Matthew Schnurr, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, International Development Studies, Dalhousie University
- Where did you grow up?
- Apart from your present one, what’s the best job you ever had?
- Swim Instructor.
- What’s your academic/research background? How did it lead you to GE3LS research?
- I started off as a student in the natural sciences studying agricultural biotechnology, then got interested in examining the political and social implications of these new tools.
- How would you describe your research to a group of Canadian students? Why is your work important to them?
- My work explores the potential for genome-enhancing agricultural technologies to alleviate poverty and hunger for small-scale African farmers. These questions should resonate with anyone concerned about issues of global poverty and inequity.
- What kind of response has there been to your research? What impact have you seen?
- My work seeks to amplify the voices of farmers within these debates. The response from policy makers and development donors in Africa has been positive as most stakeholders agree that for a technology to be widely adopted it must reflect the priorities of the end user.
- What’s the most unusual or unexpected thing about your work as a GE3LS researcher?
- The debate over new biotechnology is politicized and polarizing. I’ve been surprised by how fervent people are on both sides of the ideological divide.
- What do you think is the biggest issue facing genomics in the next decade?
- In my view it’s the new suite of gene editing technologies that make genomic manipulation more accessible and more available than ever before, In particular, I believe there is an urgent need for social scientific research into the social, political and ethical impacts of this transformational technology.
- Finally, we’re all going out later for karaoke. What song do you sing and why?
- Toto’s Africa – it’s my place and my song!