Researcher biography

Professor Neena Mitter is an agricultural biotechnologist recognised for her leadership in innovative cross-functional research and exceptional industry engagement to address global challenges of agriculture and food security. Her scientific journey began as an agricultural scientist at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India. She moved to Australia in the year 2000 and progressed to the role of the Focus Team Leader and Principal Scientist at Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) Queensland within seven years. Prof. Mitter joined QAAFI's Centre for Animal Science in October 2010. At QAAFI, her multidisciplinary background and experience makes her a leading contributor in both the Centre for Plant Science and the Centre for Animal Science. Her innovations creating change by research at UQ, namely 'BioClay for crop protection', 'Nanovaccines for animal health', and "Clonal propagation of avocado using plant stem cells" are ground breaking platform technologies impacting agricultural production, environmental sustainability and socio-economic dynamics of farming community. These revolutionary concepts with significant commercialization potential are progressing towards product development under her leadership of global multidisciplinary funding initiatives (~$8m in competitive funding from Govt, philanthropy, industry and end users). Patent protected BioClay (non-GM, non-toxic, sustainable spray for protecting crops by using clay nanoparticles to deliver RNA interference) and Nanovaccines (single dose, shelf-stable, self adjuvanting vaccines, targeting animal health using silica vesicles as antigen careers) will create a niche market for crop and animal health products. Using plant stem cells for clonal avocado plants will be a game changer for the avocado growers. It provides an alternative to the 40 year old industry practice which is unable to meet the growing demand for > 2 million new trees annually, causing backlog of orders till 2022. Her high quality research has merited 40 publications in the last 5 years even within the landscape of commercial confidentiality. She is actively championing the development of an Ag-Nano Innovation Hub at UQ as a QAAFI-AIBN initiative to increase industry investment and augment UQs role in knowledge leadership for a better world.