IRANZ news briefs

Melanie Mark-Shadbolt

Melanie Mark-Shadbolt, Deputy Secretary Māori Rights & Interests at the Ministry for the Environment and founder of Te Tira Whakamātaki, has been nominated as a 'Women of Influence' finalist in the Public Policy category for 2021.

Parkinson’s New Zealand recognises Brain Research Clinical Director Tim Anderson

Congratulations to NZ Brain Research Institute’s Clinical Director, Professor Tim Anderson. Tim has been recognised by Parkinson's New Zealand with an Honorary Life Membership.

"Every year Parkinson's New Zealand Charitable Trust Board recognise people who have contributed significantly to supporting families living with Parkinson’s throughout Aotearoa. Thank you Tim for your dedication and service to people diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Your distinguished career as a neurologist and researcher as well as years of service to Parkinson’s New Zealand are invaluable."

Read more about the NZ Brain Research Institute >>

Malaghan’s Dr Kerry Hilligan recipient of Rutherford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship

Congratulations to Dr Kerry Hilligan for being one of five recipients of the Royal Society Te Apārangi's prestigious Rutherford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships for her research on 'Improving long-term population health through education of the innate immune system'.

“I hope to uncover some of the critical interactions between microbes and our immune system that educate immune cells to respond optimally when confronted with dangerous infectious diseases. I also want to be able to prevent inappropriate immune responses such as those associated with allergy and autoimmunity,” says Dr Hilligan.


Malaghan’s Dr David O'Sullivan awarded Marsden Fund Fast-Start grant

Another congratulations, this time to Dr David O'Sullivan who was awarded the Royal Society Te Apārangi Marsden Fund Fast-Start grant to investigate the impact of fever on our immune response.

The project will explore how the increase in physiological temperature during fever impacts the function of specific immune cells, called T-cells, that are crucial in mounting an appropriate immune response against infectious diseases.

“Despite fever being such a common symptom in many diseases, we don’t fully understand how fever alters immune responses,” says Dr O’Sullivan. “This Marsden Fund grant will support research to explore the role fever has in altering T-cell metabolism and function during infection.”


Malaghan’s Dr Thomas Mules received a HRC Clinical Research Training Fellowship

Dr Thomas Mules has received a Health Research Council of New Zealand Clinical Research Training Fellowship to investigate the effect of chronic hookworm infection on intestinal barrier function.

“It is becoming more and more evident that dysfunction in the intestinal barrier is linked to the rapidly increasing incidence of inflammatory, allergic, metabolic and neoplastic diseases, including IBD, colon cancer, obesity, fatty liver disease, and dementia,” says Dr Mules.


Malaghan’s Professor Mike Berridge wins the Shorland Medal

One of the founding scientists of the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, Professor Mike Berridge’s decades-long scientific career spans the globe and several fields from plant biology to cancer metabolism where his discoveries have challenged some paradigms of molecular biology that he grew up with. His significant and continued contribution to research has now been recognised with the prestigious Shorland Medal, awarded by the New Zealand Association of Scientists.


Te Tira Whakamātaki’s Melanie Mark-Shadbolt nominated as a 'Women of Influence' finalist

Congratulations Melanie Mark-Shadbolt, Deputy Secretary Māori Rights & Interests at the Ministry for the Environment and founder of Te Tira Whakamātaki, for being nominated as a 'Women of Influence' finalist in the Public Policy category for 2021.

Discussing the nomination Melanie says, "I'm grateful for the nomination and want to thank those who recognised my work and took time to nominate me. Ngā mihi ki a koutou.

"I am slightly embarrassed to be a finalist in this category as I know so many wahine in this space that do amazing work, notably the Ministry for the Environment's leadership team which is a fantastic example of women of influence working in the public policy space. Next to them, I feel like a novice.

"I'm humbled to be a finalist alongside the other amazing wahine in the Public Policy category, all of whom are committed to driving social change through action. I acknowledge their efforts, and the people and communities that support them to deliver change. I'm pleased to see Māori and Pasifika women being acknowledged for their mahi, noting that the process of being nominated doesn’t sit comfortably with many of us. I encourage organisers of similar awards to think about other ways of supporting our mana wahine to be recognised, and acknowledge the organisers of the Women of Influence Awards for being open to receiving nominations in ways that reflect our cultural practices."

