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Top biotech award four years running

AgResearch scoops top biotech award four years running

1 April, 2008

An AgResearch scientist has won the prestigious NZBio Emerging Biotechnologist of the Year award – the fourth year in a row the company has taken home the title.

Dr Paul Shorten works in the area of Theoretical Biology – a field of growing importance for its ability to use mathematics as a tool to integrate the flood of data collected in the laboratories of different science disciplines.

“I think it probably is unusual for a mathematician to win a biotechnology award,” says Dr Shorten, “But I was thrilled. Theoretical work is not often recognised for its contributions to the bio-tech field. It’s good to see it becoming more established and getting better recognition.”

As a member of AgResearch’s Applied Biotechnology Group, Paul’s role is to study complex biological and physical systems using modelling and computer simulation.

“I feel that this award is a representation of AgResearch’s achievements in biotechnology and the contribution of AgResearch’s theoretical biology team in this area.”

The cross-discipline focus of the field is reflected in the team’s range of work, which is far from limited to one area of AgResearch’s operation – or even one single area of science.

“It really does cover the gamut from cell biology to viticulture and food safety. The common thread through all of it is the use of conceptual thinking to help researchers understand and modify biological processes.”

“The more complex biotechnology’s fundamental processes become, the more it needs something to link everything together so that they can be understood logically and then adapted to improve the quality of human life. Systems biology, with the help of sophisticated mathematical tools, provides an integrated framework to do this.”

For further information contact AgResearch Media Advisor Mike Eng on 03 321 8825

ENDS

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