Meet our PhD’s: Mijail Andrei Karpyn Esqueda, PhD La Trobe University


Current Role: Program Support – Feedbase: Farm Profit and Capability, Dairy Australia

PhD Research: Bioassays for Assessing Effectiveness of Epichloë-Endophytes in Pasture Pest Control



I looked to improve the selection of ryegrass endophyte strains for insect deterrence properties. Ultimately my project aimed to identify the alkaloid profiles of ryegrass endophytes that helped protect ryegrass against insect pests while remaining safe for cattle consumption thus increasing plant persistence and productivity.

Science Outcomes

I published an extensive literature review that context the importance of perennial ryegrass endophytes in the Australian dairy industry. The literature review sets the scene on how the dairy industry was established and the factors that make ryegrass endophytes so important nowadays

Industry Impact

In my thesis work, I found that there are many challenges while testing the efficacy of the different alkaloids produced by ryegrass endophytes (singly and in combination) on African black beetle. Current methods provide an answer that represent the outcome of variables in a point in time. I highlighted in my thesis the strengths and weaknesses of previously used methods when compared to the method used in my thesis and concluded that further research and testing is required to answer the ultimate question. Which one is the best endophyte?

The DairyBio education program

The DairyBio education program offers a range of skill training for research students wishing to further their careers by undertaking a PhD candidature. From the purely academic research structure of the university to the engagement with stakeholders that want to see the research been applied into the real world to solve real problems. The DairyBio program has opened the door for me to explore the different job opportunities that exist for a PhD graduates. I have found my calling in life in extension and science communication. I seek to be the bridge between scientists and stakeholders to better communicate the science and translate this knowledge into practical terms. Ultimately, I would like to contribute to the industry by improving productivity, increasing adoption, instating best practice, and identifying the gaps in the current system so this can be addressed.