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Academic Project Lead and Research Project lead, Antimicrobial Honey:

Professor Dee Carter, University of Sydney


Dee Carter is Professor of Microbiology at the University of Sydney. She has a BSc (Hons) from the University of Otago, New Zealand and a PhD from Imperial College, London, UK.  She has been running an independent laboratory at the University of Sydney since 1995.

Dee conducts research on fungal pathogens and on the development of novel antifungal therapies, in particular using natural products to enhance conventional treatments. She has been researching the antimicrobial properties of honey since 2000.

Dee oversees the NSW Bushfire Recovery Project for the Apiary Industry, and is undertaking research  on Honey as an Antimicrobial, where her team is looking at the antifungal properties of NSW honey and the relationship between antimicrobial honey and hive and ecosystem health

Industry Project Lead: Stephen Targett

Stephen was raised on a dairy farm in the Bega Valley. After a career in the army he started a beef cattle stud and began his journey in bees, starting with 12 hives.  As his knowledge of bees increased he joined the Crop Pollination Association and ultimately was on the executive for over six years. During 2005 he gave up the Lincoln Red cattle stud in the Bega Valley and moved his bee business to Narrandera NSW.  He ran 280 hives and did almond, apple and cherry pollination as well as honey sales. Ultimately he ran 450 hives and concentrated on honey production along with almond and cherry pollination.  In 2015 he joined the executive of the NSW Apiarist Association.  In 2018 he became Vice President and then in 2019 became the President for two years.  His presidency started with severe drought followed by bushfires and then floods and COVID.  He was the head of the NSWAA team that helped secure the Bushfire Industry Recovery Package grant monies.

Stephen was responsible for putting together the team on the NSW Bushfire Recovery Project for the Apiary Industry. He oversees industry liaison, ensuring best outcomes for NSW beekeepers.


Project Manager and Research Project Lead, Prebiotic Honey:

Dr Nural Cokcetin, University of Technology, Sydney


Nural’s research interest is in understanding the relationship between bees, the environment and medicinal honey with the aim of supporting the apiary industry, pollination, and human health. She works closely with the Australian beekeeping and wider agricultural industries and has acquired a deep understanding of food security and biodiversity. She leads research on the bioactive properties of honey, specifically as a novel approach to combat antimicrobial resistance and as a prebiotic food to promote a healthy gut microbiome.  In the Bushfire Recovery Grant Nural leads the project investigating Honey as a Health Food, with the aim of adding value to NSW honeys.


Nural is passionate about communicating her research to a broad audience and is a frequent public speaker on bees, medicinal honey, gut health and antibiotic resistance. She appears regularly in the media as a thought leader in honey research.

In addition to overseeing her research area, Nural will be responsible for the overall management and reporting of the project, including liaising with industry and the grant funders.

Research Project Lead, Honey Chemistry: Dr Jamie Ayton, NSW Department of Primary Industries


Jamie has been with NSW Department of Primary Industries since 1995. He has worked for most of that time with the edible oil industries in Australia, mainly olive oil and canola. He has coordinated research projects determining quality and authenticity of these and other products.

More recently, Jamie has been involved in the honey industry, initially completing a comprehensive literature review of honey chemistry. Subsequently he has developed analytical methods for the analysis of quality characteristics in honey in the NSW DPI laboratories in Wagga Wagga. Jamie leads the project investigating the Composition of Honey

Jamie is a member of several technical committees, including Standards Australia, U.S. Pharmacopeia, the American Oil Chemists Society, the International Olive Council, and the Australian Oilseeds Federation. He and his team participate in worldwide inter-laboratory proficiency programs to ensure the accuracy of analytical results and they maintain NATA (ISO 17025) accreditation for their facilities.