Congratulations from IRANZ to all the amazing wāhine toa nominated.

Winners will be announced on Thursday 10 February 2022.

2021 Cawthron New Zealand River Awards winners announced

Cawthron Institute has announced the winners and finalists in the 2021 Cawthron New Zealand River Awards, which celebrate the efforts and achievements of people who are committed to improving freshwater health.

There are three award categories:

  • The Supreme Award which recognises a catchment community that has made the most progress toward improved river health;

  • The River Story Award which recognises individuals or community groups that have made major efforts to improve river health; and

  • The River Voice Award, which recognises an individual or group that has been an outstanding advocate and communicator about freshwater health issues in Aotearoa.

This year the winner and finalists in the Supreme Award category will receive cash prizes alongside their titles.


Cawthron Biosecurity Research Team Leader Patrick Cahill finalist in the NZ Biosecurity Awards

Cawthron Biosecurity Research Team Leader Patrick Cahill was recently announced as a finalist in the AsureQuality Emerging Leader Award category in the Ko Tātou This Is Us New Zealand Biosecurity Awards.

Patrick Cahill has led the Biosecurity team at the Cawthron Institute since 2019. His team are recognised internationally for pioneering contributions to biosecurity surveillance, response, and management in the marine environment. Patrick provides leadership ‘from the back’, and continues to grow his own research speciality to develop innovative treatment tools for invasive marine pests.

Dr Charles Berde keynote speaker for 78th Annual Thomas Cawthron Memorial Lecture

Dr Charles Berde was Cawthron’s keynote speaker for the 78th Annual Thomas Cawthron Memorial Lecture on 19 October.

Dr Berde co-founded the Pain Treatment Center at Boston Children's Hospital, the first and most clinically active acute and chronic pain management programme for children in the world. Profiled as one of TIME Magazine's "Heroes in Medicine" in 1997, Dr Berde has received many awards and honours for his pioneering work in paediatric pain relief. Dr Berde presented his lecture from Boston about advances in post-operative pain relief and was joined by Cawthron’s own scientists Dr Johan Svenson and Andy Selwood who are also contributing to this global innovation.

Read more >> (includes a full recording of the lecture)

Cawthron summer scholarship programme

Last month, Cawthron welcomed four Summer Scholarship recipients. For 10 weeks over summer Rachel Hooks, Breanna Hindmarsh, Emma Warmerdam, and Layla Sudol will be fully immersed in real-world science projects alongside their Cawthron mentors.


Mātai’s Samantha Holdsworth promoted to Associate Professor

Dr Samantha Holdsworth, Mātai founder and Director of Research, and Principal Investigator at the Centre for Brain Research has been promoted to Associate Professor, in her role at the University of Auckland Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences - FMHS. This is wonderful recognition for her extraordinary contributions to world-class pioneering research, leadership, and commitment to making a difference in the Tairāwhiti community.

Oka Sanerivi, Mātai Ngā Māngai Māori board member, awarded a HRC grant

Oka Sanerivi, Mātai Ngā Māngai Māori board member, has been awarded a career defining HRC grant of $202,900 to extend his Masters research project ‘Culturally responsive Physiotherapy approaches for working with Pacific children’ into a PhD research project.

"This award means a great deal to my family, especially to my Dad. I pray he'll be able to celebrate with us upon its completion. For me, this project is a significant step towards helping Physiotherapists and other health workers to meaningfully enhance the health outcomes and quality of life of our Pasifika families right from the outset. E le sili le ta'i nai lo le tapua'i - They who complete the feat are no more important than they who prayerfully support the feat. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support, encouragement, prayers and efforts towards my application for the HRC Clinical Research Training Fellowship.”

Oka is developing a niche not currently explored by any practicing physiotherapists in New Zealand. By capturing the experiences of Pacific families in his project, and his ability to translate his findings, he will help improve knowledge, equity, and culturally responsive physiotherapy approaches for Pacific families which will inform downstream studies and practices. He will then disseminate his model to catalyse the development and improvement of other health-care delivery services and health educational programmes across the country.

