Scientist awarded prestigious Fellowship to develop electronic nose

11 November 2015

Dr Colm Carraher, a scientist at Plant & Food Research developing an electronic nose based on insect odorant receptors, has been awarded a Rutherford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship to further his research.

Insects have a highly sensitive sense of smell allowing them to detect their mates, predators and food sources from large distances. Dr Carraher’s research will produce highly sensitive insect odorant receptors and couple these to a biosensor. The sensor could be tailored to detect any natural or synthetic volatile organic compound. The development of real-time odorant detectors with ultra-high sensitivity would have the potential to be tuned to a multitude of applications in the future.

“This research will help us develop a prototype biosensor based on insect receptors for the real-time detection of volatile organic compounds,” says Dr Carraher. “The Rutherford Fellowship will allow me to concentrate my time on this project and build knowledge and reputation within this highly competitive field.”

The Rutherford Foundation Trust, managed by the Royal Society of New Zealand, aims to build human capability in science and technology by providing early career support for New Zealand’s brightest and most prominent researchers. In 2015, the Trust awards eight postdoctoral fellowships to outstanding emerging researchers.

The research also received a Marsden Fund Fast-Start grant in the latest funding round, which will support the expansion of the team to include PhD students over the next three years.

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
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