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Pollinator-Friendly Plants Lead: Fiona Chambers, Wheen Bee Foundation


Fiona is CEO of the Wheen Bee Foundation, a registered charity that promotes awareness of the importance of bees for food security, biodiversity and ecosystem health, and funds research and development activities that address the national and global threats to bees. Fiona is an agriculturalist with more than 30 years experience working in the production and marketing of agricultural and horticultural commodities both in Australia and overseas. She is passionate about supporting landholders to safeguard bees in farm landscapes. Projects funded through this Program include:

Development of 10 NSW Powerful Pollinator Guides; Growing a network of 'Bee Friendly' Farms; and Providing Education and training to commercial beekeepers through the 5 Bees Program.  Fiona overseas our work on establishing  Pollinator-Friendly Plants across NSW farming regions.

Beekeeper Training Project Leads: Bianca Giggins andElizabeth Frost, Tocal College


Bianca is passionate about agriculture, environment and furthering the Australian beekeeping industry through training, engagement and extension. She has been beekeeping part time since graduating at Tocal in 2017. As NSW DPI Honey Bee Training Coordinator, she is responsible for the development and delivery of the Certificate III in Beekeeping and Traineeship qualifications and short courses.  Bianca oversees the compliance of accredited beekeeping training and assessment resources, course logistics, contract trainers, training apiary, calendar and student enrolments. She has held a Honey Quality Assurance Specialist role with Bees for Sustainable Livelihoods and currently represents NSW on the AHBIC Sub-Committee for Education.

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Elizabeth is the Technical Specialist - Bees with the NSW Dept. of Primary Industries. She co-manages Australia’s National Honey Bee Genetic Improvement Program (Plan Bee) with Dr. Nadine Chapman of University of Sydney,  University of New England's Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit, Better Bees WA, the Wheen Bee Foundation and beekeeping and horticulture industry stakeholders. Liz provides technical assistance to the beekeeping industry, government, media and the public and teaches queen bee artificial insemination courses at Registered Training Organisation Tocal Agricultural College.

Bianca and Liz together oversee the our work to Upskill NSW Beekeepers with the latest in beekeeping methods.

Honey as a Health Food - Academic Supervisor: Dr Erin Shanahan, University of Sydney


Erin is a gut microbiome expert based at the University of Sydney Charles Perkins Centre. Her research is focused on understanding how different nutrients in our diet impact the microbes in the gut, and in turn, how this impacts intestinal health. This is particularly important in understanding how microbes can influence inflammation in the gut, leading to tissue damage and diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease. The goal of Erin's research is to identify the components of diet that best support a health gut microbiome.  She is collaborating on the project looking at adding value to NSW by investigating Honey as a Health Food.

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Honey as an Antimicrobial, Postdoctoral Fellow: Dr Kenya Fernandes, University of Sydney


Kenya is a microbiologist in Prof Dee Carter’s team at the University of Sydney. Her PhD research involved investigating the biology of fungal pathogens and exploring new avenues of treatment for them including natural products. Kenya’s work on honey as an antimicrobial involves surveying various Australian honeys for their antibacterial and antifungal properties including peroxide and non-peroxide activity, and investigating the relationship between forest health, bee health, and the antimicrobial properties of honey through microbiome analysis.   

Honey as a Health Food - PhD Student: Kathleen Schell, University of Sydney


Kathleen undertook her Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science 2021 at the University of Technology Sydney, finishing with First Class Honours. In her Honours project, she investigated the antibacterial action of Australian Leptospermum honey to better understand how honey kills bacteria and why bacteria cannot develop resistance to it. Her work demonstrated that certain components in honey can damage the protective cell membrane of the bacteria known to cause ‘superbug’ infections, explaining one of the mechanisms behind how honey works as an antibacterial. Kathleen presented her research at national conferences and University seminars, and is now working to publish her findings.


Kathleen started her PhD in Microbiology at the University of Sydney in 2022. In her project she will examine the prebiotic potential of NSW honey to help promote gut health, as part of our research investigating Honey as a Health Food.

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