Skip to main content

Researchers awarded $1.23 million grant

Congratulations to Associate Professor Gary Dykes and Dr Ranil Coorey who have been awarded a $1.23 million grant from the Australian Meat Processors Corporation. Grant-related research will focus on a range of topics related to public health and international market access in the red meat microbiology area.


Research will focus on the red meat microbiology area (pictured - Salmonella).
Research will focus on the red meat microbiology area (pictured - Salmonella).

Funding body: Australian Meat Processors Corporation (AMPC).

Name: ‘An integrated scholarship program in red meat safety and microbiology’.

Investigators: Associate Professor Gary Dykes and Dr Ranil Coorey and Dr Narelle Fegan, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

Amount: $1.23 million over 4 years.

Funding to be used for: 1 post-doctoral research fellow, 3 PhD scholarships, 6 Masters scholarships and 6 undergraduate scholarships. All associated research project costs. Yearly forum with stakeholders including industry.

Research focus: The research conducted will focus on a range of topics in the red meat microbiology area related to public health and international market access. For example, one project will look at the ability of the foodborne pathogen Salmonella to survive stresses (heat, chilling, acid) that it may encounter during red meat processing. Another project will examine the impact of microbial community diversity (a microbiome approach) on red meat carcasses during processing, and its impact on meat safety and quality.

One project will look at the ability of the foodborne pathogen Salmonella (pictured) to survive stresses.
One project will look at the ability of the foodborne pathogen Salmonella (pictured) to survive stresses.

Summary from proposal: Curtin proposes to establish, in partnership with AMPC and CSIRO Food and Nutrition, an integrated scholarship scheme in the area of red meat safety and microbiology. This area is of considerable importance to the industry from both a regulatory and market access perspective.

The proposed scheme is unique in that it will expose scholarship holders to the expertise (supervision and lecturing) in this area from all organisations (Curtin, AMPC and CSIRO) in an extended and focused manner. It is also unique in that it is truly national and will allow PhD scholarship holders to take up their research in state-of-the-art facilities in the capital cities of any of four states.

Both the partner organisations have demonstrated their commitment to the scheme by providing cash contributions to bolster the input from AMPC. A defined approach to facilitate transition of scholarship holders to industry is suggested. The integrated scholarship scheme will include scholarships for undergraduate, coursework postgraduate and PhD scholarships, and a postdoctoral fellowship. A yearly forum to facilitate knowledge sharing among the scholarship holder, the partners, AMPC and the red meat processing industry will also be facilitated by the scheme.

The key outcomes of the scheme will be graduates at a range of levels with expertise in the red meat safety and microbiology area. These graduates will be aware of the actual issues the industry faces in this area and be ready to enter the red meat processing industry workforce with this knowledge.

Associate Professor Gary Dykes

Associate Professor Gary Dykes is Deputy Head of the School of Public Health. He is an experienced and internationally recognised researcher in the area of microbiology ecology with a focus on food-borne pathogens. His work has included significant components of microbial genetic and metagenomics. He completed his undergraduate training and PhD at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. He subsequently worked at a number of universities and research organisations in Malaysia, New Zealand and Canada, as well as in Australia. He has worked closely with industry and has been successful in obtaining grants from government, industry development corporations and industry. He has provided industry with a number of science-based solutions for the control of pathogenic bacteria.

Dr Ranil Coorey

Dr Coorey is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Public Health. He has developed and established commercial food safety management systems, and designed food processing facilities, while working in the food industry in many countries. He is currently working on industry-funded projects on chicken food safety and spoilage-related research. He also holds an international collaborative research project on safe chicken processing and handling.

Written by Associate Professor Gary Dykes

Deputy Head of School
School of Public Health