Dr Gale Brightwell

Team Leader
Food Microbiology & Safety
Agri-Foods & Health

+64 6 351 8669

Dr Gale Brightwell

Biographical Information

Over the last seven years Gale has been working in NZ for AgResearch MIRINZ, where she has been responsible for the management of the science strategy, research programmes and technical staff within the Food Microbiology and Safety Team. The Team is split over two sites, the Hopkirk Institute at Massey University and MIRINZ Ruakura. Gale’s research interests cover many aspects of food safety and molecular microbiology. In particular, the rapid detection and identification of zoonotic organisms using molecular based technologies and understanding the microbial ecology and bacterial population dynamics within complex environments. Gale is Programme Leader for the FRST Value from Quality and Key Researcher on FRST IMPACT and Clean Water and Productive Land.

Gale originally trained as a Medical Laboratory Officer at the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary and completed her degree and PhD in molecular biosciences at the University of East Anglia (1993). Gale’s first postdoctoral position was at Bristol University studying the role of the transcription factor, WT1, in normal nephrogenesis and Wilms’ tumour (WT) development. After two years she joined the Centre for Molecular Cell Biology at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia and worked on the characterization of Brn-2, an octamer DNA binding protein normally expressed in the developing neural crest, adult brain and melanoma.

She returned to the UK in 1995 to work for the UK government at DSTL Porton Down, Wiltshire, to work with pathogenic organisms and undertook training to work at ACDP level III containment. Studies included a number of projects including the development of rapid detection assays for pathogenic bacteria and viruses and the identification of candidate molecules for vaccine development. This work led to three patents. After 4 years at Porton Down she went back to working in a hospital environment and spent the next 4 years working on a Welcome Trust Funded project, at Salisbury District Hospital to investigate the molecular mechanisms behind one of the most common forms of mental retardation in children, Fragile X.


Food assurance