Dr. Nadeeka Wawegama receives Dairy Science and Innovation Award to investigate Mycoplasma bovis an emerging cause of contagious mastitis

Thursday 03 March 2016 | From Dairy Australia

Dr. Nadeeka Wawegama, from the University of Melbourne, received the Dairy Australia Award announced at the 2016 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in Canberra on Tuesday night.

Over twelve months Dr. Wawegama, who holds a PhD in veterinary microbiology from the University of Melbourne, will use the $22,000 award to research the prevalence of Mycoplasma bovis infection in Australian dairy herds.
Dr. Wawegama said the infection has been identified as a significant problem in the nation’s herds since 2006 and that earlier studies have found at least 50% of the national herd suffers from subclinical mastitis.

“It’s a problem that costs the industry more than $60 million a year…” she said.  “The identification of carrier animals is paramount as there is a lack of treatment options and no effective diagnostic tool.”

Dr. Wawegama has developed a sensitive testing tool to identify infected cows and her goal is to use the Award to enable her to demonstrate its suitability in ascertaining the true prevalence of Mycoplasma bovis in Australia’s cows.

“Mastitis is a serious problem that impacts the health of animals and farm profitability so I am delighted we have such a worthy recipient for this year’s Award,” said Dr. Mani Iyer, Dairy Australia’s Program Manager for Product Innovation.

The Dairy Science and Innovation Award is a national competitive award, popular among young scientists. Eleven winners from across agriculture, fisheries and forestry were awarded a grant of up to $22,000 each, by the Federal Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce, to fund an innovative research project that will benefit Australia’s primary industries.
The awards encourage science, innovation and new technology in primary industries and help to advance the careers of promising young innovators and scientists through national recognition of their research ideas.

For more information on the DAFF Science and Innovation Awards visit, www.daff.gov.au/scienceawards
Dr. Wawegama and Dr. Iyer are available for media interviews. Jpg images are available on request.

Listen to a podcast interview with Dr. Wawegama below.