Program Leader Effective Detection and Response, Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre

Grant is a Plant Pathologist at Plant & Food Research in Lincoln (just south of Christchurch) with considerable experience in diagnostics and biosecurity in both Australia and New Zealand. For many years he worked for BSES in Brisbane developing and applying molecular diagnostic assays, principally for viral and bacterial pathogens of sugarcane. Grant was also responsible for the quarantine of both imported and exported international sugarcane germplasm, as well as the quarantine of breeding germplasm being transferred between regions in Australia. Grant ran his first RT-PCR experiments in the late 1980s and was one of the early publishers on PCR of dsRNA, duplex RT-PCR and bacterial ITS region diagnostics. His research interests grew to include bacterial and fungal pathogens, insects, monocot tissue culture and plant transformation-gene expression systems. Grant led the research teams which developed and field tested transgenic sugarcane under both the GMAC and OGTR systems, proving that viral resistance could be successfully introduced into elite sugarcane cultivars.

Grant moved to Lincoln in 2003. For seven years he was the Program Manager of B3, the Better Border Biosecurity Research Collaboration, the largest research initiative in New Zealand at that time, comprising over 40 projects in five themes. His current research interests include developing, improving and deploying plant biosecurity diagnostic platforms and response tools, understanding and exploiting pathogen genomes and developing new nanotechnology-based platforms and materials. He has published widely, including 12 invited book chapters, has two granted patents describing the Smartsett® tissue culture system and is a senior editor for the Springer science journal, Australasian Plant Pathology. Grant also has an MBA in Technology Management from Deakin University, is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), and is a senior contributor to the GERDA global response and eradication database.

Education

  • 1987 
    University of Canterbury, New Zealand, PhD