27 August 2014
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Clinical Education Centre,
Auckland City Hospital, Auckland



Dr Carolyn Lister leads the Phytochemicals and Health Team at Plant & Food Research. The primary focus of her team’s current research is on phytochemicals and their role in human health and includes the wider nutritional benefits of food. Dr Lister’s expertise extends to developing health claim messages, which is the subject of her presentation as she details the experiences of developing a self-substantiated review on behalf of Zespri. 

Carolyn works with a range of industry groups in Australia and New Zealand to promote greater consumption of fruit and vegetables based on their nutritional benefits. Carolyn also has a strong interest in communicating science to the general public and is an active member of the New Zealand Fruit and Vegetable Alliance and the New Zealand Guild of Food Writers.

She obtained her PhD in plant biochemistry from the University of Canterbury University in 1994. Although originally working on pigments and plant colour, in 1997 Dr Lister completed a fellowship at the University of Glasgow and changed to an emphasis on the role plant pigments play in human nutrition. 


Dr. Ralf Schlothauer joined Comvita in January 2006 as Chief Technology Officer and has overall strategic and functional responsibility for research and development.

Ralf leads a team with expertise in research and development and food technology. Comvita’s research team is co-located at the Institute for Innovation and Biotechnology (IIB) at The University of Auckland where Ralf is also an Associate Professor. He is also a board member for NZBIO, a vibrant member-based organisation focused on growing New Zealand’s prosperous bioeconomy.

Originally from northern Germany where he earned a masters of bioprocess engineering and a PhD in the same field, Ralf has worked in New Zealand for extended periods with Massey University, New Zealand Dairy Research Institute (now part of Fonterra) and most recently at Tatua Nutritionals. In between assignments, he was Group Manager - Probiotics for Danisco in Germany. 

Although working from an industrial base over the last 15 years, Dr. Schlothauer has kept a very active academic interest directly supervising internships, masters program’s or PhD’s with various Universities.


Julie North is Nutrition Manager for Heinz Australasia. She has extensive experience incorporating nutrition into food industry practice and understanding consumer drivers and has previously worked for FSANZ, and the NZ Dairy Board (Fonterra).

The food/health environment is a particular interest of hers, as is the role industry can play to support public health  in the context of real consumer behaviour. She is a member of the Front of Pack Advisory Labelling Group, the Editorial Advisory Board for Healthy Food Guide, and the Committee for Healthy Aging (NZ Nutrition Foundation). 


Phil Rasmussen is an experienced phytotherapist with a clinic in Auckland where he has practiced for 21 years. Before pursuing herbal medicine he worked for more than 10 years as a pharmacist, and undertook research on antidepressant drugs and serotonin for a Masters degree in Pharmacology. 

He has lectured at naturopathic and herbal colleges, presented at conferences in New Zealand, Australia, and the UK, and written extensively on herbal subjects for both practitioner and consumer publications, for nearly 20 years. Phil is the founder of Phytomed Medicinal Herbs Ltd, and an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Pharmacy at the University of Auckland. He was Deputy Chair of the Interim Expert Advisory Committee on Complementary & Alternative Medicines (IEACCAM), established by the Australian and New Zealand governments between 2006 and 2008, and is currently a member of the NHP Interim Technical Expert Advisory Committee formed by the NZ government in 2012. 


Cherry Barker is the Nutrition Services Manager for Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing.  Cherry has worked across a number of sectors including local government, public health and the food industry in both the UK and New Zealand and has a real passion for collaboration across sectors for optimal outcomes for health. Cherry is particularly interested in the role that food and nutrients can potentially play in gene expression and health outcomes at an individual level.


Andrew McLeod studied Pharmacy at Otago University, then completed a PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in the field of drug delivery. Returning to New Zealand in 1992, he was employed at Douglas Pharmaceuticals as a Research Officer and later promoted to New Product Development Manager. Andrew travelled back to the USA in 1998 to undertake post -doctoral studies at UCSF, followed by employment at Dow Pharmaceutical Sciences. He returned to Douglas Pharmaceuticals, and was Director of Research & Development from 2000-2013.

Presently he is the CEO of Douglas Nutrition Ltd, a new business venture with a strong focus on novel New Zealand-derived nutritional products for export markets, primarily to Asia. Douglas Nutrition has products for pregnancy & breastfeeding support, paediatric nutrition, disease-specific nutrition and senior nutrition.

