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Sheep researcher among UNE’s best and brightest

Tuesday 3rd of May 2016
Michelle Dever with UNE's Chancellor James Harris and Vice-Chancellor Annabelle Duncan at her graduation on 30 April.
Michelle Dever with UNE's Chancellor James Harris and Vice-Chancellor Annabelle Duncan at her graduation on 30 April.

Sheep CRC post-graduate researcher Michelle Dever has been named among the best and brightest from the University of New England (UNE), receiving on Saturday the Chancellor's Doctoral Research Medal at the Autumn Graduation Ceremony (April 30).

Up to four of these medals are awarded in Armidale each autumn for doctoral research that is of exceptional merit and at the forefront of the respective research field.

Following the completion of her PhD under Sheep CRC's post-graduate training program, she was understandably ecstatic to receive news of this exclusive accolade.

"This was a huge shock I must admit, but I'm very pleased that all the hard work involved in putting my thesis together has paid big dividends," Dr Dever said.

Dr Dever’s research focused on improving the effectiveness of gastrointestinal nematode control for meat-breed lamb production systems on the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales.

"The study showed the effects of worms on meat-breed lamb and ewe performance are small, indicating considerable resilience of these breed types to parasite infection," she said.

"Integrated parasite management programs were shown to reduce worm egg counts while at the same time reducing the number of drenches required to control the parasites. The combination of fewer drenches and more effective control should slow the development of drench resistance as well as increasing profitability.

"Outcomes from these experiments have provided a solid platform to improve intestinal parasite control programs appropriate to the breed types and production systems in a summer-dominant rainfall region."

Since completing her doctoral research Dr Dever has been working for Coopers Animal Health as a Technical Advisor (Ruminants), based in Armidale.

According to UNE Associate Professor of Animal Science Lewis Kahn, having a post-grad researcher of Dr Dever's calibre choosing to continue her career in livestock was a huge benefit to the industry.

"The industry is in very safe hands with the likes of Michelle Dever working hard to protect and improve the health and productivity of Australian livestock," Dr Kahn said.

"Hopefully, through initiatives such as the Sheep CRC’s post-grad training program, future high-achieving PhD students can follow suit and give back to agriculture following their studies."

Each year the Sheep CRC sponsors a number of postgraduate students to undertake postgraduate research programs.

Graduate tracking surveys completed between 2009 and 2013 demonstrated that 70 per cent of postgraduates have since found employment directly within the sheep and cattle industries, and that 90pc had been retained more broadly within agriculture.


More information on applying for Sheep CRC sponsored post-graduate training positions is available at www.sheepcrc.org.au.


Media contact: Melissa Aisthorpe on 0428 614 401

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