Researchers earn promotions for excellence in nutritional physiology, immunology and zoonotic disease

Three staff of the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Melbourne have been promoted to full professor.

The staff to achieve promotion to professor are:

  • Brian Leury, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences and member of the School of Agriculture and Food
  • Phil Sutton, of the Department of Veterinary Biosciences in the Melbourne Veterinary School
  • Rebecca Traub, of the Department of Veterinary Biosciences in the Melbourne Veterinary School.

University of Melbourne policy requires that staff are to be be promoted to full professor have:

  • provided leadership and foster excellence in research, teaching and policy development in the academic discipline within the institution and within the community, professional, commercial or industrial sectors
  • attained recognition as an eminent authority in their discipline, will have achieved distinction at the national level and may be required to have achieved distinction at the international level
  • made original, innovative and distinguished contributions to scholarship, research and/or teaching in their discipline
  • published research that has achieved international recognition through original, innovative and distinguished contributions to their field.

Agricultural economist Bob Farquharson of the School of Agriculture and Food was also promoted to Associate Professor.

As previously reported, Robin Gasser has been awarded the title of Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor for or his outstanding leadership and contribution to research into the biology of socioeconomically important parasites aims to improve the health and wellbeing of both animals and humans.

Learn about the Faculty’s new professors below.

Brian Leury

Professor Brian Leury is Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences. Prior to joining the University of Melbourne in 1992, he was employed by the Western Australian Department of Agriculture and the Victorian Department of Primary Industries and he continues to be an adviser to the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries.

Professor Leury has published extensively in the areas of nutritional physiology of ruminants during pregnancy and lactation, growth and development in meat animals, and livestock production systems across a range of animal species. More recently, his research has focussed on improving the adaptation of livestock to a changing environment and to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from grazing animals.

In 2007, his research into developing a novel technique for estimating body composition in live animals using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) was recognised when he (as co-recipient) won the Minister’s Prize for Excellence in the Application of the 3R’s (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) for the use of animals in Teaching and Research: Senior Researcher category.

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Phil Sutton

Professor Phil Sutton is an immunologist at the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. He studied Biomedical Science at Bradford University in the UK before undertaking a PhD in Immunology at Manchester University. He moved to Australia in 1992 for his first postdoctoral position.

Professor Sutton is a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Senior Research Fellow with continuous funding from the NHRMC, Australian Research Council and industry partners and is a scientific committee member of the European Study Group on Pathogenesis and Immunology in Helicobacter Infections. His Mucosal Immunology group is focused on examining how the host regulates bacterial pathogenesis within the gastrointestinal tract, as well as research on mucosal vaccine development.

Professor Sutton has extensive experience in both academia and industry, including a period as Immunology group leader within the research and development division of CSL Limited, where he worked on vaccine development and adjuvant technologies.

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Rebecca Traub

Professor Traub engages in multidisciplinary and translational research linking human and animal health, focussing on parasitic zoonoses – diseases able to spread disease between animals and humans via vectors like worms and ticks. She graduated from Murdoch University with a Bachelors degree in Veterinary Medicine and Surgery in 1997 and worked in small animal practice in Perth until 2002. In 2000 she commenced her PhD on canine gastrointestinal parasitic zoonoses in tea-growing communities in Assam, India for which she was awarded the John Frederick Adrian Sprent Prize by the Australian Society for Parasitologists Inc. In 2004, Rebecca was the recipient of a three- year ARC Industry Postdoctoral Fellowship which allowed her to extend her research on canine parasitic zoonoses to Thailand. 

In 2006 she joined the University of Queensland as a Lecturer in Veterinary Public Health and widened her research interests into the development and application of molecular epidemiological and diagnostic tools to unravel public health risks posed by a range of direct, food-borne and vector-borne parasitic zoonoses. 

Professor Traub’s research expertise been formally recognized through consultations for the Gates Foundation, World Health Organization, Food and Agricultural Organisation, the Veterinary Pharmaceutical Industry, and not-for-profit organisations. Rebecca is an Associate Editor for Veterinary Parasitology: Regional Studies and Reports and the Founding Director of the Tropical Council for Companion Animal Parasites (TroCCAP).

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Story by Stuart Winthrope.