NZAGRC Science Leadership Team

The role of NZAGRC Science Leadership Team (SLT) is to play a key part in the development, implementation and monitoring of all of the Centre’s science programmes and strategies.  It consists of respected New Zealand-based researchers with excellent science credentials accompanied by strong leadership, communication, strategic and inter-personal skills with expertise in those areas of science covered in the NZAGRC Strategy and Science Plan.

Membership is agreed by the Steering Group and includes the NZAGRC Principal Investigators in addition to the NZAGRC Director and NZAGRC Operations Manager.  

Dr Graeme Attwood  AgResearch  
Dr Cecile DeKlein   AgResearch 
Professor Hong Di  Lincoln University 
Dr Robyn Dynes  AgResearch  
Dr Peter Janssen  AgResearch  
Dr David Whitehead   Manaaki Whenua


Science leadership & capability building 

The NZAGRC is committed to providing opportunities for researchers to be trained and work with leading experts in New Zealand.  Some students go on to continue their studies or enter a postdoctoral position under guidance from NZAGRC science leaders, other enter into industry based positions.

The NZAGRC supports more than 50 researchers and students by providing funding via its core research programme or via its student scholarships programme.

Below are profiles of our scientists and past students. 

Principal Investigator - Dr Peter Janssen

Dr Peter Janssen is the Principal Investigator of the NZAGRC-PGgRc methane mitigation programme at AgResearch, and co-ordinates and contributes to the different work streams developing technologies to reduce ruminant methane emissions. He has established methods for investigating the microbial ecology of the rumen ecosystem, and for isolating novel rumen microbes.

Peter has been involved in several global projects to increase knowledge of the rumen, most notably co-leading the Global Rumen Census project. This study demonstrated, that across a variety of diets and ruminant species, the major groups of rumen microbes around the globe are largely the same, which potentially will help for global application.

Peter is an internationally recognised expert in isolating so-called unculturable microbes.

Prior to joining AgResearch, he was an Associate Professor and Reader at the University of Melbourne, where his research team made recognised advances in solving the “Great Plate Count Anomaly”, which is "a name given to the observation that there are generally about 100 times more bacteria in a sample from any environment than can be grown on agar plates" explains Peter. While in Melbourne, Peter got to move a little outside the normal academic sphere, when he was the scientific advisor to the award-winning ABC documentary "Alien Underworld".

Peter's research work with NZAGRC and the PGgRc forms part of three different mitigation approaches - breeding low methane emitting ruminants; finding inhibitors that reduce the amount of methane formed in the rumen of grazing ruminants; and developing a vaccine so that the animal's antibodies naturally control the methane-forming microbes in the rumen.


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