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Singing songs of science

1st December, 2011

When he’s not working on understanding how foods affect Inflammatory Bowel Diseases or trying to unravel the mysteries of nutrition and epigenetics, AgResearch scientist Dr Matthew Barnett can be found penning ditties to help communicate the value of science to a more general audience. It all began with ‘The Epigenome Song’, which was written as an entry to the MacDiarmid Young Scientists of the year award in 2009. While not successful in the awards, the song is approaching 15,000 views on YouTube, has appeared on both television and radio in New Zealand, and continues to get attention from teaching universities and schools around the world. ‘The Epigenome Song’ was followed by ‘I Love Fibre’, recently performed by Matthew and his band as part of Professor Lynn Ferguson’s lecture “Carbohydrate: Friend or Foe?”, which formed part of The University of Auckland’s 2011 Vice-Chancellor’s lecture series. Matthew was also commissioned to compose a version of the ’12 Days of Christmas’ for AgResearch, and is currently working on a song entitled ‘The Good Oil’, which bemoans the current negative attitudes towards dietary fat, and extols the virtues of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and other ‘healthy’ fats.

Matthew's songs can be seen on the AgResearch YouTube channel.