New Director for Plant and Food Graduate School

18 February 2011

Associate Professor Michael Pearson has been appointed as the inaugural Director of the new Joint Graduate School in Plant and Food Science, a collaboration between The University of Auckland and Plant & Food Research.

The Joint Graduate School in Plant and Food Science was created in November 2010, the first collaboration of its kind in New Zealand. The School will focus on industry-linked postgraduate research programmes for students with an interest in plant science, including plant pests and diseases, and in food science related to plant-derived foods, functional foods, food ingredients and nutraceutricals.

Dr Pearson first joined the University in 1983. He is a lecturer in both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching programmes in the School of Biological Sciences, and also supervises the largest plant and fungal virology postgraduate research group in New Zealand. His research focuses on the diagnosis and epidemiology of plant and fungal viruses, including the development of virus diagnostics and controls for horticultural crops and studying the viruses infecting New Zealand native plants. He is also a member of the Bio-Protection Research Centre, a government-funded Centre of Research Excellence.

“Dr Pearson has extensive experience supervising postgraduate research students, and this will be fundamental in the establishment of the School,” says Dr Ian Ferguson, Chief Scientist at Plant & Food Research and Chairman of the Joint Graduate School Committee. “The aim of the School is to introduce students to leading-edge research with strong implications for New Zealand’s horticulture and food industries, and experienced staff and leadership are vital to accomplish this. The School will concentrate on high quality research and Mike’s appointment will help ensure a positive future for the School.”

“We are privileged to have somebody of Mike Pearson’s experience and expertise leading the Joint Graduate School,” says Professor Grant Guilford, Dean of Science at The University of Auckland. “The Joint Graduate School offers the University and Plant & Food Research a new way to collaborate for the benefit of the horticulture and food industries. It brings the best scientists from both organisations together to develop the next generation of New Zealand’s plant and food scientists. The Joint Graduate School is an important new initiative and I look forward to its success under Mike’s leadership.”

Emma Timewell
Communications Manager, Corporate Communications,
Plant & Food Research Mt Albert,
120 Mt Albert Road, Sandringham
Auckland, 1025, New Zealand
Telephone: +64-9-925 8692
Mobile: +64-21-2429 365

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