Como researcher Caroline Moffat fighting crop disease

Como researcher and Curtin University molecular plant pathologist Caroline Moffat.
Como researcher and Curtin University molecular plant pathologist Caroline Moffat.

BEING the first in the world to delete a fungal gene is one of the many accomplishments of a Como researcher whose goal is to provide long-term solutions to the problem of crop disease.

Curtin University molecular plant pathologist Caroline Moffat said she worked specifically in cereal and crop diseases which were important to the Australian economy.

“I worked on a particular disease of wheat that is caused by a fungus and we’re the first group in the world to delete a gene in the fungus,” she said.

“Ultimately, I just want the research to be translated into real impactful changes and that would ultimately help Australian farmers or growers.”

As a Senior Research Fellow and Theme Research Leader at the Centre for Crop and Disease Management, Dr Moffat’s works focus on reducing the economic impact of crop disease on the Australian grains industry.

Dr Moffat was also a finalist for the 2014 Eureka Prize for Sustainable Agriculture by developing a new test to identify disease resistant wheat.

“This test helps speed up how quickly wheat variety can be screened,” she said.

“Normally it would take three years but that test cuts it down to a couple of weeks.”Dr Moffat is one of the 60 female Australian scientists in the 2019-20 Superstars of STEM program, run by Science and Technology Australia.

The program aims to boost the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and support them to be highly visible public role models.

Dr Moffat said the aim of the program was to make scientists more relatable by showing the real faces and real stories of women working in STEM.

“I hope I get to meet good people and encourage the next generation,” she said.