UC SPARK - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Professor Jack Heinemann

Biological Sciences

Fields of Research

  • Microbial genetics and evolution
  • Horizontal gene transfer
  • Risk assessment especially of genetically modified organisms
  • Academic freedom and role of critic and conscience of society
  • Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
  • Conflicts of interest in research
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Project management
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Science, technology and tertiary sector policies including funding

Researcher Summary

Research interests include the genetics and molecular biology of single-celled bacteria, phage and some eukaryotic microorganisms, horizontal gene transfer, particularly conjugation, effects of stress, particularly induced by antibiotics and agrochemicals, evolution and risk assessment, influence of language on science and eugenics. Specific interests are the biochemical and genetic characterization of horizontal gene transfer (particularly as it relates to the evolution of virulence and antibiotic resistance in microbes and the risks of genetically modified/engineered organisms) and yeast, bacteria and the test of evolutionary theories.

Subject Area: Disciplines

Research Groups

Future Research

  • Particular ongoing emphasis on how antibiotic resistance evolves and persists, role of toxin-anti-toxin systems in the evolution of fundamental cellular reactions, and in recruiting vectors of horizontal (lateral) gene transfer.

Key Methodologies

  • genetic engineering, molecular biology, microbial genetics, genotoxicity

Prizes and Awards

  • TEU Award of Excellence in the area of Academic Freedom (2014)
  • ICAAC Young Investigator (1993)
  • New Zealand Association of Scientists Research Medal (2002)
  • University of Canterbury Teaching Innovation Award (2015)

Research Service

  • Created the NZIGE/INBI. Serve as director (2001-present)

