Dr Doug Graham: crop science luminary
Dr Doug Graham, a graduate from the Universities of Durham and Cambridge, came to Australia from the UK in September 1961 to join the plant physiology unit (PPU) at CSIRO’s division of food preservation.
He became part of a group that studied the role of nucleic acids, making several significant advances in this field. Doug also worked on ‘chilling injury’ in plants and events that led to cell death.
In 1970, Doug moved to the CSIRO food preservation laboratory where he examined the relationship between carbonic anhydrase and photosynthesis, levels of nicotinamide adenine nucleotides and Krebs cycle intermediates and changes in tomato fruit ripening caused by ethylene dibromide fumigation.
He published 48 papers, presented 10 conference papers and wrote six book chapters.
In 1972 Doug was appointed acting leader of CSIRO’s wheat research unit and in 1975 he was a visiting Professor for the Japan Society for promotion of science at Nagoya University.
He was chairman of the fruit and vegetable postharvest research sub-committee (1976-78), steering committee chair for the development of research facilities in ASEAN countries (1977) and editorial board member for Food Research News, a CSIRO journal.
As part of the US-Australia science agreement, Doug travelled to University of Hawaii to discuss the role of membranes in low temperature stress in crop plants.
He became leader of CSIRO’s plant physiology section, that included the fruit storage section. There was friendly rivalry between these groups, but Doug encouraged respect for each other and their work. He was a great leader who was instrumental in getting scientific papers published and obtaining much needed funding.
Doug became the officer in charge of the laboratories at North Ryde and was acting chief from time to time, until his retirement in 1996. Doug’s colleagues had great respect for him and considered him a true gentleman, a helpful colleague, and a good boss to work for. A great tribute for any scientist.