Aquaculture Biotechnology Research Group

The Aquaculture Biotechnology Research Group pulls together experts, postgraduate and undergraduate students to work on innovative research that can be applied to the aquaculture industry.

Our aims

The group combines key staff from the fields of aquaculture, biochemistry, microbiology, genetics, molecular biology, drug delivery, bioprospecting and commercialisation and aims to:

  • Undertake applied research with direct relevance to New Zealand’s growing aquaculture industry
  • Improve student supervision through a ‘team supervision’ model
  • Develop research excellence through multidisciplinary and cooperative work

Student focus

The group focuses on the engagement of students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, in collaborative research. It also:

  • Provides a supportive and interactive atmosphere, which stimulates students to develop their own research skills
  • Promotes research techniques and procedures which are quickly shared, and critical thinking skills that are developed through ongoing peer-evaluation of experiments and results
  • Normally supervises about 15 postgraduate students

Funding and grants

The group has:

  • Generated over $5 million in external funds (MBIE, FRST, Seafood Innovation, Ministry of Fisheries, Sustainable Seas and individual aquaculture companies)
  • Two patents which are being tested in a commercial setting
  • Collaborated with research teams throughout the world
  • Funded research networks nationally and internationally

Support and influential people

This multi-disciplinary group includes:

  • Professor Andrea C. Alfaro (Aquaculture and Marine Ecology): Expert on marine invertebrate ecology and shellfish aquaculture.
  • Associate Professor Lindsey White (Phycology and Bioprospecting): Expert on seaweed cultivation, production and value added.
  • Dr. Ali Seyfoddin (Drug Discovery/Delivery and Chemistry): Expert on pharmaceutical techniques for drug and feed formulation.
  • Dr. Leonie Venter (Metabolomics and Biochemistry): Expert on metabolomics and analytical tools.
  • Dr. Iana Gritcan (Biochemistry and Instrumentation): Expert on analytical techniques and biochemical interpretation.
  • Dr. Armagan Sabetian (Finfish aquaculture): Expert on fish condition and population dynamics.
  • Dr. Nazimah Hamid (Food Chemistry and Sensory Evaluation): Expert in chemistry and sensory analysis of seafood products.
  • Dr. Jack Chen (Chemistry and Product Development): Expert on chemical analysis and chemical modification for the development of new products.


Our students are supported through:

  • AUT Vice-Chancellor doctoral scholarships awarded to top students
  • Commonwealth scholarships
  • Asian scholarships
  • NZ Aid scholarships
  • DIKTI scholarships
  • Maori scholarships
  • International scholarships and internships
  • Industry scholarships and grants
  • Student research assistantships

Contact us

If you are interested in studying or working with us, please contact
Professor Andrea C. Alfaro.