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Decades of achievement recognised by Royal Society

Decades of achievement recognised by Royal Society

17 October 2006

AgResearch Senior Scientist Dr Chris Morris has been awarded a prestigious Royal Society Science and Technology Silver Medal for his contribution to the advancement of New Zealand science over the past 31 years.

Dr Morris, who is originally from Gloucestershire in the United Kingdom and now based at AgResearch’s Ruakura campus in Hamilton, began work at the organisation when it was part of MAF in 1975 after completing a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Canada.

He says he chose to come to New Zealand because of the large numbers of animals it had available for scientific research.

He works in the field of animal genomics and says he was “thrilled” when he heard that he had been awarded the medal.

“I see it as a reward that recognises all the hard work put in by the teams I have been part of over the years. My work has been very collaborative so I can’t take all the credit,” he says.

His research has centred around research into disease resistance, productivity, and product quality.

Over the years he has been involved in breeding a number of sheep flocks that have shown significant resistance to common diseases such as facial eczema, ryegrass staggers, and internal parasites.

He has also been involved in a number of studies on genes that are associated with increased productivity and product quality such as the gene known as Calpain-1, which is associated with increased tenderness in beef.

Dr Morris was nominated for the award by AgResearch Animal Genomics Section Manager Dr Theresa Wilson.

“Over his career he has made a significant contribution in many different areas of livestock research and has published 150 scientific papers.”

She says he is a pivotal member of the Animal Genomics team and has a fantastic collection of animal resources at his disposal.

“Members of the team are able to use his animals for a variety of research purposes,” she says.

Dr Morris is currently working on what he believes could be a major advance in the treatment of facial eczema in cattle.

“I’m very enthusiastic about the prospects for this research into a disease that costs farmers tens of millions of dollars each year.”

ENDS

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