Biotechnology and genetic modification 40 years on and the rise of gene editing

Wednesday 11 October at 6.00pm

National Aquarium, Marine Parade, Napier

(Entry by gold coin donation)

Dr Elspeth MacRae, General Manager Manufacturing & Bloproducts, Scion

 

People have been improving plants and animals for many centuries. Most of the foods we eat and drink have been changed (domesticated) by humans. For many centuries this was done by selecting naturally occurring changes (or mutations) and using them to breed improved plants or animals – a very slow process. More recently we have been able to use biotechnology to make the same sort of changes in a much faster and more predictable way.

This talk will describe these Genetic Modification technologies, including the recent developments in gene editing (CRISPR-cas9). Examples of improved products will be highlighted, and the potential of gene editing to revolutionise food production will be discussed.

Dr Elspeth MacRae is the General Manager Manufacturing & Bioproducts at Scion in Rotorua. She is a member of the management group for the 2014 New Zealand National Science Challenge in Science and Technology for Industry, and leads the design, materials and manufacturing portfolio.

Scion is a Crown Research Institute that specialises in research, science and technology development for the forestry, wood product, wood-derived materials, and other biomaterial sectors.

Limestone landscapes: How quickly does that mountain dissolve?

6.00pm on Thursday 26 October 2017

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, cnr. Vautier & Dalton Streets, Napier

Dr Stephen Swabey, Manager, Environmental Science, HBRC

Speleology is one of Stephen Swabey’s many passions, and in this talk he will share with us his enthusiasm with an illustrated talk about limestone cave systems in Australia, where Stephen lived and worked for five years before coming to New Zealand.

Stephen graduated from Oxford University with an MA in Geography, and the Open University with a PhD in Paleoclimate change, geochemistry and caves.

At HBRC he manages a team of 32 scientists, with 5 team leaders coordinating work across surface water and groundwater hydrology, coastal science, freshwater ecology, air quality, climate and climate change, land science and environmental monitoring.

Visit to ABB Limited, Napier

Thursday 16 November 2017, 6pm

ABB, 111 Main North Rd, Hawke’s Bay Airport

30 people maximum, members only please

To secure your place, please send an email to:
hawkesbay.rsnz@gmail.com

ABB is a pioneering technology leader that is writing the future of industrial digitalization. For more than four decades, they have been at the forefront, innovating digitally connected and enabled industrial equipment and systems. Every day, they drive efficiency, safety and productivity in utilities, industry, transport and infrastructure globally. With a heritage spanning more than 130 years, ABB operates in more than 100 countries and employs around 132,000 people.

The ABB site in Napier designs and manufactures power conditioning products, which are used by customers worldwide, who need a reliable power supply 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Their customers include:

  • semiconductor / automotive / textile industries
  • data centres / supercomputers
  • shore-to-ship / marine / oil & gas industries
  • plastics / cable extrusion / pharmaceutical manufacturers.

We will be hosted by Nick Elliott, R&D Manager and Scott Styles, Principal Engineer, for a presentation on the business, including latest developments, and a factory tour.

Please note dress code:

  • flat (i.e. no heels), close fitting (i.e. not loose fitting ballet-type), fully closed-in shoes
  • trousers (shorts are not acceptable).

ABB will provide safety glasses and hearing protection.

 

http://new.abb.com/about

Tectonics and genetics in topographic evolution

14 September 2017 at 7.30pm

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, corner of Dalton and Vautier Streets, Napier


Dave Craw

Professor, Geology Department, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

2017 Hochstetter Lecture

The landscape of New Zealand is spectacular in its expression of the active tectonic processes that occur along the Pacific-Australian plate boundary. However, it is difficult to determine the geological history of development of the onshore topography because previous configurations in the evolution of that topography have been eroded.

Some of the native fauna carry a biological memory of the topographic environments in which they evolved, in their genetic makeup (DNA). Native freshwater fish are the most useful for this type of study. In particular, the genus Galaxias has numerous freshwater-limited species and populations that have been isolated by changes in the river drainage pattern.

