Call to tackle GM myths should be redirected to PM’s new Chief Science Advisor

Forget about the suggestion Sir Peter Gluckman step up and debunk the claims of GE-Free-NZ and Greenpeace because “there is absolutely no scientific evidence to support these fear-mongers”.

Let’s direct the suggestion, rather, to Professor Juliet Gerrard.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced Professor Gerrard will succeed Sir Peter as the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor.

Professor Gerrard, Associate Dean of Research at the University’s Faculty of Science, replaces outgoing Chief Science Advisor and University of Auckland Distinguished Professor Sir Peter Gluckman.

In the first weeks of her appointment, Professor Gerrard says she will connect with the Departmental Science Advisor network and key stakeholders and visit scientists around the country to listen to a range of views on the opportunities that science, in its broadest sense, offers New Zealand.

“I am very much looking forward to connecting with a cross section of scientists from all types of institutions, especially emerging scientists,” Professor Gerrard says.

Perhaps she will bump into Dr Bob Brockie during her travels and listen to what he has to say about the need to remove the myths around genetic modification.

Professor Gerrard trained at Oxford University where she completed both Honours and Doctorate degrees in Chemistry and Biological Chemistry.

A scientist at Crop & Food Research, she was appointed Lecturer in Biochemistry at the University of Canterbury in 1998 where she became Professor and Director of the Biomolecular Interaction Centre until 2014.

She is a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Auckland where her research interests cut across biochemistry, health, agriculture, food science and biomaterial design.

Her interdisciplinary and collaborative research incorporates both fundamental and applied research.

To maintain independence, she will not apply for research funding in New Zealand during her term and has resigned her board roles.

Source: University of Auckland

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog

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