Wananga landing Wananga landing

Free public talk – What’s your poison: How do we resist antibiotic resistance?

05 August 2022

In his Tauhere UC Connect public lecture on Wednesday 10 August, University of Canterbury Professor Jack Heinemann will explain how we created antibiotic-resistant bacteria and how we can help stop them.


Pop quiz: Would bees prefer to get their water from:

  • nectar
  • mud puddles
  • fountains
  • dog bowls
  • toilet bowls

According to University of Canterbury genetics and molecular biology expert Professor Jack Heinemann, the answer might reveal why so many bacteria that cause infections in people, pets and pollinators are becoming resistant to antibiotics.

SDG3-Good Health and Well-Being

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 - Good Health and Well-Being

These antibiotic-resistant bacteria are everywhere. So, how did our rivers and seashores, our wild and grocery-store foods get this way?

In his Tauhere UC Connect public lecture on Wednesday 10 August, Professor Heinemann will explain how we created antibiotic-resistant bacteria and how we can help stop them.

“The rise of antibiotic resistance is a story of many paths, like he awa whiria (a braided river),” Professor Heinemann says.

“Through our research we have found that many chemical exposures – such as to agrichemicals and food additives – that have become common only since the invention of modern antibiotics can cause bacteria to respond differently to antibiotics. This renders the drugs less effective.

“Herbicides, for example, are used on farms, city parks, berms, household lawns and gardens at unprecedented scales. You breathe them in when you walk through a hardware store, vacuum a carpet or take a walk on a rainy day,” he says.

“Did you ever wonder how they taste to a bee?”

Join us at this upcoming talk – What’s your poison: How do we resist antibiotic resistance? – to find out.


About the speaker


Dr Jack A. Heinemann is a professor of genetics and molecular biology in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. He has had a long-time interest in evolution and microbial genetics, particularly antibiotic resistance and horizontal gene transfer. He has contributed to significant environmental assessments, such as the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor’s “Kotahitanga. Uniting Aotearoa against infectious disease and antimicrobial resistance”, Chapter 6 of the Global Report, and of the biotechnology section of the Synthesis Report, for the International Assessment on Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) and Chapter 5 of the Working Group II report of the International Panel on Climate Change (6th report) on biotechnology for climate change mitigation. The proud mentor of many graduate students, he is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, recipient of the ICAAC Young Investigator Award from the American Society for Microbiology (1993) and the New Zealand Association of Scientists Research Medal (2002).

Tauhere UC Connect public lecture – What’s your poison: How do we resist antibiotic resistance? presented by Professor Jack Heinemann, Te Kura Pūtaiao Koiora | School of Biological Sciences, from 7pm-8pm, Wednesday 10 August, in C1, Central Lecture Theatre, University of Canterbury, Ilam, Christchurch 8041.

Register to attend free:  
Tauhere UC Connect public talks are also livestreamed on the UC Facebook page and recorded for the Tauhere UC Connect YouTube channel.

Media contact
  • Email
  • Phone: (03) 369 3631 or 027 503 0168
What to read next
Privacy Preferences

By clicking "Accept All Cookies", you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.