Our Team

Sarah Heine, CEO

Sarah has served as CEO of the company since late 2008 and prior to this was the Manager of ATLAS Technology which provides integrated forest management and processing software to the forestry industry. The board unanimously selected Sarah based on her demonstrated strong managerial and leadership skills. She leads a dedicated and talented team of scientists working alongside development and commercialisation specialists to deliver pioneering research in bio-based technologies.

Dr Kate Parker

Dr Kate Parker is a chemist who is developing new packaging materials using biomaterials.  Kate's particular field of interest is biopolymer foams as alternatives to expanded polystyrene.  She graduated from the University of Auckland with a PhD in green chemistry before taking up a Post-doctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia, Canada.  Kate has 17 year's experience with wastewater remediation, green chemistry processes (including CO2 processing) and biomaterials working closely with industry partners.  Since 2007 her work has focused on biobased options and in particular on developing high performance bioplastics, thermoset bioresins and biopolymer foams.  She is a Team Leader (Biopolymer and Chemical Technologies) and Project Leader at Scion, Rotorua, New Zealand.

Dr Nigel Larsen

Dr Nigel Larsen is Science Group Leader for Bioresources Engineering and Chemistry in the Food Innovation Portfolio at Plant and Food Research. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor with the Biomolecular Interactions Centre at the University of Canterbury, a Principal Investigator with the Riddet Institute’s Centre of Research Excellence hosted by Massey University, and has been on the Biopolymer Network Research Management Team since its inception in 2004. Dr Larsen gained his PhD at Massey University and carried out Post-Doctoral studies at the University of Southern California. The Bioresources Engineering and Chemistry group at Plant & Food Research develops ingredients, processes and products from research into food and bio-resources chemistry, bio-extracts and biomaterials engineering. Nigel’s personal interest in biomaterials and potential nanotechnology applications in foods and materials stems from his group’s work on protein structures, emulsions and structured materials, and a joint programme with ESR social scientists on emerging food technologies.

Peter Brorens

Peter Brorens has 26 years experience in the research and development in wool and textile related areas. Starting at the Wool Research Organisation of NZ (WRONZ) in 1985 with a BSC in physics.  He has specialised in fibre processing and yarn structure. WRONZ changed into Canesis limited and then became part of AgResearch in 2007. He joined the Biopolymer Network near its inception in 2004. Since then he has developed a knowledge of long plant fibres properties and their processing. He now heads a small team studying the performance of plant fibres in composites, and the potential uses for plant fibre composites.

Steve Ranford

Steve is a senior scientist with a BSc Operations Research.  He joined AgResearch in January 2007 and is a member of the food and bio-based products team having previously worked with Wool Research Organisation of New Zealand, which he joined in 1980. He is working on projects with a particular focus on bio-based product development and industrial process measurement.

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