top of page
12th Australasian Soilborne Diseases Symposium
Expand your knowledge and your network at the beach!
August 26-30th, 2024

Peppers Salt Resort & Spa Kingscliff

Bells Blvd, Kingscliff NSW 2487

  • Twitter
A focused environment to learn from each other and meet fellow plant pathologists


Welcome to ASDS 2024!  The Australasian Soilborne Diseases Symposium is a unique, biennial event that brings together leading researchers, practitioners and primary producers to discuss the latest trends in the diagnosis, prevention, and management of soilborne plant diseases. 


The ASDS has been promoting the latest soil health and integrated disease management advances to the world since 2001.


Pre-symposium workshops and field trips are an exciting feature of the ASDS, and combined with the symposium itself will capture the attention of participants and facilitate engagement in such trending topics in soilborne disease this year as: 

1. The influence of modern agricultural practices 

2. Innovative disease management 

3. Soil biodiversity and microbiomes 

4. Social, cultural, and educational aspects of disease


We are pleased to advise the draft program is now available.  Click button below to download


Michelle Cleary

Michelle profile 2.jpg

Associate Professor, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Michelle Cleary is an Associate Professor and Senior Lecturer in Forest Pathology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences – one of the top universities in the world in the field of agricultural and forestry science. Over the past 20 years, Michelle has worked in forest pathology and has researched a wide range of pathogens affecting forest trees in plantations and natural forest ecosystems in Canada and Europe. Michelle and her team are working towards a better understanding of the biochemical- and genetic-based interactions of indigenous and alien invasive pathogens with their host trees and the environment, which is critical to maintaining healthy, sustainable, and resilient forests in a changing world.


A main focus of her current work focuses on understanding molecular and chemical mechanisms of tree resistance in European ash (Fraxinus excelsior) to invasive threats including the ascomycete fungus (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus) and the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis). In her research line she and her group are also exploring a range of innovative research and diagnostic methods that can aid in early detection and monitoring of damaging agents to improve forest biosecurity and operational management practices. She has trained 16 Ph.D. and Masters students and 8 postdocs, and has published over 70 peer-reviewed papers. Previously, Michelle worked for the provincial government of British Columbia as a Regional Forest Pathologist in western Canada. She completed a Ph.D. in Forestry from the University of British Columbia in Canada.  


Amy Charkowski

Associate Dean, Colorado State University

Amy Charkowski is a Professor of Plant Pathology and Research Associate Dean at Colorado State University. From 20216 through 2023, she served as department head for Agricultural Biology at CSU. She earned her B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Ph.D. from Cornell University. Charkowski’s research is mainly on plant pathogens that affect seed potato production or trade, including potato viruses, Spongospora, and soft rot bacterial pathogens of potato and it has resulted in over 85 publications and multiple patents. She teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in integrated pest management and plant bacteriology. Charkowski led her department in development of a new undergraduate major in Agricultural Biology, an online Masters Degree in Pest Management, and a minor in Agricultural Data Science.  


Jonathan Plett

Associate Professor , Western Sydney University

Associate Prof. Jonathan Plett did his doctoral work at Queen’s University in Canada followed by a post doctoral research position at L’Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA; France) in Dr. Francis Martin’s group.  Jonathan is now a faculty member of the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment at Western Sydney University in Australia.  Jonathan is a pioneer in decoding the genetic basis enabling trees and crops to identify beneficial microbes versus pathogenic microbes, and characterising the signals used, in turn, by microbes to circumvent plant immune responses.  Outcomes of this research are important for screening new plant lines to find the ‘sweet spot’ in immune response that enables plants to maximise benefits from mutualistic microbes without compromising disease resistance.  These results will result in more productive tree plantations and agricultural systems.

Treena Burgess

Research Director, Murdoch University


Treena Burgess is a Research Director at the Harry Butler Institute at Murdoch University, and her current focus is on implementing the University's research strategy for sustainability while enhancing the Institute's national and international reputation in advancing scientific knowledge and understanding of the natural environment, with a particular emphasis on conservation and management of natural resources, community outreach and engagement.

As a researcher Treena has worked on the impacts of biological invasions and the role of microorganisms in natural ecosystems, plantation forestry, and horticulture. Her research has been conducted in collaboration with national and international universities and government research organizations, with support from industry and government agencies and has had tangible and demonstrable impacts on end users. Treena has contributed especially in the areas of eucalypt diseases, Phytophthora in natural ecosystems, and complex biotic and abiotic interactions in tree declines.

Aside from her day job, she is the General Secretary on the council of the Royal Society of Western Australia and the Chair of the Board of the Wetlands Centre, a NFP organisation focussed on urban wetlands conservation and restoration and environmental education.


Johan Desaeger

Associate Professor of Entomology and Nematology

Dr. Johan Desaeger was born and raised in Belgium, and he graduated as an agricultural engineer from the University of Ghent. He started working with nematodes in 1994 in Kenya at the International Center for Research in Agroforestry. After completing his PhD in Applied Biological Sciences from the University of Leuven in 2001. he moved to the U.S. to work on nematode management in vegetables at the Universities of Florida and Georgia. He made the leap to industry in 2005 when he joined DuPont to start up a nematology program at their former research facility in Delaware.

Dr. Desaeger came back to Florida and joined the UF/IFAS faculty in the summer of 2016 to build a new nematology research group at the GCREC.

ASDS 2024 Banner final.png
bottom of page