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A Culture of Collaboration


A key objective of AgriBio – the Centre for AgriBioscience - is research collaboration between the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) and La Trobe University (LTU) staff and students, leading to high quality, high impact science outcomes.

Research teams from DEPI and LTU in AgriBio are led by Professor German Spangenberg, Director AgriBio (DEPI) and Professor Terry Spithill, Director AgriBio (LTU), respectively.

Professor German Spangenberg Photo

Professor German Spangenberg, FTSE

Executive Director, Biosciences Research Division
Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries

After completing a MSc (Agricultural Sciences) at the University of Uruguay, Uruguay and PhD from the University of Heidelberg and Max-Planck-Institute of Cell Biology in Heidelberg, Germany, Professor Spangenberg undertook postdoctoral studies at the Max-Planck-Institute of Cell Biology and the Institute of Plant Sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zuerich, Switzerland.

He has held positions as Assistant Professor and Associate Professor at the ETH Zuerich where he obtained his DSc in AgriBiotechnology, before joining the Department of Primary Industries (DPI), Victoria where he held positions as Director, Plant Biotechnology Centre and Research Director, Plant Genetics & Genomics. Professor Spangenberg is currently Executive Director, Biosciences Research Division, DEPI, and Professor Plant Genetics & Genomics with La Trobe University. He is also Chief Scientist of the Dairy Futures Cooperative Research Centre; Director and Chief Scientific Officer of the agricultural biotechnology company Phytogene Pty Ltd and Chief Scientific Officer of the agricultural biotechnology company Gramina Pty Ltd.

He has a strong record of research in agricultural biotechnology. He was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in 2007 for his inspiring and innovative research in agricultural biotechnology and as a world leader in pasture plant genomics and gene technology. He was the recipient of the Australian Thinker of Year 2006 Award in recognition of his world class innovations in pasture plant genomics and biotechnology and his leadership in bringing these innovations to the marketplace for the benefit of the wider community and temperate grassland agriculture worldwide.

German is currently President of the International Association for Plant Biotechnology.


Professor Terry Spithill Photo

Professor Terry Spithill

Head of Department, Agricultural Sciences, La Trobe University

After completing a PhD (Biochemistry) at Monash University in 1977, Terry undertook postdoctoral studies at Mahidol University (Thailand), Colorado State University and UCLA (1977-1981).

Since 1981, he has held positions as a Research Scientist at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, Parkville; Head of Department at Victorian Institute of Animal Science, Attwood; Associate Professor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Monash University, Clayton; Director of the Institute of Parasitology, McGill University, Canada) where he held a prestigious Canada Research Chair in Immunoparasitology (2002-7).

In 2007, he returned to Australia as a Strategic Research Professor at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga. In December 2010 Terry joined La Trobe University where he will continue his work using molecular approaches to develop vaccines or drugs to control parasitic diseases. 

His recent research has focused on the parasites Fasciola (liver fluke) and Plasmodium (malaria) studying areas such as host immune responses to parasites, parasite immune evasion mechanisms, drug resistance, parasite proteomics and vaccine and drug target discovery.

He is characterising parasite molecules that determine virulence and pathogenesis using genomic and proteomic approaches with the long term aim of developing vaccines based on these molecules.

Terry is currently President of the Australian Society for Parasitology.



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Page last updated: 23-Jul-2019