Find out more about the people behind Cawthron Institute.

Johan Svenson

Science Leader, Algal Research and Bioactives

Role at Cawthron

Johan joined Cawthron in 2019 as the Science Leader of Algal Research and Bioactives. Johan’s main research areas of interest are marine natural products, marine biotechnology, antifouling, medicinal chemistry, biomaterials and peptide chemistry. At Cawthron, Johan leads Cawthron’s development of a New Zealand algae sector by exploring collaborative R&D programmes to generate algal based products, novel bioactives for commercial applications, as well as analytical standards.

Johan’s research background includes a wealth of international experience. After completing his PhD in 2003, Johan spent 10 years in Norway working on marine bioprospecting and searching for novel bioactive natural products in Arctic marine organisms and algae. In addition, he spent 15 years leading the development of bioactive peptides inspired by natural compounds. Previous roles include Associate Professor (docent) in Biomaterials Chemistry at the Linnaeus University (Sweden), and Research Manager of Chemistry and Materials at RISE Research Institute of Sweden.

In addition to a passion for marine life, he brings a chemical viewpoint and a commercial perspective to algal research at Cawthron. Johan is a prolific writer and has co-authored 50 research papers and more than 30 miscellaneous and popular science articles.

Technical skills, experience and interests

  • Medicinal chemistry
  • Marine natural products
  • Marine biotechnology
  • Antifouling
  • Biomaterials
  • Peptide chemistry