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Professor Karl Kunert Seminar

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4 December 2012, 11am
at the James Hutton Institute, Dundee
for scientists, researchers and other interested parties
Karl Kunert

Professor Karl Kunert, currently a Marie Curie Fellow in the Africa College at Leeds University, heads the Molecular Plant Physiology group at the University of Pretoria in the Department of Plant Sciences. In this seminar entitled "Working as a plant scientist in Africa: Successes and challenges" he will discuss the development of molecular plant physiology in Africa based on over 20 years of experiences in academia and industry aimed at the development of human resources in plant biotechnology in Africa.

The impact of training of African scientists to appreciate and apply new approaches using plant biotechnology tools for crop improvement and also to support them to continue with their research activities in Africa will be highlighted. In addition, current activities to help attract larger numbers of young African scientists to become involved in science entrepreneurship enabling them to take advantage of science for the development of small to medium sized biotech enterprises (SMEs) crucial for economic growth in Africa will be presented. The successes and challenges of such capacity building activities in Africa will be discussed.

Professor Kunert has nearly 30 years of experience in molecular stress physiology and was involved in various capacity building programmes in Africa with a particular focus on the training of black scientists in South Africa and Africa. He gained his scientific and managerial experience by working in different academic environments in Europe and Africa and also the South African plant biotechnology industry. In his current research he investigates bioactive compounds for abiotic stress protection with a specific interest in processes responsible for premature plant senescence in soybean nodules induced by environmental stresses to understand in particular the function of the protease-protease inhibitor system in these processes.

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.