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Personal profile

Personal profile

Regina "Reggie" Billones-Baaijens is a seasoned plant pathologist and applied molecular biologist with over 18 years of experience in scientific research and academic teaching. She specialise in the development of molecular diagnostic tools for plant pathogens and plant microbiome research.

She completed her PhD in Plant Pathology at Lincoln University, New Zealand in 2011, a Masters degree in Applied Science at Massey University in 1999 and a Masters degree in Plant Pathology, minor in Molecular Biology at the University of the Philippines – Los Baños in 2005. Her PhD research focused on the role of nurseries in the spread of Botryosphaeria dieback in New Zealand vineyards. This disease is considered a serious problem of grapevines worldwide causing cankers, dieback and eventually death of vines. She worked as a Post Doctoral Research Fellow at the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre (NWGIC) from 2014 to 2021. She is currently employed as a Research Fellow at the Gulbali Institute.


Research Interests

Specialisation: Plant Pathology, molecular diagnostics, microbial profiling, disease management, plant-disease interactions

Focus Area: Grapevine trunk disease – epidemiology, molecular diagnostics and disease management

Reggie is currently working with Asso. Prof Sandra Savocchia on grapevine trunk disease management for vineyard longevity in diverse climates of Australia. This is a collaborative project with researchers at the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) and is funded by Wine Australia. Eutypa and botryosphaeria dieback are fungal diseases that cause yield reduction, vine decline and eventual death of grapevines and are considered serious threats to the sustainability of the Australian wine industry.

The aim of the research project is to investigate the epidemiology along with development of efficient methods for pathogen detection, pruning wound management and control of these trunk disease pathogens in Australian vineyards.

Prior to her research in grapevine trunk diseases, she had eight years experience on the diagnostics, epidemiology and management of tropical plant pathogens during her stint as Crop Protection Manager for Del Monte, Philippines, Inc., a leading global producer of pineapple and tropical fruits.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

Education/Academic qualification

Plant Pathology, PhD, Botryosphaeria infections in New Zealand grapevine nurseries, Lincoln University, New Zealand

Award Date: 14 Nov 2011

Subject keywords

  • Grapevine trunk diseases, molecular diagnostics
  • Molecular diagnostics
  • Plant-pathogen interactions


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