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Dr William Laing

Position: Science Group Leader, Biological Chemistry and Bioactives, Plant & Food Research

Role in NuNZ: Leader: tools

Research interests and activities

Biological chemistry, molecular biochemistry, gene functional analysis. Leadership role in both kiwifruit new cultivar research and in Nutrigenomics. Both these programmes depend on broad knowledge in genes and genetics of plants and humans, as well as knowledge of food.


PhD Plant Physiology, University of Illinois, USA
BSc (First Class Honours) Botany, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
BSc Botany, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Honours and awards

2007 Chairman’s Award for vitamin C work.
2007 Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship renewal.
2001 Chairman’s Award for Functional Genomics.
1999 Recipient of Trimble award and NZ/German Exchange fellowship (ISAT).
1999 Member of NZ Society of Biochemistry.
1999 Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship renewal.
1998 Recipient of Marsden Research Award on RubisCO.
1996 Recipient Marsden Research Award on SQAPI.
1992 Member of MORST review of Output 6.
1987 OECD Travel Award.
1987 Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship renewal.
1985 Awarded a Citation Classic by ISI for seminal RubisCO paper.
1979–80 Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship awarded for research in Germany.
1979–80 DSIR Study Award.
1971–73 Fullbright Scholarship.
1969 Fruit Federation Study Grant.

Key publications

  • Sean Bulley, Michele Wright, Caius Rommens, Hua Yan, Maysoon Rassam, Kui Lin-Wang, Christelle Andre, Di Brewster, Sakuntala Karunairetnam, Andrew C. Allan,c, William A Laing Enhancing ascorbate in fruits and tubers through over-expression of the L-galactose pathway gene GDP-L-Galactose Phosphorylase accepted  Plant Biotechnology J
  • Sol Green, Edward N. Baker, William Laing 2011A non-synonymous nucleotide substitution can account for one evolutionary route to sesquiterpene synthase activity in the TPS-b subgroup In Press Corrected Proof , FEBS Letters DOI: 10.1016/j.febslet.2011.04.038  vol 585, Issue 12, Pages 1841-1846
  • Shelley J Edmunds,  Nicole C Roy, Marcus Davey, Janine M Cooney, Matthew PG Barnett, Shuotun Zhu, Zaneta Park, Donald R Love, William A Laing. Effects of kiwifruit extracts on colonic gene and protein expression levels in Interleukin-10 gene-deficient mice. Accepted British Journal of Nutrition
  • Shelley J Edmunds; Nicole C Roy, Donald R Love, William Laing 2011 Kiwifruit extracts inhibit cytokine production by lipopolysaccharide-activated macrophages and intestinal epithelial cells isolated from il10 gene deficient mice. Cellular Immunology 270(1):70-9
  • Martin H, Comeskey D, Simpson RM, Laing WA and Tony K. McGhie Quantification of Folate in Whole Plant Extracts: a fluorescence-based homogeneous assay. Analytical Biochemistry 402 (2010) 137–145
  • Headey SJ, MacAskill UK, Wright MA, Claridge JK, Edwards PJB, Farley PC, Christeller JT, Laing WA, Pascal SM 2010 The solution structure of the squash aspartic acid proteinase inhibitor (SQAPI) and mutational analysis of pepsin inhibition.  Journal of Biological Chemistry 285:27019-27025