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Research and Innovation

Professor Maxine Piggott

Higher Degree by Research
Dr Maxine Piggott

Professor Maxine Piggott is a molecular biologist and leads the Tropical Biosecurity Group in the Research Institute for Northern Agriculture (RINA) at CDU. The Tropical Biosecurity group aims to build research capacity in tropical biosecurity to support a science-based approach to prepare, respond and manage pests, diseases and weeds and contribute to the protection of northern Australia’s unique environment and economy. Maxine has experience in primary industry and environmental research including developing genomic and environmental DNA methods for biosecurity surveillance and detection as well as for biodiversity surveying. Her research also has a focus on developing genomic approaches for improving diagnostics and taxonomy and understanding phylogenetics and population dynamics. Maxine has a strong focus on collaborative projects to enable students to gain experience in industry and government and develop networks. She collaborates with CSIRO, Plant Health Australia, the Northern Territory Government, Commonwealth Government and other State biosecurity agencies and universities.

Research Interests:

  • Population structure and gene flow of disease vectors: investigating gene flow and natural movement pathways of disease vectors to understand how diseases could spread in northern Australia to support surveillance and epidemiological modelling.
  • Environmental DNA (eDNA) for surveillance and early detection: applying eDNA methods and technology to improve early detection and monitoring of invasive species in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
  • Endemic species as potential disease hosts and vectors: understanding the risk of endemic species in tropical Australia as potential vectors and hosts for exotic diseases.
  • Diagnostics and taxonomy: improving diagnostics for early and accurate identification of invasive species and understanding native taxonomic groups, especially in relation to endemic species in tropical Australia.

Prospective students who have an interest in developing a research career in biosecurity are encouraged to contact Maxine for further information.

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