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Heather Smyth

Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation

Associate Professor Heather Smyth is a flavour chemist and sensory scientist who has been working with premium food and beverage products for the past twenty years. With a background in wine flavour chemistry, her expertise is in understanding consumer enjoyment of foods in terms of sensory properties, structure and composition.  Heather has a special interest in describing and articulating food quality, understanding regional flavours of locally Australian grown produce, and modelling food flavour and textural properties using instrumental measurements. In recent years she has pioneered a new approach to branding Australian premium beef by focusing on developing specific sensory language to describe beef aroma and flavour, akin to that applied by the wine industry (most notably the Westholme Wagyu Flavour Wheel, commissioned by AACo).

Heather also specialises in researching what consumers want from premium products.  She has explored how human physiology, such as saliva and chewing behaviour, can impact sensory perception and therefore food choice.  Current projects involve specialty coffee, beer, wine, native plant foods, cocoa, meat and seafood, tropical fruits, cereals, dairy products and some processed products and snack foods. Heather collaborates with a number of companies and research groups to discover how and why consumers enjoy food which aids in the design and production of superior agri-food products with increased consumer value.

David Riley 

Texas A&M University

Dr. David Riley is Professor of Animal Breeding and Genomics in the Department of Animal Science and is a member of the Faculty of Genetics at Texas A&M University.  His research is focused on genomics and quantitative genetics of livestock.  He previously was Research Beef Cattle Geneticist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and University of Florida from 2000 to 2009.  Earlier he worked in all aspects of swine production, selection and service for DeKalb Agribusiness (1985 to 1995) and served in the U.S. Army.  He generated expected progeny differences (EPD, estimate of genetic merit for important traits) for two U.S. cattle breed associations for 12 years.  He has chaired advisory committees for 11 Ph.D. and 18 M.S. graduate students.  He has published 104 peer-reviewed manuscripts and has over 35 international invitations/presentations in Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Kenya, Korea, México, Panamá, and Venezuela.  He currently supervises approximately 950 research cows and their calves, including breeding programs.  He has collaborative research in Sonora, México and Gansu Province, China.  He teaches an undergraduate course in animal breeding and 3 graduate courses in quantitative genetics and prediction.  Current research efforts include the impact of prenatal stress on methylation and corresponding gene expression in beef cattle, fine mapping of livestock economically relevant traits through the development and phenotypic and genomic evaluation, genomic characterization of beef cattle adaptation traits, and genomics of beef cow fertility and longevity. 


Meat and Livestock Australia

David is a veterinarian with a PhD and background in agriculture research. In 2009, David joined Meat and Livestock Australia as the Live Export R&D Manager. Between 2012 and 2017 he was based in the Middle East, firstly as the MLA Livestock Services Manager and then as the MLA Regional Manager for MENA.

Now based in Western Australia, David is the MLA Group Manager for Productivity and Animal Wellbeing. This role focuses on delivering research and development across on farm program areas including beef, sheep and goat productivity, animal health and welfare, feedbase, feedlot and live export.

Derek Bailey

New Mexico State University

Derek Bailey is a Professor of Range Science at New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA.  After growing up on a cattle ranch and farm in southern Colorado, Derek received his PhD in Range Science and his MS and BS degrees in Animal Science at Colorado State University. Before coming to NMSU, Derek worked as a researcher for Montana State University and USDA-ARS in Oklahoma.  He also was a range management consultant in Nevada and an extension agent in Arizona. 


His research interests include precision livestock management, rangeland cattle and sheep production, grazing management and animal welfare.  In addition, he teaches courses in rangeland management, research methods and statistical analyses, low-stress livestock handling, plant communities, vegetation monitoring and rangeland restoration.  

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