Position: Senior Scientist, Field: Plant biology, Place of work: Plant & Food Research.
Bart is a science leader at Plant & Food Research in Auckland. Bart leads four teams of scientists who provide specialised services to the institute - microarrays, gene cloning and sequencing, plant transformation and bioinformatics.
Bart also leads the microarray team itself, and is responsible for developing the array technology for new uses. His own research focuses on studying fruit development and plant architecture using molecular techniques.
We can discover the function of new genes
Day to day, his job consists of spending time with other scientists planning experiments and helping with long term planning. He supervises the microarray team and meets with users of the array facility to help design and interpret experiments.
In his own field of interest he spends his days reading literature, planning new experiments, writing grant proposals, and if he’s lucky he gets to analyse data from the experiments his team is currently doing.
He also does experiments at the bench, or goes to the greenhouse and analyses the phenotype of plants.
In high school Bart studied all the sciences and maths options along with English. He did a Bachelor of Science degree (3 years) at Auckland University, majoring in biochemistry and cell biology, with a strong sideline in chemistry.
He then did a Master of Science (2 years) in cell biology at Auckland University, with Professor Dick Bellamy, studying the proteins of an animal virus.
Bart spent 18 months working as a technician with Dr Kitty Croxson at the Auckland hospital virology lab to earn some money and take a break from study.
Then he went back to Auckland University to do a PhD with Dr Richard Gardner working on plant molecular biology. After his PhD he went to work at the DSIR at Mt Albert, working on plant molecular biology and starting to study aspects of plant development.
After working at the DSIR (which changed into HortResearch, and is now control of leaf development.) for four years, Bart went to the US for 3 years of post doctoral work. During this time he ended up in Dr Neelima Sinha’s plant development lab learning about and working on the
The final step was a return to New Zealand and back to Plant & Food Research where he has spent the last few years working on genomics in apple and kiwifruit, and applying genomics to the study of fruit development and plant architecture.
Bart reads a lot of fiction (science fiction mostly). He also enjoys reading some history including the history of science. He's played team sports all his life: basketball, volleyball, cricket and now slowpitch softball. For hobbies, Bart does a little astronomy, also woodwork and making some furniture. He and his wife enjoy going out to dinner, cooking and drinking nice wine. In short, like everyone, he has a range of interests.
This article is based on information current in 2007.