Dr Gale Brightwell is the Associate Director and Science Theme Leader (Mitigation) for NZ Food Safety Science and Research Centre Science
Other positions include Team Leader for Food Assurance and Meat Quality for AgResearch and Acting Director Hopkirk Research Institute.
Dr Brightwell’s research interests cover many aspects of food assurance and molecular microbiology. In particular, the rapid detection and identification of zoonotic organisms, pre and post-harvest antimicrobial intervention and control of pathogens, understanding the microbial ecology and bacterial population dynamics within complex environments as well as clostridial spoilage of meat and dairy products.
Dr Brightwell originally trained as a Medical Laboratory Officer at the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary and completed her degree and PhD in molecular microbiology at the University of East Anglia. Her first postdoctoral position was at Bristol University studying the role of the transcription factor, WT1, in normal nephrogenesis and Wilms’ tumour (WT) development. After two years she joined the Centre for Molecular Cell Biology at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia to work on another transcription factor, Brn-2, involved in melanoma proliferation. She returned to the UK where her work at DSTL Porton Down, Wiltshire, led to three patents; before joining AgResearch in 2004, she spent four years working on a Welcome Trust Funded investigating the molecular mechanisms behind one of the most common forms of mental retardation in boys, Fragile X.
Research undertaken by the Food Assurance and Meat Quality Team is aimed at addressing industry needs across the whole value chain continuum from rumen to retail. This holistic approach involves consideration of every stage from on-farm to food consumption including microbiology, food safety, provenance, product quality; processing technology; social or religious requirements such as Halal as well as identifying ways of measuring quality and appearance of products for export and domestic markets.