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Swiss army knives and purple tomatoes

Swiss army knives and purple tomatoes

Foods enriched with certain plant pigments offer the potential to protect people from a host of non-infectious diseases, according to Victoria University Professor of Plant Biology Kevin Gould.

During his inaugural professorial lecture on Tuesday 27 November, Professor Gould will discuss some of the interesting relationships between plants, pigments, and people.

Professor Gould studies the roles plant pigments play in protecting plants from the effects of stresses such as drought, soil salinity, free radicals and insect pests. His research on one group of pigments in particular—the anthocyanins—is internationally acclaimed.

“Anthocyanins have taken the scientific community by storm. These remarkably versatile pigments appear to hold a key to our well-being,” says Professor Gould.

“The pigments also serve critical functions for the plants themselves, shielding them from threats and environmental pressures.”
Professor Gould joined the Faculty of Science at Victoria University in 2008 as Associate Professor in Biological Sciences.

His expertise has been recognised both nationally and internationally, and earlier this year he was selected to deliver the 2012 Leonard Cockayne Memorial Lecture Tour, a prestigious award commemorating the life of one of New Zealand’s most celebrated botanists.

Professor Gould is a passionate teacher, whose innovative approaches to lecturing first-year undergraduates have earned him distinguished teaching awards from the universities of Auckland and Otago, and a 2011 national award in tertiary teaching excellence from Ako Aotearoa.

Professor Gould has also gained substantial research funding from a variety of sources—including four Marsden grants. He has served as Vice-President for the New Zealand Society of Plant Biologists, is an elected representative on the boards of the International Workshop on Anthocyanins and Groupe Polyphenols, and has been the Editor in Chief of the New Zealand Journal of Botany since 2010.

Victoria University Vice-Chancellor Professor Pat Walsh says Victoria’s inaugural lecture series provides an opportunity for professors to share insights into their specialist areas of study with family, friends, colleagues and the local community.

“Inaugural lectures are also an excellent opportunity for the University to celebrate and acknowledge our valued professors,” says Professor Walsh.

Inaugural lecture—Professor Kevin Gould
Swiss army knives and purple tomatoes: why colour is important to people and plants
Tuesday 27 November 2012, 6pm
Hunter Council Chamber, Level 2, Hunter Building
Victoria University, Kelburn Parade, Wellington

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