Will is a plant pathologist at the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, Menangle, working on rust diseases. He is currently monitoring the Australian population of Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici, the plant pathogen that causes wheat stripe rust, for new incursions from overseas and for new virulence mutations.
Will has a PhD from the University of New South Wales. He has published multiple articles on plant‑microbe interactions in journals including Nature Plants and FEMS Microbiology Ecology and is an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Sydney where he has co‑supervised postgraduate research students in the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment. Will also co‑supervises students in the School of Science and Health at Western Sydney University.
Will specialises in the rust diseases caused by Puccinia striiformis which includes stripe rusts of wheat, barley, cocksfoot and barley grass. Wheat stripe rust alone costs the Australian economy $127 million p.a. Will is interested in understanding how rust diseases persist in the environment; how they spread; and how they evolve over time.
His recent work includes re‑establishing an Australasian cereal rust survey. The cereal rusts of New Zealand were monitored by Australian scientists until 2001. Funding from the Plant Biosecurity CRC, the Foundation for Arable Research New Zealand and the Grains Research and Development Corporation as well as strong support from Plant and Food Research New Zealand, the University of Sydney and the NSW Department of Primary Industries has enabled the cereal rust survey in New Zealand to be restarted after a 10 year hiatus.