Comparative sustainability of intensive GM & non-GM agroecosystems

2015-02-14 Professor Jack Heinemann

Professor Jack Heinemann is a professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics in the School of Biological Sciences and director of the Centre for Integrated Research in Biosafety at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. In addition, he has held adjunct appointments at other universities and professional institutions. Jack was a staff fellow at the US National Institutes of Health from 1989-1994. He earned his BSc with honours in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a PhD in molecular biology from the University of Oregon.

Professor Heinemann received the ICAAC Young Investigator Award from the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) in 1993. The ASM is the largest professional scientific society in the world and this award is given to only four scientists per year. He was also the recipient of the New Zealand Association of Scientists Research Medal in 2002. He has given dozens of invited lectures at prestigious universities and societies, including approximately ten keynote addresses and distinguished lectures.

Professor Heinemann was appointed to the UN Roster of Biosafety Experts in 2005. Since then, he has served the Secretariat for the Convention of Biodiversity as a peer-reviewer of biosafety training materials and on the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Risk Assessment and Risk Management. He was commissioned by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN FAO) to prepare a definitive view on gene flow from transgenic crops; the report was ultimately adopted by an intergovernmental panel. He provided expert solicited advice to the New Zealand Commerce Commission and Parliament. Jack was a lead author on Chapter 6 of the global report, and of the biotechnology section of the Synthesis Report, for the International Assessment on Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD). In this latter role, he was invited by the Director of the IAASTD to represent the authors at the intergovernmental plenary at which the report was adopted. In addition to that role, he has been a biotechnology advisor on an ad hoc basis to multiple government agencies in New Zealand, and agencies of the US, India and Norwegian governments.

Jack has published broadly in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, with nearly 100 scholarly publications in such international peer-reviewed journals as Science, Nature, Nature Biotechnology and Trends in Biotechnology. He is an active researcher with his own laboratory wherein he supervises the work of PhD and Masters students and a post doctoral scholar.

Professor Heinemann spoke at the Food Matters Aotearoa conference at Te Papa Wellington New Zealand February 14th 2015.

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