Dr Tim Doran is project leader of RNA interference (RNAi) technologies and is working to develop RNAi as a therapeutic for livestock diseases.
While RNAi has been evolving in plants and animals over millions of years, scientists only discovered the process and its benefits in the 1990s.
The major benefit of RNAi is that it allows gene-specific silencing - that is, researchers can 'switch off' targeted genes in animals and plants. RNAi has huge potential to control, and possibly eliminate, a number of major animal diseases.
Dr Doran leads a team of 12 research scientists and currently co-supervises two doctoral students from the University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia and Deakin University, also in Victoria.
Dr Doran is also a project leader in the Australian Poultry Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) where his team is investigating the use of RNAi to improve production traits in chickens.