Charles Sturt University
Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation

In the Limelight: Chris Blanchard

Position: Professor of Food Science

Organisation: Graham Centre

Career Brief

a man in a white lab coatI completed an undergraduate degree in Medical Science at Charles Sturt University followed by a PhD in Plant Molecular Biology, also through Charles Sturt. I was one of the University’s first PhD graduates.

After completing my PhD I worked as a molecular biologist in a cancer research lab in Switzerland then as a grain protein biochemist at CSIRO.

I returned to Wagga in 1998 as a lecturer in Food Science. Since returning to Charles Sturt my research has mostly focused on grain functionality.

I have had the opportunity to serve in a number of industry roles including Chair of the RACI Cereal Chemistry Division, Australasian Grain Science Association Council Chair, Member of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Southern Panel and Non-Executive Director of the GRDC.

I have been fortunate to receive funding from a range of organisations including Agrifutures, GRDC, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), Australian Research Council and various Cooperative Research Centres.The FGC team

Research and Teaching Activities and Interests

Research activities  

My team’s current research projects include a GRDC project looking and high value uses of sorghum, an ACIAR project assisting small landholder farmers to improve their pulse production, a Food Agility CRC project using machine learning to predict rice quality and various grains related commercial research projects.

Teaching activities

Most of my teaching activities are currently with postgraduate students. My 30th PhD student recently submitted their thesis.

Professional Links

I have had a strong connection with the Australasian Grain Science Association. I have chaired this organisation on two separate occasions and chaired the annual conference three times (most recently as an online conference due to COVID).

A typical day for me includes …

As I have been mostly working from home during COVID, my day normally starts with making lunch and a cup of tea for my wife who is a school teacher. I then spend most of my day on zoom but try to escape at some time to seek coffee and human contact.

My main project at the moment is …

My main focus at the moment is working on some large GRDC and federal government tenders.

My favourite part of my job is …

Seeing our PhD students graduate. Not because I like to see them leave! It is just very rewarding to see the growth and successes of our students during and after their candidature.

When I am not in the office I like …

Most of my spare time is currently spent developing my very large 12.5 hectare farm. My COVID project has been planting fruit and nut trees and installing an irrigation system.

When I am driving I like to listen to …

Podcasts. Mostly ‘Conversations with Richard Fidler’ on ABC.

 

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