Sept. 1, 2021

In conversation with Professor Liz Harry & Dr Nural Cokcetin on honey and healing – the magic and science of honey research

In conversation with Professor Liz Harry & Dr Nural Cokcetin on honey and healing – the magic and science of honey research

Listen in and be inspired by Professor Liz Harry and Dr Nural Cokcetin, two leading Australian scientists whose current research is making a big contribution to the NSW Government's bushfire industry recovery plan – honey research that’s good for honey bees, the apiary and broader farming sector, biodiversity and our collective, healthier futures.

Enjoy hearing from Liz and Nural as they share their rich and warm professional and personal ‘honey journeys’ to explore the magic and science of honey and to research key aspects about how our biodiversity is key to healthy bees and to the very particular healing attributes of different honeys that honey bees can produce in Australian landscapes.

In an era of growing antibiotic resistance and diet-related gut and other illnesses, honey and research into the science behind its complex and special properties offer multiple, linked benefits. The scientific research that these two great women in STEM are doing is helping to lead the way for clinicians, farmers, the research and broader community to help see and understand the incredible properties of honey in new ways – for new and more far reaching  medicinal and therapeutic applications and for Australian honeys to be better understood, marketed and enjoyed as high value prebiotic, functional foods.

Liz and Nural collaborate with many research groups, beekeepers and industry partners. Their research delves deep into the health and healing properties of honey – and the very special features and potential of Australian honeys and how these properties relate to the diversity of nectars and pollens bees forage upon.

Honey bees and other pollinators are vital for biodiversity and food security, contributing some $14 billion plus to Australian agriculture alone and so much more. NSW is home to almost half of Australia’s beekeeping industry, that suffered massive losses from the 2019/2020 bushfires. Without intervention, pollinator productivity could drop by 30%. The Future Proofing the New South Wales Apiary Industry and Keeping Beekeepers in Jobs Project is addressing that challenge and the research Liz and Nural do is contributing to that project …and much, much more!

Professor Liz Harry is the Professor of Biology at the ithree institute (infection, immunology and innovation), Faculty of Science, at the University of Technology Sydney. Liz obtained her PhD at the University of Sydney then went to Harvard University as a Postdoctoral Fellow. Her outstanding research has been recognised with the awarding of the Eureka Prize for Scientific Research in 2002, and the Frank Fenner Award in 2008 from the Australian Society for Microbiology in recognition of her distinguished contributions to Australian research in microbiology. Liz has been on the Executive of the Australian Society for Microbiology and a Member of the Australian Academy of Science, National Committee for Biomedical Sciences.

Dr Nural Cokcetin is a microbiologist, who obtained her PhD from the University of NSW in 2015 where she investigated the effects of Australian honeys on the growth of the beneficial and potentially harmful bacteria in the human gut. This led to a patented product  - a honey prebiotic. Nural is internationally recognised for her skills in scientific research and communications, including a UTS Early Career Research Excellence Award (2018), an Australian Society for Microbiology Award. In 2017 she was the National winner in Australia and international runner up of  the British Council’s FameLab science communication competition at the Cheltenham Science Festival, 2017. She holds several roles in industry as a thought leader, including as a key opinion leader, science advisor and expert for Comvita, Capilano Honey and the Australian Manuka Honey Association  


Relevant recent articles

Scientists get busy to revive state’s beekeeping fortunes





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