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Published: 11 Aug 2022

During National Science Week 2022, we are catching-up with some of TIA’s researchers, who work across a wide variety of areas to help transform the knowledge of agriculture, food production and post farmgate practices of Tasmania’s farmers, to create sustainable economic benefit for Tasmania and the world.

National Science Week is Australia’s annual celebration of science and technology.

National Science Week 2022 (August 13-21) officially starts this weekend and features exhibitions, festivals, workshops, and performances displaying the wonders of science.

Dr Jay (‘Chawalit’) Kocharunchitt is a Senior Research Fellow in Food Microbiology at TIA.

Jay’s research areas include the physiology and ecology of bacteria under conditions relevant to foods during their processing and storage, with a view to enabling the development of effective strategies to enhance the microbiological safety and quality of foods.

What is the coolest thing about being a scientist?

There are many cool things for being a scientist. The best of all (to me) is to get to use science to understand and solve both current and emerging problems that matter to us. Also, I have an opportunity to work in the area I really enjoy, while getting to learn something new and do something different every day.

Why did you choose to follow this study/career path?

We all love foods especially when they are fresh. However, it has become so challenging for the food industry to meet the demands for producing fresh foods with minimal processing. I choose to become a Food Microbiologist to accept that challenge. Accordingly, my research focuses on the development of ‘best practices’ that lead to production of safe and wholesome foods while meeting that demand. This is so that everyone can enjoy foods that are truly ‘fresh’.

What are you working on right now that is especially exciting?

I am currently working on various projects with the Australian industry in meat safety and quality. One of these projects aim to develop a decision support tool for the industry to manage better meat supply chains. I am especially excited about this tool as it will transform the way the industry monitors and manages their products in diverse supply chains, delivering safe and high-quality products to us.

Do you have any advice for students considering studying science?

Science is more than just facts, so my advice is not to memorise these facts but instead try to understand them.