Joint Graduate School in Plant and Food Science

Our staff

Find below a list of staff from both The University of Auckland and Plant & Food Research who are currently involved in research projects at the Joint Graduate School in Plant and Food Science.

Please email our scientists directly if you have any questions or would like to discuss graduate research opportunities in more detail.


Staff at The University of Auckland

Name Department Research interests Email
Associate Professor David Barker School of Chemical Sciences The synthesis of organic molecules, efficient synthetic methods, novel molecular structures

Dr Karine David

School of Biological Sciences Plant hormones
Dr Rebecca Deed School of Chemical Sciences Plant molecular science and wine microbiology

Professor Mohammed Farid Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering Food process engineering
Dr Anne Gaskett School of Biological Science Sensory ecology

Professor Mat Goddard School of Biological Sciences Wine science, wild and wine yeast ecology
Associate Professor Michael Hautus Department of Psychology Testing and modelling of auditory, visual, and flavour judgment
Associate Professor Greg Holwell School of Biological Sciences Ecology, evolution and behaviour

Dr Nijat Imin School of Biological Sciences Plant molecular biology and biochemistry

Professor Bryony James Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering Food materials science and microstructure analysis, food structure/property relationships, food texture and oral breakdown
Dr Andrew Jeffs Institute of Marine Science Aquaculture, seafood and marine nutraceuticals
Professor Paul Kilmartin School of Chemical Sciences Wine aroma development, antioxidants and novel conducting polymer materials
Dr Sarah Knight School of Biological Sciences Ecology and evolution, population genetics, molecular ecology, phylogenetics

Dr Duncan McGillivray School of Chemical Sciences Biological membranes and membrane proteins
Dr Jennifer Miles-Chan School of Biological Sciences

Professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu Clinical Trials Research Unit Public health nutrition, dietary interventions
Professor Conrad Perera School of Chemical Sciences Chemistry and technology of food processing, development of functional food ingredients
Professor Ant Poole School of Biological Sciences Molecular evolution, comparative genomics, evolutionary bioinformatics

Professor Sally Poppitt School of Biological Sciences Human nutrition, clinical intervention trials; obesity and weight control; appetite regulation; diabetes and dardiovascular Risk

Professor Joanna Putterill, JGS Director School of Biological Sciences Molecuar biology of flowering time
Associate Professor Siew-Young Quek School of Chemical Sciences Lipid research, New Food Product Development, Food Waste Utilisation, Biodegradable/ Nanocomposites Food Packaging
Dr Viji Sarojini School of Chemical Sciences Plant diseases, antimicrobial peptides, dietary amino acids and proteins
Professor Jadranka Travas-Sejdic School of Chemical Sciences Advanced polymeric materials, bioelectronics, polymer electronics devices.

Prof Brent Young Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering Food process simulation and control, and process development and design

Co-appointed staff

Name Research area Research interests Email
Professor Andrew Allan Breeding & Genomics Plant genomics and gene regulation

Dr Robin MacDiarmid Bioprotection Plant viruses, antiviral mechanisms of plants

Professor Richard Newcomb Food Innovation Molecular basis of chemical sensing

Dr David Pattemore Sustainable Production Bee pollination

Dr Robert Schaffer Breeding & Genomics Fruit texture, ripening and cell wall, and role of ethylene

Professor Max Suckling Bioprotection Chemical ecology of insects

Associate Professor Matt Templeton Bioprotection Molecular basis of specificity of fungal plant pathogens

Dr Nick Waipara Biosecurity Plant diseases, plant biosecurity and Vision Mātauranga

Associate Professor Maren Wellenreuther Genomics, proteomics and metabolomics Genomics, population genetics and Finfish breeding


Staff at Plant & Food Research

Name Research area Research interests Email
Dr Charles Ampomah-Dwamena Genomics, Plant science Plant pigments, plant gene expression, plant biotechnology
Dr Craig Anderson Soil science Soil Science, soil microbiome
Dr John Anderson  

Practical plant breeding, especially potatoes
Dr Ross Atkinson Breeding, Genomics, Plant science Characterisation of flavour and aroma genes in plants, molecular biology of fruit development and ripening, physiology and biochemistry of fruit cell walls, overexpression of genes in plants and E.coli (biofermentation) for high throughput functional analysis, fruit allergens
Dr Gonzalo Avila Entomology