'' Dr Pramod Gopal worked as a Principal Research Scientist at Fonterra Research and Development Centre until September 2013. He was one of the key scientists who initiated, and established Fonterra’s R&D programme in the field of probiotics. He led this area of research for 16 years until his time of leaving. Research programme produced both excellent science (over 50 peer reviewed publications with 2 acquiring ‘citation classic’ status) and significant commercial impact. Two probiotic strains, DR10TM and DR20TM, discovered and developed through the systematic scientific approach led by Pramod, continue to add significant commercial benefits to Fonterra. Pramod’s research has been well-recognised internationally. He was invited by WHO/FAO to be part of a panel of experts that scientifically defined the term ‘probiotics’ – this is now the global scientific definition approved by WHO/FAO. He has served on industry advisory board of International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics and Scientific Advisory Board of International Probiotic Society. In New Zealand, his contribution to the probiotic field was recognised last year when he was named as one of the top ten agri-innovators of NZ in 2013 by Primary Magazine. Pramod has been closely involved in dialogue with regulatory authorities with regards to ‘health claims’ for probiotics. He represented Fonterra as a stakeholder during consultations by EFSA for setting guidelines for ‘scientific requirements of health claims in the area of gut and immune health’. Pramod received his PhD in Biochemistry from University of Otago. He spent four years as a post-doctoral researcher at University of California, Berkeley before returning to New Zealand. Since leaving Fonterra Pramod is working as an independent consultant for key organisations in New Zealand and the USA.
'' Kaye Dennison is a registered Dietitian and Nutritionist with thirty years of clinical and foodservice management experience in New Zealand and internationally. In her recent dietetic leadership roles she has supported innovation projects to improve the care of community dwelling seniors. Her experience as a Community Dietitian working with high-risk older people led her to develop a special interest in the identification and treatment of older people with malnutrition and to explore ways to improve nutritional status in the senior population. Kaye is now working as a consultant nutrition advisor in senior nutrition, project management and service reviews.
'' Nigel Perry leads the Bioactives team of Plant & Food Research and is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry, University of Otago. He completed his first degree at the University of Bristol then worked as a Flavour Chemist, in England. He came to New Zealand to do a PhD in natural products chemistry at the University of Otago, followed by a Post Doctoral Fellowship on pharmaceutical discovery from marine natural products at the University of Canterbury. Nigel started worked with MAFTechnology in 1991, setting up the Plant Extracts Research Unit, now part of Plant & Food Research . There he works on the discovery and development of biologically active molecules, including flavours, pigments, food bioactives and insect semiochemicals; synthetic and structure-activity studies; optimisation of activity and production; and the development of rapid analytical techniques. Nigel is a leading authority on natural products from New Zealand plants and crops, working with Māori and other New Zealand companies on commercial products and applications.
'' Dr Matthew Barnett graduated from the University of Auckland in May 2005 with a PhD in Biological Sciences, focusing on the importance of a mother’s diet during gestation and lactation on the risk of type-2 diabetes in her offspring. Since 2001 he has worked for AgResearch in a range of roles (including Research Associate, FRST Postdoctoral Fellow, and Senior Research Scientist). He has been part of the Nutrigenomics New Zealand collaboration since 2004, and is currently involved in several research projects investigating the importance of nutrition for health throughout life.
'' Dr Jocelyn Eason is the General Manager for Food Innovation at Plant & Food Research, Palmerston North. Dr Eason manages Plant & Food Research’s Food Innovation Portfolio, managing the scientific direction of 140 scientists and overseeing the delivery and commercialisation of products for the food and beverage industries. The portfolio includes 140 scientists who investigate human responses to food, the influence of food on human nutrition and wellness, and the production of nutritionally-rich foods. As a research scientist, Dr Eason gained considerable experience in biochemical and genetic technologies associated with post-harvest metabolism of horticultural crops. Her specialist area of investigation was the senescence-induced cell death of plants. She has led Plant & Food Research’s Vital Vegetables programme since 2008 and her team successfully developed and implemented a product development process that built a portfolio of fresh vegetable products with labelled health benefits, launched in the New Zealand marketplace in October 2012.
'' Jennifer Yee Collinson is a food scientist and New Zealand registered dietitian with experience in public health and food industry management roles. An industry consultant and Nutrition & Claims manager for Frucor Beverages Limited, her roles encompass NPD, nutrition strategy and labelling compliance training, nutrition communications and research partnerships with Crown research agencies and universities. She has also been passionately involved in schools programmes such as Fuelled4life, Life Education Trust and is nutrition advisor to the NZ Breakers & their development academy. Her professional activities involve the NZ Nutrition Foundation council, NZ Food and Grocery Council Health & Technical working group and the Nutrigenomics NZ - Industry Advisory Group. She is past chair of the NZ Fruit & Vegetable Alliance working group, former president of the NZ Guild of Foodwriters and is an award winning food author.
'' Jenny Miller is a Senior Adviser (Food Claims) in the Biosecurity Science, Food Science and Risk Assessment Directorate at the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). She is responsible for co-ordinating the MPI evaluation and review of health claim dossiers developed by New Zealand food businesses to meet the requirements of Standard 1.2.7, under the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. Jenny also provides guidance on the interpretation on Standard 1.2.7 and leads work areas associated with this Standard. Prior to joining MPI, Jenny worked for the World Health Organization (WHO). She was responsible for the food safety programme of the WHO Western Pacific Region. She also managed the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN). Prior to working for WHO, Jenny worked for the New Zealand Food Safety Authority, the New Zealand Ministry of Health and was also a food safety regulator at a regional level in New Zealand.