The South Island vividly displays the resultant biological diversity and co-evolution of topography and fish. The genetic variations of the fish can be used to document the nature and timing of river capture events and mountain range growth, especially since the Plio-Pleistocene but with some extensions into the Miocene. Hence, these biological tools provide some new insights into the development of the onshore landscape since the submergence or near- submergence of the NZ landmass in the Oligocene. The biological memory approach to understanding topographic evolution could be extended to all endemic NZ fauna and flora for which suitable distribution and genetic data are available.

Dave Craw is Professor of Economic Geology at the University of Otago where he has been on staff for 35 years. His main research interests are gold: exploration, mining and associated environmental issues, both placer and hard-rock. His particular interests in tectonic evolution of mountains and the gold within them led him to work on the biological effects of the rise of mountain ranges, the topic of the Hochstetter lecture.

Nanoscientists visit Hawke’s Bay

In August 2017, the Branch hosted a lecture by three nanoscientists from the MacDiarmid Institute, two of whom were available to visit a school in the afternoon before their lecture. Dr Catherine Whitby, a Senior Lecturer in  Chemistry at  Massey University, spoke to Year 11 and 13 students at Karamu High. Dr Gemma Cotton, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Otago, spoke to Year 9 and 10 students at Napier Girls High. They outlined what inspired them to be a scientist, what influenced their journey through university, how they chose their area of expertise, the research they are currently doing and its potential benefits. One of the teachers commented: “I think one of the greatest benefits to students is it brings real science to life for them.” Several teachers and students also attended the evening lecture at the National Aquarium, where the audience exceeded 60.

 

Women in Nanoscience

Little materials, big stories

Hawke’s Bay: 6pm Tuesday 29 August

The National Aquarium of NZ, Marine Parade, Napier

Come hear nanoscientists discuss their lives and work

These are personal stories, told by women scientists from the MacDiarmid Institute.
Each talk will take you on a tour of the realities of life as a scientist and the exciting
research in the MacDiarmid Institute – from Chemistry to Physics to Engineering to
Biology and beyond. These talks are suitable for all levels and ages.

Dr CATHERINE WHITBY
Dr Catherine Whitby is an Associate Investigator with the MacDiarmid Institute and Senior
Lecturer in Chemistry at Massey University. She uses nanomaterials to modify the chemistry of drop and bubble surfaces. Her findings have been applied in food and pharmaceutical products and in drilling fluids.

 

Prof MARGARET BRIMBLE
Distinguished Professor Margaret Brimble is an Associate Investigator in the MacDiarmid Institute and Professor of Organic and Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Auckland. Margaret’s research interests are in the area of new materials for vaccines and therapeutic agents.

 

 

Dr GEMMA COTTON
Dr Gemma Cotton is a post-doctoral researcher with the MacDiarmid Institute at the University of Otago. Her research interests include nanomaterials, biomimetic materials and the design of new dental materials.

 

The MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology is a New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence. www.macdiarmid.ac.nz

Groundwater quality: The Critical Role of Trees

Dr Kamini Singha
Associate Director of the Hydrologic Science and Engineering Program,
Colorado School of Mines

Date: 6.00pm Thursday 31 August 2017
Venue: Lecture Theatre 1, EIT, Gloucester Street, Taradale
Admission: Gold coin donation

Earth’s ‘critical zone’ is everything from the treetops to the bottom of aquifers. This zone provides water for human consumption and food production.

Human impacts and climate change affect water in the critical zone. The deep parts of the critical zone are hard to study.

Dr Singha explores some of these critical zone unknowns in this presentation, shedding light on key underground processes that affect water movement and availability. The links between evapotranspiration and underground water stores are examined, as well as 3D water movement over large areas, and the potential control of slope aspect on underground permeability.

The role of trees in the critical zone, and their connection to soil moisture, groundwater and stream flow, is explored through innovative imaging.

Dr Kamini Singha is on a 12 lecture tour of Australia and NZ, presenting The National Groundwater Association’s prestigious 2017 Charles Darcy Lecture in Groundwater Sciences.

Dr Singha is a professor in the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering and the Associate Director of the Hydrologic Science and Engineering Program at the Colorado School of Mines. She worked at the U.S. Geological Survey Branch of Geophysics from 1997 to 2000, and was a member of the faculty at The Pennsylvania State University from 2005 to 2012. She earned her B.Sc. in geophysics from the University of Connecticut in 1999 and her Ph.D. in hydrogeology from Stanford University in 2005.

