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Our Scientists

  • The Comvita Science Team

    Collectively, our people have published papers in peer-reviewed science journals and presented their research at conferences and meetings nationally and internationally.

    • Dr Jackie Evans

      BSc (First class Hons), PhD | Head of Research

      Dr Jackie Evans is Head of Research for Comvita, she is responsible for ensuring that our research activities across the business are aligned with strategy and meet our consumers’ needs and that we work with the best researchers to deliver the highest quality science. Jackie has a particular interest in undertaking research to support the health benefits of our products and ingredients including Manuka honey to our consumers having previously held senior international clinical research positions in global pharmaceutical companies based in the UK. Jackie has a PhD in Virology from the University of London, United Kingdom.

      Dr Jonathan Stephens

      BSc, MSc (First Class Hons), PhD | Head of Honey Research

      Dr Jonathan Stephens is the Head of Honey Research at Comvita. He has more than 20 years’ research experience studying New Zealand flora and honeys, particularly Leptospermum scoparium (Manuka honey) and other honey-yielding indigenous plant species. Jonathan manages a wide range of scientific programs, including developing new methods to identify authentic Manuka honey and unique bioactive components in Manuka honey. Jonathan has a PhD from the Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato, New Zealand.

      Tony Wright

      General Manager Market Access

      Tony has worked for Comvita since 2006 leading many functions including quality, laboratory, regulatory, research and marketing. His work ensures Comvita meets the expectations of our consumers and international regulators and that market access excellence is embedded across the business. Tony works closely with external organisations on science programmes focused on the authenticity of Manuka honey, including the Manuka Honey Science Steering Group and the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries. Tony is a Board Member for the UMF™ Honey Association and Manuka Research Partnership Ltd, and Chair of Apiculture New Zealand’s Standards Focus Group.

      Jessie Bong

      BTech (First Class Hons), MSc (First Class Hons) | Research Scientist

      Jessie is a Research Scientist responsible for undertaking and supporting research activities across Comvita. She has strong research interest in Manuka honey quality and its bioactivity. Jessie recently completed her PhD at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, examining unique markers that help to verify the identity of New Zealand Manuka honey.

      Cameron Walker

      Dip. Sci. (Tech), QMLT | Technical Manager

      As Comvita’s Technical Manager, Cameron leads our Laboratory and Quality teams, who are responsible for ensuring all Comvita products, including Manuka honey meet strict quality standards. Cameron’s previous roles in biochemistry and laboratory management have given him great interest in emerging analytical technologies and how these can be used to ensure food products such as Manuka honey are authentic and of the highest quality.

      Heidi Darcy

      Intellectual Property Manager

      Heidi Darcy is the Intellectual Property Manager for Comvita. She is responsible for exploring, protecting, and commercialising the intellectual property which we discover through our science and research programmes. Heidi has a background as a registered nurse and is currently undertaking a Masters in Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

      Ross Rotherham

      BTech (Hons) Food Technology | Technical Innovation Manager

      As Technical Innovation Manager, Ross leads Comvita’s Technical Development team, who’re responsible for creating new products and taking them to market. Ross has more than 20 years’ experience in technical and scientific roles within the food and nutraceutical industries, and an Honors Degree in Food Technology from Massey University in New Zealand.

      Jennae O’Donnell

      BTech (First Class Hons) | Product and Development Manager

      In her role as Product and Development Manager, Jennae is responsible for the design, development and implementation of new products. Jennae is passionate about delivering natural innovative solutions with proven health benefits and keeping up to date with the latest advances in food and supplement ingredients, technologies and formats. Jennae has an Honours Degree in Food Technology from Massey University in New Zealand and more than 10 years’ experience in technical and scientific roles within the food and beverage industry.