- PhD candidate (Biological Science, Ecology). University of Waikato
- MSc (Environmental Toxicology). Joseph Fourier University, 2013
- BSc (Biological Science). Joseph Fourier University, 2011
Role at Cawthron
Laura is a Senior Research Technician with the Coastal and Freshwater group, and a PhD Candidate at Waikato University.
During her time at Cawthron Laura has worked in various roles, including food chemistry technician in Analytical Services’ IANZ accredited laboratory, and senior technician for the Environmental Technologies team, researching seafood safety and toxic microalgae (cyanobacteria and marine dinoflagellates).
Laura is passionate about protecting and improving New Zealand’s environment and is interested in the use of molecular techniques to monitor and understand aquatic organisms and habitats.
Laura assists senior scientists with a range of research projects and is involved in the Safe New Zealand Seafood Programme funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
Laura received a scholarship from the New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Center for her PhD. Her project aims to investigate the sources and transmission of tetrodotoxin (“pufferfish neurotoxin”) in New Zealand bivalves and marine food webs.
Technical skills, experience and interests
- Molecular techniques for detecting and enumerating microorganisms (PCR, qPCR)
- DNA sequencing
- High-throughput sequencing
- Biotoxin extractions and analysis
- Shellfish anatomy and histology
- Algae taxonomy
- Microscopy and algae culturing
- Toxic microalgae (freshwater and marine)
- Laboratory management
Achievements and affiliations
- New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Center inaugural PhD scholarship
- Explora’Sup Fund (France, 2013)
- NZ Association of Women in Sciences (AWIS)
View Laura's ResearchGate profile
- Smith KF, Biessy L, Argyle P, Trnski T, Halafihi T and Rhodes L 2017. Molecular identification of Gambierdiscus and Fukuyoa (Dinophyceae) from environmental samples. Marine Drugs. Volume 15, Issue 8. Pages 243-255.
- Rhodes L, Smith KF, Harwood DT, Murray JS and Biessy L 2017. Is Gambierdiscus expanding its geographic range in the Pacific region. Harmful Algae News. Issue 56. Pages 1-4.
- Wood SA, Borges H, Puddick J, Biessy L, Atalah J, Hawes I, Dietrich DR and Hamilton DP 2016. Contrasting cyanobacterial communities and microcystin concentrations in summers with extreme weather events: Insights into potential effects of climate change. Hydrobiologia. Volume 785. Pages 71-89.
- Biessy L, Atalah J, Beuzenberg V, Kuhajek J and Wood SA 2016. Measuring the influence of nutrients and river water on the photosynthetic efficiency of Didymosphenia geminata using pulse amplitude modulated fluorometry. Diatom Research, 2016. Online.
- Wood SA, Biessy L, Atalah J, Pochon X and Clapcott J 2015. Molecular detection of bacterial and fungal communities in non-wadeable rivers - a pilot study for ecological health assessment. Cawthron Report 2740. Prepared for Waikato Regional Council. 13 pages plus appendices.