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Dr Rebecca Christina Deed

BSc Hons (Biological Sciences), PhD Science (Biological Sciences)


My background is in plant molecular science and wine microbiology.  Previous research that I have been involved in includes the investigation of the effect of low temperature fermentation on the transcriptome of wine yeast and the production of wine aromas, as well as projects centred on unravelling the biosynthesis of volatile sulfur compounds in wine.  I have also worked as a technician to develop improved commercial yeast strains for the New Zealand wine industry. 

In my spare time I am a national wine judge, having judged at senior level for Liquorland, the Royal Easter Wine Awards, New World Wine Awards, and Winestate Magazine, and at associate level for the Air New Zealand Wine Awards.  I hold the WSET Level 3 (Advanced) Award in Wine and Spirits and the Level 1 Award in Sake.

Research | Current

My current research areas of interest are focused on using a combination of techniques in molecular biology and analytical chemistry to understand the mechanisms behind the biological and chemical formation of aroma compounds in grape juice and wine, as well as understanding yeast metabolic pathways leading to good fermentative ability.

I currently have ongoing projects with University of Auckland collaborators, such as Dr Bruno Fedrizzi, Associate Professor David Barker, Dr Max Huang and Dr Katie Parish-Virtue, namely looking at the generation of polysulfides as signalling molecules in yeast.  I also have a project to investigate the role of 3-S-glutathionyl-alkanals as precursors of thiol compounds responsible for the tropical aromas in Sauvignon blanc, with Dr Andrew Clark from the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre (NWGIC) and Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia, and Dr Lisa Pilkington from the University of Auckland.

I am interested in developing new projects to investigate the formation of compounds which impart positive reductive aromas to Chardonnay wines, for example flint, mineral and struck match characters.

Teaching | Current

I have been involved in the University of Auckland Wine Science teaching programme since 2014, lecturing in viticulture, wine microbiology and sensory evaluation.  I am the Course Coordinator of WINESCI 201 Introduction to Wine Science and I teach components of WINESCI 201, WINESCI 701, WINESCI 702, WINESCI 703, WINESCI 704 and WINESCI 707.

Postgraduate supervision

Currently supervising:

Daisy Zhang - Summer Scholarship, Biological Sciences - Wine chemical features linked to minerality in white wines and the contribution of yeast.

Jennifer Muhl - BSc (Hons) Chemistry - Contribution of glut-3SH-al and glut-3SH-SO3 for the production of impact odorant 3-sulfanylhexan-1-ol (3SH) in white wines.

Ciel Li - MSc Wine Science - Identification of Saccharomyces cerevisiae genes linked to lag phase during fermentation.

Rorric Hou - PhD Chemistry (co-supervisor) - Exploiting New Zealand fungal communities to enhance tropical aroma in wine.

Areas of expertise

Wine Science

Aroma Chemistry

Sensory Evaluation

Molecular Biology


Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Wine Judging

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Wine Advisory Board member.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Deed, R. C., Hou, R., Kinzurik, M. I., Gardner, R. C., & Fedrizzi, B. (2018). The role of yeast ARO8, ARO9 and ARO10 genes in the biosynthesis of 3-(methylthio)-1-propanol from L-methionine during fermentation in synthetic grape medium. FEMS Yeast Research10.1093/femsyr/foy109
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rorric Hou, Bruno Fedrizzi
  • Clark, A. C., & Deed, R. C. (2018). The Chemical Reaction of Glutathione and trans-2-Hexenal in Grape Juice Media To Form Wine Aroma Precursors: The Impact of pH, Temperature, and Sulfur Dioxide. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 66 (5), 1214-1221. 10.1021/acs.jafc.7b04991
  • Rozali, S. N. M., Milani, E. A., Deed, R. C., & Silva, F. V. M. (2017). Bacteria, mould and yeast spore inactivation studies by scanning electron microscope observations. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 263, 17-25. 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2017.10.008
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Filipa Silva
  • Deed, R. C., Fedrizzi, B., & Gardner, R. C. (2017). Influence of Fermentation Temperature, Yeast Strain, and Grape Juice on the Aroma Chemistry and Sensory Profile of Sauvignon Blanc Wines. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 65 (40), 8902-8912. 10.1021/acs.jafc.7b03229
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Bruno Fedrizzi
  • Deed, R. C., Fedrizzi, B., & Gardner, R. C. (2017). Saccharomyces cerevisiae FLO1 gene demonstrates genetic linkage to increased fermentation rate at low temperatures. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, 7 (3), 1039-1048. 10.1534/g3.116.037630
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Bruno Fedrizzi
  • Deed, R. C., Deed, N. K., & Gardner, R. C. (2015). Transcriptional response of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to low temperature during wine fermentation. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek, 107 (4), 1029-1048. 10.1007/s10482-015-0395-5
  • Deed, R. C. (2013). Effect of low temperature on Sauvignon blanc fermentation by Saccharomyces cerevisiae The University of Auckland. ResearchSpace@Auckland.

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 3, Room 3022
New Zealand