Chris Auld


Peter Baker

School of Public Health, The University of Queensland

Peter has worked as a statistical consultant and researcher in areas such as agricultural research, Bayesian methods for genetics, health, medical and epidemiological studies for thirty years. He is a Senior Lecturer in Biostatistics at the School of Public Health, UQ where he also acts as a senior statistical collaborator and adviser to several research projects in the Faculty of Medicine.

Gabriela Borgognone

Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Gabriela Borgognone has worked as statistical consultant at the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Australia, for the last 13 years. Throughout this time, she worked as part of state and national plant breeding programs. For the last two and a half years, she has mainly been working with the food science group of the Department. Before coming to Australia, she worked in Argentina for 10 years, both lecturing at university and as statistical consultant at the National Institute of Agricultural Technology.

Ruth Butler

Plant and Food Research

Ruth Butler has worked as a consulting biometrician since 1987, first in the UK at Long Ashton Research Station for seven years, and subsequently in New Zealand for Plant & Food Research and its preceding organizations. She is based near Christchurch. She primarily works with bio-protection scientists, but has worked with a range of mainly plant-based science disciplines across her career.

Salvador Gezan

University of Florida

Salvador Gezan is statistician/quantitative geneticists with more than 20 years of experience in breeding, statistical analysis and genetic improvement consulting. He currently is an Associate Professor at the University of Florida, USA. He started his career at Rothamsted Research UK as a biometrician where he worked with GenStat and ASReml. Over the last 15 years he has taught for companies and university researchers many ASReml workshops around world

Dr. Gezan has worked on agronomy, aquaculture, forestry, entomology, medical, biological modelling, and with many commercial breeding programs applying traditional and molecular statistical tools. His research has led to more than 90 peer review publications, and he is one of the coauthors of the textbook “Statistical Methods in Biology: Design and Analysis of Experiments and Regression”.

Linley Jesson

Plant and Food Research

Linley Jesson has come from a biological research background in evolution and ecology, and taught statistics to undergraduate Biology students for over 15 years. She joined Plant and Food Research in 2016 as a Biometrician and is currently group leader of the Data Science group.

Alison Smith

University of Wollongong

Alison has worked as a biometrician for more than 25 years and is currently an Associate Professor within the Centre for Bioinformatics and Biometrics at the University of Wollongong. Her main interest is the use of linear mixed models for the analysis of data from plant breeding and crop improvement programs. Her early work focussed on the analysis of genotype by environment interaction and the methods she developed are now used in all major plant breeding programs in Australia. Alison has also extensively researched improved methods of experimental design and analysis for plant quality traits that require multi-phase testing. Most recently she has been involved in the development of the Design Tableau approach for specifying linear mixed models for comparative experiments.  Alison has published over 50 refereed journal articles and has presented her research at a number of national and international statistical and scientific conferences. She has active links with industry, including most private and public plant breeding programs in Australia.

Robin Thompson

Rothamsted Research

Helene Thygesen

Department of Conservation

Helene Thygesen studied mathematics in Copenhagen and received her Ph.D. in biostatistics from Amsterdam. She has worked as a consulting statistician for various research organizations in the UK, Netherlands and Denmark. She is currently principal statistical science adviser at the Department of Conservation, New Zealand. Helene’s interests are primarily in modelling of biological processes and in making statistical inference relevant to decision processes.

Roger Payne


Roger Payne is the Company Secretary at VSN, now working part-time after 15 years as its Chief Science and Technology Officer. He has a degree in Mathematics and a PhD in Mathematical Statistics from University of Cambridge, and is a Chartered Statistician of the Royal Statistical Society. He has led the development of Genstat since 1985, at Rothamsted prior to joining VSN. Roger was a statistical consultant and researcher at Rothamsted, becoming their expert on design and analysis of experiments, as well as leader of their statistical computing activities. His other statistical interests include generalized and hierarchical generalized linear models, linear mixed models, the study of efficient identification methods (with applications in particular to the identification of yeasts). Roger’s statistical research has resulted in 9 books with commercial publishers, as well as over 100 scientific papers. He has a visiting professorship at Liverpool John Moores University, and also retains an honorary position at Rothamsted, to help him keep in touch with practical statistics.