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Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics, University of Canterbury

Jack is a geneticist with expertise in genetic engineering, bacterial genetics and biosafety.

Research interests include the genetics and molecular biology of single-celled bacteria and some eukaryotic microorganisms, horizontal gene transfer, particularly conjugation, phage genetics, effects of stress, particularly induced by antibiotics, evolution and risk assessment, influence of language on science and eugenics.

Specific interests are the biochemical and genetic characterisation of horizontal gene transfer (particularly as it relates to the evolution of virulence and antibiotic resistance in microbes and the risks of genetically modified/engineered organisms) and yeast, bacteria and the test of evolutionary theories.


  • –present
    Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics, University of Canterbury
  • 2001–present
    Director, Centre for Integrated Research in Biosafety


  • 1989 
    University of Oregon, PhD Molecular Biology
  • 1985 
    University of Wisconsin-Madison, BSc(hons) Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


  • 2013
    A comparative evaluation of the regulation of GM crops or products containing dsRNA and suggested improvements to risk assessments, Environment International v55
  • 2011
    Molecular profiling — a tool for addressing emerging gaps in the comparative risk assessment of GMOs, Environment International v37

Research Areas

  • Genetics (0604)
  • Agricultural Biotechnology (1001)
  • Infectious Agents (060502)


Fellow Higher Education Academy