Dr Pat Blackall – Australian Poultry Award 2014

Poultry CRC is delighted that at the recent Australian Poultry Science Symposium in Sydney, one of our very own, Dr Pat Blackall, was awarded the Australian Poultry Award from The World’s Poultry Science Association. Dr Blackall is a Poultry CRC Research Manager, heads up the CRC’s Safe and Quality Food Production program (Program 3) and sits on a number of our committees (End-User Advisory, Executive and Science). Additionally, the humble and modest Pat offers inspiration to our researchers and students, speaking at many events with knowledge, passion and conviction. Congratulations Pat, well deserved.


Dr. Pat Blackall graduated from the University of Queensland in 1973 with a degree in microbiology and joined the Department of Primary Industries Animal Research Institute, Yeerongpilly, Brisbane as a diagnostic bacteriologist. Pat became a full time research scientist in 1980 and completed a PhD at University of Queensland in 1987.  In 2010, Pat’s laboratory moved to a new site at the EcoSciences Precinct Dutton Park Brisbane with Pat seconded to the University of Queensland. His role as research scientist expanded to include editorship of the Journal of Applied Microbiology and the Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation, as well as Research Manager for the Poultry Co-Operative Research Centre. Since 1977, Pat has been the leader of over 30 externally funded research projects with a total value of over four million dollars. Pat is also a member of the Editorial Boards of a number of scientific journals, including Avian Diseases. Pat has been a member of the Chicken Meat Committee of RIRDC for approximately eight years, voluntarily taking on the role of providing a clearing house function for international research in areas relevant to the Chicken Meat Program.

From the commencement of his career, Pat has serviced the poultry industry, initially in the diagnosis of bacterial diseases but subsequently as a research scientist, particularly on infectious coryza, fowl cholera, bordetellosis, and Campylobacter. Pat is a world-renowned expert on fowl cholera and infectious coryza and author of the chapter on infectious coryza in the text “Diseases of Poultry”. His laboratory is an international reference centre for members of the Pasteurellaceae, offering identification, serotyping and genotyping services. Pat remains a keen taxonomist and has been involved in the formal naming and description of three bacterial species, including Avibacterium paragallinarum, the cause of infectious coryza. Pat has published over 180 papers in peer-reviewed journals, written ten book chapters and delivered 245 conference papers. His contribution to science has been recognised by such awards as the Frank Fenner Research Award in 1993, the Queensland Poultry Award in 2000, a Queensland Public Service Medal in 2010 and membership of the World Veterinary Poultry Association Hall of Fame in 2013.

Dr Pat Blackall receives his award from Associate Professor Julie Roberts
Dr Pat Blackall receives his award from Associate Professor Julie Roberts

Pat’s research has had a major positive impact on the Australian poultry industries. His research has led to the development of vaccines and diagnostic tests for key poultry bacterial pathogens and his work on Campylobacter has greatly helped industry to manage its food safety programs. Some highlights of Pat’s numerous contributions to the Australian chicken industry are the development of Australia’s current infectious coryza vaccine, the first isolation and characterisation of Bordetella avium and the first detailed epidemiological studies of fowl cholera outbreaks in Australian poultry. He also developed specialised laboratory tests that are now used by all Australian vaccine manufacturers to underpin the QA and QC assays for infectious coryza and fowl cholera vaccines.

Pat has been, and continues to be, an inspiration for many young scientists. He has a passion for science which tends to rub off on others. He is always willing to help staff and colleagues with his expert advice. Many technical staff working in the poultry industry, or in organisations that service the poultry industry, in Australia and overseas can thank Pat for his assistance in fostering their careers.

Pat Blackall is a unique individual – unique for the respect he has earned from his scientific and work colleagues; unique for his passion for science; unique in his desire to make a contribution in many areas of both strategic and applied science and to the poultry industries with which he works, as well as to the community more broadly; and unique for his interest in and preparedness to help the poultry industry. Pat has spent 40 years servicing the Australian poultry industry in a diagnostic and research capacity. He is a world-renowned poultry bacteriologist. Dr. Pat Blackall is indeed a worthy recipient of the Australian Poultry Award.

February 2015

Dr Juliet Roberts

President, WPSA Australian Branch

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