Professor Margaret Barbour commenced her position as Dean of Science at the University of Waikato on 18 November. She was previously Professor of Plant Physiology in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Neil Quigley says, “We are delighted to welcome Professor Barbour back to the University of Waikato where she started her tertiary education. Professor Barbour is a leading expert in her scientific field, and will be an asset in leading the School of Science into the future.”
Experimental plant physiology is the focus of Professor Barbour’s research, and she is an internationally recognised expert in stable isotope effects during photosynthesis, respiration and transpiration of higher plants. She pioneered novel stable isotope techniques to measure isofluxes between plants and the atmosphere, as well as developing an underlying theory to explain variation.
These techniques and theory have allowed new understanding of plant regulation of carbon and water dynamics, with applications in crop production, plant ecological physiology and paleoclimatic reconstruction from tree rings.
Professor Barbour completed her Bachelor and Master of Science from the University of Waikato, before heading overseas to complete her PhD in plant physiology from the Australian National University (ANU). Following her PhD, Professor Barbour spent time at Landcare Research in New Zealand, before moving back over the Tasman to take up an Australian Research Council Fellowship at the University of Sydney, and then more recently as Associate Dean of Research for the Faculty of Science.
“I am delighted to be back in my personal heartland, and excited to contribute to the future of the University of Waikato,” says Professor Barbour.
“In this age of public questioning of scientific evidence, it is important that we scientists find new ways to connect our understanding with that from other disciplines, with policy makers, and with the public. I look forward to helping build these connections.”