engaged by LongReach Plant Breeders to design and source the germplasm for their national wheat breeding program which since has developed 27 varieties. Dr O’Brien has published widely on wheat breeding and grain chemistry. Dr O’Brien was a committee member and past Chairman of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute Cereal Chemistry Division and was awarded the Division’s F B Guthrie Medal for contributions to grain breeding and chemistry in 1997. Dr O’Brien is a founding member of AGSA and is currently the Public Officer for the Association and Chair of the Associations Awards Committee. Dr O’Brien was awarded the Associations Bond Medal in 2016 for contributions to the grains industry and to the Association. He is affiliated with Solheimar Pty Ltd and University of Sydney Plant Breeding Institute, Narrabri, NSW.

Members

MembersHaelee Fenton, Marcus Newberry, Joe Panozzo, Jesse Beasley
Co-optedChris Blanchard, Vito Butardo Jr.
Ex-officioLindsay O’Brien (2021 Conference Chair)

AGSA Patron

PatronColin Wrigley

Colin Wrigley was appointed to the CSIRO Wheat Research Unit in 1961 as an Experimental Officer, after gaining an MSc in Biochemistry, University of Sydney. During leave‐of‐absence in 1964‐1966, he obtained a PhD (Agricultural Chemistry, University of Sydney) and spend 1969‐1970 at the University of Manitoba, Canada. Returning to CSIRO, he continued in research on wheat composition and genetics in relation to functional properties, later becoming a Chief Research Scientist and in charge of the laboratory.

He retired early (age 59), and continued as a Post‐Retirement Fellow in CSIRO (1997‐1999) and later as a Consultant to the Wheat CRC (in its two versions), working in the CSIRO Food Research laboratories.

For the past decade, his research activities have been restricted, being full‐time carer for his wife, Jan, but he has continued with PhD supervision and writing mainly by e‐mail. The recent writing and editing has produced encyclopaedias (two editions, ten years apart), a few books and many book chapters. His publications total over 600 items, including research papers, books, book chapters, patents, etc.

Colin Wrigley has held various offices in the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, including Chairman of the Cereal Chemistry Division. He is currently as an Honorary Professor at the University of Queensland.

Awards 1987‐2013:

  • H.G.Smith Medal and FRACI (RACI, 1987)
  • F.B.Guthrie Medal (CCD RACI, 1987),
  • T.B.Osborne Medal and Life Member AACCI (1992),
  • Harald Perten Prize (ICC, 1994),
  • GRDC Senior Fellowship for study overseas (1994),
  • OlléPrize (RACI, 2005),
  • Member of the Order of Australia (AM, 2009),
  • Bailey Medal (ICC, 2013),
  • ISI Highly Cited Researcher