Professor Philip Harris, Professor

Professor

Professor

Plant Molecular Science

Phone: 09-3737599 x88366
Rm 315A
Email: p.harris@auckland.ac.nz

Plant Cell Walls Laboratory

Research Interests

My research interests center on the study of plant cell walls. These structures play a dynamic and central role in plant growth and development, and are important in many aspects of agriculture, horticulture, forestry, food science, and medicine. For example, plant cell walls are the major component of wood and are the "dietary fibre" of human foods. The cell walls of forage plants are also the main energy source for ruminant animals, and thus profoundly influence the production of dairy products, sheep meat, beef, and wool.

Current research includes the following:

  • Evolution of cell-wall polysaccharides and cell-wall phenolic components in monocotyledons, eudicotyledons, gymnosperms, ferns and bryophytes
  • Cell walls of wood in relation to wood quality
  • The biosynthesis of cell-wall polysaccharides, especially in gymnosperms
  • Cell walls (dietary fibre) in food plants.
  • Cell walls (fibre) in forages and ruminant nutrition

For these studies, we use a wide variety of modern techniques, including chemical and biochemical techniques as well as immunochemistry.

Projects suitable for postgraduate students are always available. Contact Professor Philip Harris for details.