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Climate change expert awarded top Euro medal

Climate change expert awarded top Euro medal

University of Waikato climate change expert awarded top European accolade for environmental work

A renowned University of Waikato expert on environmental plant stress resulting from climate change has been awarded the prestigious European Society for Photobiology (ESP) Medal for her outstanding contribution to the field and to the society.

Professor Janet Bornman, director of the University's International Global Change Institute, has an international reputation in the field of environmental photobiology – the scientific study of the interactions of light and living organisms.

Her main research focus has been on the effects of ultraviolet radiation and the interactive effects of other climate change factors.

Professor Bornman, who joined the University of Waikato last year from the Danish Institute of Agricultural Science and was previously at Lund University in Sweden, co-chairs the Environmental Effects Assessment Panel of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP).

The panel reports to UNEP on a diverse range of subjects, including the atmosphere, human health, land and water ecosystems, biogeochemical cycling of nutrients and other components in soil and waterways, and air quality and materials, with an emphasis on the complex interactions of climate change factors.

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She recently returned from Canada where she represented the panel at the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Montreal Protocol, dubbed the most successful of all time and responsible for a 95 percent success rate in phasing out ozone-depleting chemicals.

Professor Bornman has served as president of the European Society for Photobiology, and editor-in-chief of the international journal, 'Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences'. The journal publishes articles on both plants and animals, with a large part devoted to medical environmentally related issues such as skin cancer, photodynamic therapy and skin ageing.

She was previously the Swedish national representative for the Association Internationale de Photobiologie (AIP) and most recently was invited to be New Zealand's national representative for the Asia and Oceania Society of Photobiology.

In 2004, she was the recipient of the Edna Roe Lecturer award by the International Union of Photobiology for accomplishments in the photosciences.


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