Research/Scholarly/Creative Works

  • Hilbeck, A., Binimelis, R., Defarge, N., Steinbrecher, R., Székács, A., Wickson, F., Antoniou,M., Bereano, P.L., Clark, E.A., Hansen, M., Novotny, E., Heinemann, J., Meyer, H., Shiva, V. and Wynne, B. (2015) No scientific consensus on GMO safety. Environmental Sciences Europe 27(1): 4. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12302-014-0034-1. Access via UC Research Repository. (Journal Articles)
  • Heinemann, J.A., Agapito-Tenfen, S.Z. and Kurenbach, B. (2015) Response to "A 28-day oral toxicity evaluation of small interfering RNAs and a long double stranded RNA targeting vacuolar ATPase in mice.". Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 71(3): 599-600. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yrtph.2015.02.003. (Journal Articles)
  • Heinemann, J.A. (2015) Statement of primary evidence for hearings on GMO provisions in the Auckland Unitary Plan and Whangarei and Far North District Plans. Commissioned by Whangarei and Auckland District Councils. (Reports)
  • Heinemann, J.A. (2015) Statement of rebuttal evidence for hearings on GMO provisions in the Auckland Unitary Plan and Whangarei and Far North District Plans. Commissioned by Whangarei and Auckland District Councils. https://hearings.aupihp.govt.nz/hearings. (Reports)
  • Kurenbach, B., Marjoshi, D., Amábile-Cuevas, C.F., Ferguson, G.C., Godsoe, W., Gibson, P. and Heinemann, J.A. (2015) Sublethal Exposure to Commercial Formulations of the Herbicides Dicamba, 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, and Glyphosate Cause Changes in Antibiotic Susceptibility in Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. mBio 6(2): e00009-15. http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.00009-15. (Journal Articles)
  • Heinemann, J.A. and Kurenbach, B. (2014) Horizontal transfer of genes between microorganisms. In M. Caplan (Ed.), Reference Module in Biomedical Research (1st ed.): 597-606. London: Elsevier. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-801238-3.02360-6. (Chapters in Books)
  • Heinemann, J.A., Massaro, M., Coray, D.S. and Agapito-Tenfen, S.Z. (2014) Reply to comment on sustainability and innovation in staple crop production in the US Midwest. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 12(4): 387-390. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14735903.2014.939843. (Journal Articles)
  • Heinemann, J.A., Massaro, M., Coray, D.S., Zanon Agapito-Tenfen, S. and Wen, J.D. (2014) Sustainability and innovation in staple crop production in the US Midwest. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 12(1): 71-88. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14735903.2013.806408. (Journal Articles)
  • Heinemann, J.A., Zanon Agapito-Tenfen, S. and Carman, J.A. (2013) A comparative evaluation of the regulation of GM crops or products containing dsRNA and suggested improvements to risk assessments. Environment International 55: 43-55. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2013.02.010. (Journal Articles)
  • Hilbeck, A., Lebrecht, T., Vogel, R., Heinemann, J.A. and Binimelis, R. (2013) Farmer's choice of seeds in four EU countries under different levels of GM crop adoption. Environmental Sciences Europe 25(1): 12. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/2190-4715-25-12. (Journal Articles)
  • Heinemann, J.A. (2013) Genetic engineering and biotechnology for food security and for climate change mitigation and adaptation: potential and risks. In United Nations (Ed.), Wake Up Before It Is Too Late - Make Agriculture Truly Sustainable Now For Food Security In A Changing Climate: 203-218. New York: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/ditcted2012d3_en.pdf. (Chapters in Books)
  • Quist, D., Heinemann, J.A., Myhr, A.I., Aslaksen, I. and Funtowicz, S. (2013) Hungry for innovation in a world of food: Pathways from GM crops to agroecology. In D. Gee (Ed.), Late Lessons from Early Warnings (2nd ed.): 29. Cophenhagen: EEA. (Chapters in Books)
  • Heinemann, J.A. (2012) Briefing on Suggestions on How to Apply International Safety Testing Guidelines for Genetically Modified Organisms. Commissioned by Supreme Court of India. (Reports)
  • Heinemann, J.A. (2012) Evaluation of risks from creation of novel RNA molecules in genetically engineered wheat plants and recommendations for risk assessment. Safe Food Institute, Australia. Commissioned by Safe Food Institute. 16pp. www.inbi.canterbury.ac.nz. Access via UC Research Repository. (Reports)
  • Bigwood, T., Hudson, J.A., Cooney, J., McIntyre, L., Billington, C., Heinemann, J.A. and Wall, F. (2012) Inhibition of Listeria monocytogenes by Enterococcus mundtii isolated from soil. Food Microbiology 32(2): 354-360. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fm.2012.07.015. (Journal Articles)
  • Rankin, D.J., Turner, L.A., Heinemann, J.A. and Brown, S.P. (2012) The coevolution of toxin and antitoxin genes drives the dynamics of bacterial addiction complexes and intragenomic conflict. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 279(1743): 3706-3715. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2012.0942. (Journal Articles)
  • Bigot, B., Lee, W-J., McIntyre, L., Wilson, T., Hudson, J.A., Billington, C. and Heinemann, J.A. (2011) Control of Listeria monocytogenes growth in a ready-to-eat poultry product using a bacteriophage. Food Microbiology 28(8): 1448-1452. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fm.2011.07.001. (Journal Articles)
  • Heinemann, J.A., Kurenbach, B. and Bleyendaal, N. (2011) Evaluation of horizontal gene transfer monitoring experiments conducted in New Zealand between 2004 and 2009. Journal of Organic Systems 6(1): 3-19. (Journal Articles)
  • Heinemann, J.A. (2011) How the world looks to a gene. Monte Verita, Switzerland: Understanding and managing ecological novelty: Towards an integrative framework of the socio-ecological risks of novel organisms, 4-9 Sep 2011. (Conference - Other - Oral presentations)
  • Coray, D.S., Keenan, J.I. and Heinemann, J.A. (2011) Human lactoferrin increases Helicobacter pylori internalisation into AGS cells. World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11274-011-0984-z. (Journal Articles)
  • Romero-Suarez, S., Jordan, B. and Heinemann, J.A. (2011) Isolation and characterization of bacteriophages infecting Xanthomonas arboricola pv. juglandis, the causal agent of walnut blight disease. World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11274-011-0992-z. (Journal Articles)
  • Lee, W-J., Billington, C., Hudson, J.A. and Heinemann, J.A. (2011) Isolation and characterization of phages infecting Bacillus cereus. Letters in Applied Microbiology 52(5): 456-464. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1472-765X.2011.03023.x. (Journal Articles)
  • Heinemann, J.A., Kurenbach, B. and Quist, D. (2011) Molecular profiling - a tool for addressing emerging gaps in the comparative risk assessment of GMOs. Environment International 37(7): 1285-1293. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2011.05.006. (Journal Articles)
  • Heinemann, J.A. (2011) Potential and risks of genetic engineering and biotechnology related to assuring food security under the challenges of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Commissioned by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. (Reports)
  • Heinemann, J.A. (2010) Agriculture at a crossroads - beyond IAASTD. Zurich, Switzerland: Tropentag 2010. World food system: A contribution from Europe, 14-16 Sep 2010. (Conference - Other - Oral presentations)
  • Heinemann, J.A. (2010) AHTEG on Risk Assessment - Process and Outcomes. Nagoya, Japan: Key Decsions for Adoption at COP-MOP 5, 11 Oct 2010. (Oral Presentations)
  • Heinemann, J. (2010) Are some scientists just taking the cis out of genetic engineering? Pt I. Sciblog.co.nz (NZ Royal Society). (Other)
  • Heinemann, J. (2010) Are some scientists just taking the cis out of genetic engineering? Pt II. Sciblog.co.nz (NZ Royal Society). (Other)
  • Heinemann, J. (2010) Is genetic engineering just like breeding? Sciblog.co.nz (NZ Royal Society). (Other)
  • Cooper, T.F., Paixão, T. and Heinemann, J.A. (2010) Within-host competition selects for plasmid-encoded toxin-antitoxin systems. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 277(1697): 3149-3155. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2010.0831. (Journal Articles)