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International accolade for photobiologist

janet bornman

Professor Janet Bornman (pictured), a Murdoch University researcher, has won a prestigious international award for her research into the ways solar radiation affects life on Earth, including global food security, sustainable development and climate change.

Professor Bornman will receive the Finsen Medal, which is bestowed every four or so years to distinguished photobiologists for their outstanding contribution to the field.

Currently the Director of Future Legumes Research, Education and Training at Murdoch University and part of Murdoch’s Food Futures Institute, Professor Bornman’s research centres around the way organisms respond to light and the many interactive effects of their environment.

“Everyone understands how light affects plant growth, but it also affects the colour, taste, nutritional content, vitamins and fibre content of plants,” Professor Bornman said.

“Environmental photobiology is becoming increasingly connected to the current rapid global climate change, with substantial consequences for humans, other animals, and food security in terms of agriculture and fisheries.

“Ultimately my research interests are about the links between environmental stress, and agriculture, health and nutrition.”

Professor Bornman said she felt privileged to be added to the list of Finsen medallists.

“It is an honour to be receiving the medal in memory of Niels Finsen, who was a Nobel Laureate and a pioneer in photobiology,” Professor Bornman said.

“I am proud to have played a small part in the dynamic field of photobiology, which is life itself.”

Professor Bornman will deliver the award lecture on environmental photobiology at the joint International Union of Photobiology-European Society for Photobiology Congress on Light and Life in Barcelona later in 2019, and will chair a symposium on the implications of UV radiation and rapid climate change for plants and ecosystems.

This article was first published in R4A.

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