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BIOTECHNOLOGY

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Title: BIOTECHNOLOGY


1
BIOTECHNOLOGY
FACTS, FALLACIES AND FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS
Mel CollingsCenter for Molecular Biodiscovery
University of Auckland Young Maori Leaders
Conference20 21 June 2005
2
OVERVIEW
  • Introduction to Biotechnology in New Zealand
  • The Science behind Biotechnology
  • An example of Biotechnology
  • Tikanga Ideas Surrounding the Research
  • Discussion of Leadership and Future Developments

3
INTRODUCTION
Biotechnology is loosely defined as the
incorporation of biology in to todays technology.
To brew beer
Brewers Yeast
Malted Barley
4
INTRODUCTION CONTINUED
The New Zealand Biotechnology sector is currently
made up of approximately 350 organizations, 20
research centers and 42 Biotechnology companies,
and is still growing.
  • Our strengths in Biotechnology lie in 5
    particular areas
  • Animal-based Technologies
  • Plant-based Technologies
  • Biomedical and Health Research
  • Innovative Food and Beverage Products
  • Biocontrol and Biosecurity

5
THE SCIENCE
In general, there is no one methodology that a
researcher will use. Instead it depends on the
application being developed.
Step One Identification of an unmet need.
This is likely to be a problem within farming,
agriculture, biomedical, food and beverages or
biosecurity. Acknowledge that this is actually a
problem, then try to describe and define that
problem.
6
SCIENCE CONTINUED
Step two Examine other biological systems to see
if this, or a similar problem, has arisen
elsewhere. Identify a target that may
potentially lead to a solution to the original
unmet need.
Step three Investigate and characterize every
single aspect of the identified target, both
within the area of research and outside of the
area of research as well.
7
SCIENCE CONTINUED
Step four Translate the identified and
characterized target in to the area of the
original unmet need, without disrupting its
intrinsic function.
Example Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
8
AN EXAMPLE
Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus is a metabolic disorder.
Maori are three times more likely to develop
this condition than the general population.
Affected Person
Unaffected Person
Eat Food
Eat Food
Glucose
Energy
Glucose
Energy
Pancreas
Pancreas
Insulin
Insulin
Potential complications include heart disease,
blindness, kidney failure, neuropathy and male
impotence.
9
THE EXAMPLE CONTINUED
Pharmacological intervention for this condition
is centered in replacing the lost insulin.
The first other biological systems investigated
were that of pigs and cows.
Current treatment involves administration of
human insulin purified from bacteria. This
treatment is almost totally effective, with
minimal side effects.
10
TIKANGA ASPECTS
The best description of Tikanga is the literal
translation rightness or correctness. As such
it must be given due consideration when
undertaking science research.
On whose Tikanga should this be based?
Does the science respect the tapu of the
organisms involved in the research? What about
the tapu of the God under whose domain that
organism falls?
11
TIKANGA CONTINUED
Is the science likely to cause any damage to the
mauri of the organisms involved?
Is there a precedent for the research? Would
this allow a more traditional tauira or model to
be built up?
What if there is a breech of tapu, or damage to
the mauri of an organism, how do you decide who
is responsible? How can they go about making
amends? Is it possible to reach a state of noa?
12
TIKANGA CONTINUED
Often, it is down to the principles of the
individual involved, with guidance under
whanaungatanga and manaakitanga. Is this tika?
These discussions will help us to decide,
firstly, if we want to be involved at all and
secondly, what we actually want to be involved
in.
13
LEADERSHIP AND SCIENCE
Science is built up in facts the way a house is
built up in stones a pile of facts, however, is
no more a science that a pile of stones is a
house.
Every individual has some aspects of themselves
that are like everybody else, some aspects that
are like some others, and aspects of themselves
that are theirs and theirs alone.
An effective leader will recognize this and
encourage individuals to use their own strengths
to achieve a common goal for a common good.
14
LEADERSHIP CONTINUED
  • Personal qualities exhibited by most leaders
    include
  • The ability to see the whole picture
  • The ability to exert a positive effect on others
  • The ability to seek out opportunities
  • Self confidence and confidence in others
  • Places emphasis on freedom and empowerment for
    the individual.

15
LEADERSHIP CONTINUED
I start with the premise that the function of
leadership is create more leaders, not more
followers.
  • A leader will take on two roles
  • Social or emotional listening, acknowledging,
    supporting, maintaining group dynamic, resolution
    of conflicts.
  • Managerial or task-based organization and
    clarification of different roles, achievement of
    goals.

An effective leader will manage the projects and
lead the people.
16
LEADERSHIP CONTINUED
So how do we achieve this? Use success to build
success. Acknowledge the implied personal
responsibility.
There are two distinct types of leaders
assigned and emergent leaders. In general, our
directions come as a balance somewhere between
the two.
  • We exhibit two great strengths
  • Ability to discuss and debate, to generate a
    collective voice or opinion.
  • Recognition of our Kaitiakitanga responsibilities.

17
LEADERSHIP CONTINUED
Science research should be openly discussed with
everyday people as well as with our natural
leaders, discussions prompted by our emergent
leaders. The research itself should be
undertaken with care, respect and responsibility.

Maori leaders often bring with them unique
insights that are likely to prompt the direction
of the research into areas that are likely to be
of more importance to us as a people.
The requirements of emergent leaders are likely
to change, but for the here and now, we need them
to open those lines of communication.
18
SO, IN SUMMARY
Biotechnology is the meeting of biology and
technology, and is an area of research that is
slowly growing to encompass more and more areas
of research.
We are faced with the opportunity of prompting
the direction of the research in to areas that we
would like to see it move into.
Emergent leaders should be tasked with the
communicating the science to those outside the
scientific community as well as undertaking the
research themselves.
19
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
  • I would like to thank the following people
  • Colleagues at the Centre for Molecular
    Biodiscovery.
  • My supervisors, Professor Ted Baker, Dr. James
    Dickson and Dr. Chris Squire.
  • One of my mentors, Professor Michael Walker.
  • The Foundation for Research Science and
    Technology.

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