Professor Lynn Ferguson obtained her D.Phil. from Oxford University, working on the subject of DNA damage, DNA repair and mutagenesis in yeast.  After her return to New Zealand, she began working as part of the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre, using mutagenicity testing as a predictor of carcinogenesis, with particular focus on the New Zealand situation. In 2000, she took on a 50% role as Head of a new Discipline of Nutrition at The University of Auckland.  In more recent years, she has considered the interplay between genes and diet in the development of chronic disease, with particular focus on Inflammatory Bowel Disease, a cancer-prone condition, and also in prostate cancer.  As programme leader for the multidisciplinary-multiorganisation Nutrigenomics New Zealand, she is working with a range of others to bring nutrigenomics tools and potential to the New Zealand science scene.

She has supervised more than 30 students to the successful completion of B.Tech, MSc or PhD.  She is the author or co-author of more than 300 peer reviewed publications as chapters in books or articles in international journals.  She serves on the Editorial Boards of several major journals.


Dr Nicole Roy’s PhD (at Laval University, Quebec, Canada) and Postdoctoral studies (Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK) focused on how nutrition and food components can modify inter-organ nutrient partitioning and communication using tracer kinetics, animal models and in vitro models. From 1998-2004, Dr Roy led complex studies of amino acid metabolism in key tissues in lactating ruminants and in growing lambs at AgResearch Grasslands Research (Palmerston North, New Zealand). Since 2004, her expertise in nutrition and physiology has been central to three NZ research collaborations including the leadership of MBIE projects. Dr Roy is now a Principal Scientist and the Science Team Leader of Food Nutrition & Health team at AgResearch. Dr Roy leads a team of 19 science staff and 12 PhD students in the area of molecular nutrition, food-microbe-host interactions and gastrointestinal (GIT) function.

Dr Roy is also the International Knowledge-based Bioeconomy (KBBE) Food & Health Theme Leader for NZ, coordinating activities with the EU, Canada and Australia in that space. Dr Roy is one of the Science Leaders for the High Value Nutrition National Science Challenge.


Angela Rowan is currently the Programme Manager Nutrition and Health in Fonterra Nutrition. She has held roles in various parts of Fonterra in the past most recently as Health Platform Manager for the maternal and paediatric nutrition product portfolio supporting the Asia business consumer brand, Anmum. Angela has experience in research portfolio management, design of strategic roadmaps to deliver future innovations and research outputs to support the business, mapping of research and health trends, securing of key research capabilities, commercialisation of nutrition science outputs, and interfacing between research and health marketing, and NPD project management. She is a member of the IDF Standing committee for Nutrition and Health, and has held positions as the co-chair of the Anmum Paediatric Advisory Board, and President of the Nutrition Society of New Zealand. Previously, Angela has held technical management positions, has been involved in the design of strategic milk bioactives research programmes, and has managed the key science programmes supporting several successful commercial product launches. Angela is also a registered nutritionist and has worked in or for the dairy industry for over 20 years, with some time spent in self-employment as a nutrition consultant.


Professor David Cameron-Smith was appointed Chair in Nutrition, Liggins Institute, University of Auckland in 2011 and Establishment Director of High Value Nutrition, one of the National Science Challenges. David is active in developing closer relationships between researchers and the development of high value foods, particularly those for the aged market. He has authored over 150 scientific publications, supervised 20 PhD students and been awarded numerous public and commercial grants.


Dr William Laing has worked in the Nutrigenomics programme since its inception in 2004. He focussed initially on protein responses to foods and bioactives in mouse systems of gut inflammation, and more recently led the work on the database and metabolomics. William now leads an MBIE programme to develop a food-health-biomarker database to support the food industry substantiate health claims for high value foods.

'' Dr Laurence Eyres FNZIFST runs his own contracting / consulting business for the Food and Dietary Supplements Industries specializing in dairy, oils and fats and related lipids, product and business development. He has held Managing Director (Sabre Safety) and General Manager positions as well as Technical and Operations Directors’ roles with Abels Ltd., ETA Foods, APV, Bluebird Foods, NZ Dairy Foods, and Fonterra Brands. He has also held roles in the Universities, namely Director and Associate Professor of Food Technology and Agribusiness at Massey University (2000) and as a Business Development Director at Auckland University. He is a retired board Director of FSANZ (June 2010) and has advisory roles with the NZ Nutrition Foundation and NZ Heart Foundation. He is Chairman of the NZIC Oils and Fats specialist group, a role he has held on and off for 28 years.
'' Dr William Ferguson is a General Practitioner from Kumeu with long standing interests in Maternity care, Child Development and Mental Health. In the last 10 years he has focused on nutritional medicine, with a special interest over this time in the emerging field of epigenetics, and in limited genome profiling to individualize care for patients with chronic illness.