Plant & Food Research (Māori: Rangahau Ahumāra Kai) is a New Zealand Crown Research Institute (CRI). Its purpose is to enhance the value and productivity of New Zealand’s horticultural, arable, seafood and food & beverage industries. The interests of the institute are based in horticulture, arable and seafood research, specifically in the areas of sustainable production, bioprotection, elite genetics & intelligent breeding, food and health science and biomaterials.

Dr Gonzalo Avila (Science Team Leader Biological Control & Insect rearing) is an applied entomologist with a degree in Forestry (BForSc) and Biosecurity/Biocontrol (MSc & PhD). He has expertise in different aspects of biological control of insect pests including risk assessment of biological control agents (BCA), host-parasitoid interactions, insect behaviour, release and monitoring establishment of BCAs, as well as bioclimatic modelling. I led the first pre-emptive biocontrol research against the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), which contributed greatly to the approval for release of Trissolcus japonicus in the event of a BMSB incursion in NZ. His current research focuses in the location, risk assessment (incl. pre-emptive approaches), release and evaluation of natural enemies for the control of insect pests.