Find out more about the people behind Cawthron Institute.

Laura Biessy

Senior Research Technician and PhD Candidate – Marine Ecology


  • PhD candidate (Biological Science, Ecology). University of Waikato
  • MSc (Environmental Toxicology). Joseph Fourier University, 2013
  • BSc (Biological Science). Joseph Fourier University, 2011

Role at Cawthron

Laura is a Senior Research Technician with the Coastal and Freshwater group, and a PhD Candidate at Waikato University.

During her time at Cawthron Laura has worked in various roles, including food chemistry technician in Analytical Services’ IANZ accredited laboratory, and senior technician for the Environmental Technologies team, researching seafood safety and toxic microalgae (cyanobacteria and marine dinoflagellates).

Laura is passionate about protecting and improving New Zealand’s environment and is interested in the use of molecular techniques to monitor and understand aquatic organisms and habitats.

Laura assists senior scientists with a range of research projects and is involved in the Safe New Zealand Seafood Programme funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Laura received a scholarship from the New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Center for her PhD. Her project aims to investigate the sources and transmission of tetrodotoxin (“pufferfish neurotoxin”) in New Zealand bivalves and marine food webs.

Technical skills, experience and interests

  • Molecular techniques for detecting and enumerating microorganisms (PCR, qPCR)
  • DNA sequencing
  • High-throughput sequencing
  • Biotoxin extractions and analysis
  • Tetrodotoxin
  • Shellfish anatomy and histology
  • Algae taxonomy
  • Microscopy and algae culturing
  • Toxic microalgae (freshwater and marine)
  • Laboratory management

Achievements and affiliations

  • New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Center inaugural PhD scholarship
  • Explora’Sup Fund (France, 2013)
  • NZ Association of Women in Sciences (AWIS)

View Laura's ResearchGate profile

Publication links

+64 3 548 2319
[email protected]