Please direct any enquiries to hawkesbay.rsnz@gmail.com

Human health science to support new functional foods from fruit

Dr Roger Hurst
Principal Scientist, Plant & Food Research

Date: 6.00pm Tuesday 8 August 2017
Venue: Lecture Theatre 2, E.I.T. Gloucester Street, Taradale
Admission:   Gold coin donation

To secure a premium market position for a food, one of the most popular strategies is to claim an intrinsic human health-promoting ability.

Fruits in general have an inherent natural ‘health halo’, with some fruit often classed as ‘superfruits’ and/or ‘functional foods’, because they are rich sources of different bioactive substances that can provide human health benefits beyond just their nutritional content.

A lot of marketing emphasis has been placed on antioxidant activity of fruit compounds for health, but unfortunately this mode of action is not well supported by science. In recent years, other mechanisms are being revealed that can explain why fruits and their compounds are healthy.

Dr Roger Hurst leads a team of researchers focused upon providing health science evidence to support the development of new fruit food products. He will present on the team’s strategic targets, their multi-pronged approach to building the science evidence from chemistry, cell screening to human clinical studies, and will give insights into key data from various fruits, that is leading to the creation of new and improved fruit-derived functional food opportunities in NZ and Asia.

Dr Hurst has a biomedical health background through a career at the University of Toronto, Canada; the Babraham Institute, Cambridge, UK; and the Institute of Neurology, London, UK. Since joining Plant & Food Research (2007) he has developed an interest in phytochemical compounds and their role in modulating oxidative stress, inflammation, and immunity to aid tissue recovery and repair.

The World Ahead

Bridget Williams Books Winter Series

The World Ahead with Max Harris

Hastings Library, 6:30pm Thursday 10 August

Max Harris, author of The New Zealand Project, addresses key challenges for New Zealand, including climate change, the future of work and inequality. He encourages us to look ahead with hope and imagination – and to develop a new political vision based on the values of care, community and creativity.

Max Harris is currently an Examination Fellow at All Souls College in Oxford. He completed a Master of Public Policy and Bachelor of Civil Law at the University of Oxford while on a New Zealand Rhodes Scholarship from 2012–2014, and a Law/Arts conjoint degree (with Honours in Law) at the University of Auckland from 2006–2010.

Harris worked at the Supreme Court of New Zealand as a clerk for Chief Justice Elias in 2011–2012. He has also completed short stints of work at the South Australian Department of Premier and Cabinet (in early 2008, as a speechwriting intern), the law firm Russell McVeagh (in late 2008–2009), the Australian National University in Canberra (as a summer scholar, in late 2009–2010), the American Civil Liberties Union in New York (late 2010–2011), and Helen Clark’s Executive Office at the United Nations Development Programme (in July–August 2014).

Where and when

Auckland | Sunday 6 August 4-6pm. Golden Dawn, 134 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby, Auckland. All welcome, no rsvp needed. Chair tbc. Panelists: Emmy RāketeMax Harris and Anthony Byrt.

Auckland | Tuesday 8 August, 6pm. OGGB4 lecture theatre in the Owen G Glenn Building, University of Auckland. All welcome, no rsvp needed. In conversation with Kingi Snelgar. Chair: Carol Hirschfeld.

Gisborne | Wednesday 9 August, War Memorial Theatre, 159 Bright Street. 5.30pm. Tickets $5 from Muirs Bookshop and Café. In conversation with Mark Peters.

Hastings| Thursday 10 August, 6.15 doors open, 6.30 start time. Hastings Library, cnr Eastbourne and Warren Streets, Hastings. All welcome, no rsvp needed. Chair tbc.

Carterton | Sunday 13 August, 3.00pm. Carterton Events Center, 50 Holloway St, Carterton. All welcome, no rsvp needed. Chair: Charlotte Macdonald.

Nelson | Thursday 17 August, 5.30 for 6.00pm. Kush café, 5 Church St, Nelson. All welcome, no rsvp needed. Logos: core plus Volume and Kush. Chair: Stella Chrysostomos.