Two well-travelled and high-performing new professors, leading scientists in food safety and bio-waste research, will be greeting students in the Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences this year, though their faces may be recognisable.
Former Associate Professors Ravi Gooneratne
and Brett Robinson
have been recognised for their work and have risen to become Professor of Toxicology and Professor of Environmental Chemistry respectively.
The pair have connections around the world and extensive resumes, having published more than 100 articles each, taught, researched, and run-workshops in a number of countries, as well as presenting at a myriad of conferences and supervising a host of postgraduate students.
Professor Gooneratne’s major research areas are environmental toxicology, food toxicology-safety-security, and veterinary toxicology. He studies toxicology of food contaminants, in relation to a diverse flotilla of fauna, from sheep to earthworms, as well as looking at environmental effects of pesticides, spray drift and heavy metals.
He has developed extensive collaborations with scientists in China (he is a visiting professor at two universities there), India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Canada and the USA.
One of his recent awards was the Asian Toxicology Presidential Award at a congress in South Korea.
He wants to further develop and support linkages in toxicology with those in the workforce, nationally and overseas, and presents workshops on food safety.
Professor Robinson speaks German, French and Spanish after working in Switzerland and Spain before coming to Lincoln.
His research at Lincoln involves creating economic and environmental value from bio-waste’s, so the nutrients they contain improve our soils rather than devalue our waters, and involves collaboration with other departments, CRIs and universities.
He says confidence in New Zealand’s food products and the marketing of New Zealand as “100% pure” relies on our land-based industries combining a high level of production while minimising the entry of contaminants into foods or local environments.
“Bio-wastes are arguably the most important contributor to the degradation of New Zealand’s economy and environment when they enter waterways, contaminate high-value land, or require costly disposal.
“The research programme that I have developed at LU focuses on creating economic and environmental value from bio-wastes by ensuring that bio-wastes and the nutrients they contain improve our soils rather than degrade our waters. The scale of the research has ranged from individual cells through to the field.”
He is the Associate Editor for the Journal of Environmental Quality, and on the on the editorial board of the International Journal of Phytoremediation.
Both are committed teachers seeking to stimulate student-led learning.