Biological control
Dr Mike Beare Soil science

Soil Science
Dr Joanna Bowen Plant pathology Molecular basis of plant-pathogen interactions, plant disease genomics
Dr David Brummell Postharvest science Plant cell walls, fruit softening, postharvest, plant biotechnology
Dr Sean Bulley Breeding & Genomics Vitamin C and primary metabolism in plants, plant allergens and plant biotechnology
Dr Jeremy Burdon Postharvest science Postharvest science, fruit disorders
Dr Libby Burgess Entomology Impacts of agricultural management systems and practices on arthropod biodiversity, biological control, potential impacts of new technologies on beneficial and pest invertebrates
Dr David Chagne Breeding and genetics Molecular genetics, genomics, plant gene mapping
Dr Brent Clothier Soil science Soil Science, water, climate change, ecosystem services
Dr Kevin Davies Breeding & Genomics Biosynthesis and function of plant pigments
Dr Ashraf El-Sayed Bioprotection Chemical ecology
Dr Richard Espley Genomics, Plant science Plant pigments, plant gene expression, plant Biotechnology
Dr Kerry Everett Bioprotection Applied plant pathology
Graham Fletcher Food Innovation High pressure processing of seafood and produce
Dr Toshi Foster Plant science Plant genetics, genetic basis of dwarfism and flowering
Dr Adam Friend Crop production/physiology, Viticulture and wine research Winter chilling in Ribes, bud break of Vitis and Actinidia, yield development in perennial fruit crops, rootstocks for Vitis, Pyrus & Actinidia
Dr Keith Funnell Plant science, Crop production/physiology New Crops Development, plant growth regulator involvement, flowering control, controlling the postharvest changes in pigmentation expression in flower spathes of Zantedeschia
Sravani Gupta Food processing, Food science Novel food processing technology, food microbiology, seafood processing and preservation technology, food science, food engineering
Dr Ian Hallett Food Innovation Microscopy, plant microstructure, fruit texture/softening
Dr Roger Harker Sensory and consumer science Sensory and consumer science, fruit physiology
Dr John Ingram Human nutrition, Functional foods and nutraceuticals Regulation of food intake and energy balance in humans, role of taste receptors and nutrient transporters, role of phytochemicals in modulating macronutrient absorption in the gut, modelling hormone secretion and neuroendocrine function
Dr Sara Jaeger Food Innovation Sensory science, consumer psychology and behaviour, product innovation
Dr Jason Johnston Food Innovation Fruit ripening and stress response
Dr Andrew Kralicek Food Innovation Insect and humal olfaction and taste, membrane protein structure/function, cell-free protein synthesis
Dr Louise Malone   Beneficial biodiversity in productive ecosystems, impacts of transgenic plants on non-target invertebrates, ecological impacts of silver nanoparticles, impacts of entomopathogens on horticultural pests, natural enemies of fruit or vegetable pests
Dr Ken Marsh

Breeding & Genomics Genes controlling acidity and flavour in fruit crops
Dr Damian Martin Viticulture and wine research Wine making, influences of environment and inputs on grapevine eco-physiology and wine composition
Dr Tony McGhie Plant science, Food science, Functional foods and nutraceuticals Phytochemical analysis, metabolomics, flavonoids, carotenoids, plant food composition and health
Dr Suman Mishra Food science, Human nutrition Carboydrates
Dr John Monro Food science, Food processing, Human nutrition, Functional foods and nutraceuticals Glycaemic response, colonic health, dietary fibre, carbohydrate digestion, in vitro digestive analysis
Marco Morgenstern Food Innovation Food structure and texture measurement
Dr Ranjith Pathirana Breeding and genetics Plant cell and tissue culture, cell cycle and programmed cell death, plant cryopreservation, In vitro mutagenesis, In vitro applications in plant breeding
Dr Erik Rikkerink Bioprotection, plant pathology Disease resistance and host-pathogen interaction
Dr Doug Rosendale Food science, Human nutrition, Functional foods and nutraceuticals Honey, Food-microbe-host interactions, High-throughput bioassays
Dr Darryl Rowan Food science, Functional foods and nutraceuticals, Genomics Metabolomics/metabolic profiling, biomarker discovery and validation, flavour volatiles, biosynthesis using stable isotope labelling
Dr Alla Seleznyova Sustainable Production Architectural analysis of plant growth and functional-structural plant modelling
Dr Grant Smith Bioprotection, Biosecurity, Plant pathology, Genomics Integrated viral sequences in plant genomes, molecular diagnostics, encoded proteins in viral sequences, diversity and population structure of pathogen populations,
Dr Kimberley Snowden Plant science Plant architecture, plant hormones and signal transduction
Roy Storey Bioinformatics and biostatistics, Genomics Bioinformatics, computational Biology
Dr Erika Varkonyi-Gasic Plant science Plant flowering, plant dormancy, gene editing and gene expression, woody perennial crops
Dr Benjamin Warren Bioinformatics and biostatistics Bioinformatics, machine Learning
Dr Claudia Wiedow Breeding and genetics Plant diversity studies, molecular marker systems and mapping, high throughput techniques used in fruit genetics, research towards marker assisted selection (MAS) for breeding programs
Dr Allan Woolf Food Innovation Postharvest physiology, disinfection, disinfestation, HPP/UHP, avocado and olive oil