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Dr Deborah Hailstones is the Program Leader for the Diagnostics Research Program in the Cooperative Research Centre for National Plant Biosecurity. Deb has over 20 years experience as a molecular biologist, joining New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (NSWDPI) late in 1997 after ten years in medical research. She leads a range of research and diagnostic projects providing protection and biosecurity for the horticultural industries of New South Wales through the design and implementation of molecular technologies. The group includes core laboratory staff and Honours and postgraduate students, and runs workshops to transfer testing technologies to other stakeholders. 


Recent activities include the development of three national diagnostic standards, a leading role in the diagnostic response and follow-up research for the citrus canker incursion of 2004/5 and the adaptation of methods to discriminate strains of Queensland fruit fly.


In March 2007 Deb was selected as Research Leader for the Production Horticulture Unit at NSWDPI. The unit's objective is to develop improved technology and management techniques for the horticulture industry and to overcome barriers to market access. The unit links to others in NSWDPI to provide integrated and multidisciplinary programs that are outcome focused. 


Deb's research interests include:

  • molecular detection and differentiation of plant pests and pathogens and characterisation of plant germplasm
  • evaluation and development of novel platforms to identify and deliver improved technologies to detect and differentiate closely related pests and pathogens of horticultural industries
  • molecular basis of plant/pathogen interactions.