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Joint Graduate School in Dairy Research and Innovation

Our people

Below is a list of staff from The University of Auckland, DairyNZ, LIC and AgResearch who are currently have students involved in research projects research projects related to the dairy industry.

Staff at the University



Research interests


Department of Computer Science

Professor Robert Amor

Information management and provision. Internet-based information systems.  Data modelling and semantic verification, data mapping and mapping verification

Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering

Professor Murat Balaban

Food processing, automation of quality evaluation

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dr Stevan Berber

Wireless sensor network applications in agritech and dairy.

Department of Engineering Science

Dr John Cater

Rumen modelling, flow in the rumen and associated passages

School of Biological Sciences
Biodiversity, Biosecurity & Conservation

Professor Mick Clout

Conservation biology, invasive species ecology and management

Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering

Professor Wei Gao

Farm and dairy farm waste water treatment, water and soil remediation, and micropollutant control technologies.

Water decontamination.

Computer Science

Professor Georgy Gimel'farb

Computer stereo vision, image retrieval, image segmentation and registration, texture analysis and modelling, accurate identification of Markov random field models

Department of Accounting and Finance

Dr Julie Harrison

School of Chemical Sciences

Associate Professor Yacine Hemar

Physical-chemical characterisation of food systems such as proteins and polysaccharides and their mixtures in solution, gel or emulsion states.  Structure-function properties of biopolymer networks, and how these properties are affected by different stressors, such as shear, heat, pH etc.

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Associate Professor Bruce MacDonald

Pasture measurement, mapping weeds on fields, all from a small multiple rotor helicopter.   Dairy effluent spreading by robotic vehicles.

Department of Anatomy with Radiology

Professor Susan McGlashlan

Director, Biomedical Imaging Research Unit

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Dr Ajit Sarmah

The University of Auckland Business School

Professor Basil Sharp


School of Chemical Sciences

Dr Peter Swedlund

School of Biological Sciences

Professor Russell Snell

Discovery of genes associated with phenotypes using genetics and the underlying mechanisms.  Model systems for gene function, and testing.

Department of Engineering Science

Dr Vinod Suresh

Biofluid mechanics, epithelial transport, cell signalling, computational physiology

Auckland Bioengineering Institute

Associate Professor Andrew Taberner

Needleless drug delivery for animals, jet injection technologies and devices  for animal care

Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering

Professor Brent Young

Food process systems engineering (process simulation and control)

Our students

Name PhD topic
Jason Busby Structural studies of the Yersinia entomophaga toxin complex
Tania Law Causative Gene Discovery in Dairy Traits
Talia Grala Gene Transciprtion Changes

Our student committee

Name Faculty

Wei Yang

School of Business
Elisa Lam School of Chemical Sciences
Sangeeta Patel Faculty of Engineering
Mona Mansouri Faculty of Engineering
Mostafa Rahnama School of Biological Sciences
Chen Huang Faculty of Engineering
Tania Law School of Biological Sciences

Staff at AgResearch

Research area


Research interests


Damien Fleetwood

Molecular plant-microbe interactions: understanding the molecular host specificity of bioprotective symbionts of forage grass; identifying new symbionts of pasture plant species; and characterising regulatory mechanisms of plant-regulated fungal genes

Food and Bio-based products

Ali Hodgkinson

Characterising the differences between goat milk and cow milk and how this may impact on the health and nutritional benefits of milk formulations for infants and young children.
Investigating the effects of milk components in the mucosal environment of the GI tract.

Innovative Farm Systems

Mark Hurst

Understanding the molecular biology (identifying new pathogens and there toxins) and ecology (strain specific markers qPCR etc ) of insect pathogens of pastoral insect pests .  Molecular biology, microbiology, formulation, bioassays, field trials

Structural Biology

Dr Shaun Lott


Food and Bio-based products

Dr Don Otter


Science Team Leader Dr Brendan Haigh  
Senior Scientist Dr Steve Davis  

Staff at DairyNZ

Research area


Research interests

  John Roche Ruminant nutrition, cow health and wellfare, dairy farm mangement and financial performance,transition cow nutrition and management, molecular and physiological mechanisms underpinning body condition score change, mineral nutrition and utilisation by dairy cattle, gentics x environment interactions, physiological and neuro-endocrine control of dry matter intake.

Staff at LIC



Research interests

The identification of genetic determinants of major dairy traits. Dr Mathew Littlejohn

Matt has used the Boviquest Friesian-Jersey Crossbred Trial dataset extensively, and his new role with LIC will focus on using whole genome sequence to leverage this and other LIC datasets further.