Matai research intern Erana Hogarth awarded Māori Entrance Scholarship for academic excellence

Matai research intern Erana Hogarth has been awarded a Māori Entrance Scholarship for academic excellence from the University of Otago, which will enable her to pursue a career in health and medicine.

Erana featured in a Gisbourne Herald article: $17k scholarship opens doors to dream for Gisborne student

Mātai announces the Board appointment of Graham Hingangaroa Smith

Mātai has announced the Board appointment of Graham Hingangaroa Smith (Te Aitanga a Hauiti, Ngati Porou, Ngati Apa, Ngati Kahungunu), CNZM Distinguished Professorial Chair, ‘Te Toi Ihorei ki Purehuroa’, Massey University.

Professor Smith has made significant contributions to the political, social, economic and cultural advancement of Māori and indigenous communities in Aotearoa and around the Pacific Rim.

Read more about Mātai >>

A changing of the guard for BRANZ: new Board Chair announced

Effective 1 September 2021, Nigel Smith is appointed as the new Chair of the BRANZ Board as Dr Helen Anderson completes her third and final term. New Chair Nigel Smith thanked Dr Anderson for her significant service and legacy.

“Dr Anderson's leadership has been pivotal to BRANZ becoming the transformed, professional and impactful, independent research organisation it is recognised as today. Her passion and deep understanding of the role of science in creating a better today and tomorrow ensured BRANZ retained its focus as an independent, impartial provider of evidence.”

Read more about BRANZ >>

Justine Lee of the University of Canterbury awarded Motu’s Sir Frank Holmes prize

As Aotearoa's top-ranked economic research institute, Motu awards annual prizes/scholarships to budding young economists set to make a difference for Aotearoa. It is one way they help build capacity in young economists and improve the quality of economic research in this country.

Justine Lee of the University of Canterbury has won this year's Sir Frank Holmes prize. The prize is awarded annually to the top economics undergraduate student in New Zealand, who is moving on to honours or masters level studies in economics.

Justine completed a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Economics and Psychology. She is interested in using economics as a tool for addressing important environmental and human health issues. She’s interested in investigating how psychology and economics can be used together to improve human well-being. Justine will use the prize money to help fund her study next year, an Honours degree in economics in either Canterbury or Auckland.

Motu’s Āheitanga Thesis Scholarship winners

Every year, Motu Research offers scholarships to university students of Māori descent who are working on (or are planning to work on) an Honours, Masters or PhD thesis in economics, or some other social science that uses a quantitative methodology.

This year’s winners include Taylor Winter (Ngāi Tahu), a PhD Candidate at the School of Psychology at the Victoria University of Wellington. Taylor has a broad interest in wellbeing. He will use the scholarship to investigate how income may lead to lower levels of happiness than it has historically.

Rangimaria Aperahama also won this year’s scholarship. She is completing a BA Honours in Economics through Massey University. She will use the scholarship money next year to begin a PhD to expand on her current research looking at distribution in the Māori Economy.

Read more about Motu Economic and Public Policy Research >>

Motu's Suzi Kerr chats with FSR Energy about climate action

Motu's Suzi Kerr (Chief Economist of the Environmental Defense Fund) chats with Albert Ferrari from FSR Energy about climate action teams: a tool to foster international climate cooperation.

Climate action teams, or CATs, are an innovative instrument that the Environmental Defense Fund are working on with partners in Chile (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile), New Zealand (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research), and Switzerland (Perspectives Climate Group) among many others. These sorts of deep engagements among small groups of countries, and private sector partners, will be critical to achieve the economic transformations required in emerging and developing countries to generate the large-scale, high-integrity emissions reductions needed to reach net zero.

Listen to the podcast here >>

Bragato Research Winery hosts ‘sold out’ Open Day

Bragato hosted an exciting programme of five short presentations at an open day in late October that provided insights and findings from trials in the BRI research winery last year. The sessions were fully-booked and included:

NMIT Viticulture Lecturer Stewart Field sharing the findings from his trial that studied the effect of hang-time during berry ripening combined with post-ferment maceration time on the quality of Pinot noir wine. This trial was completed in collaboration with Lawson’s Dry Hills and BRI.

Bio-Start CEO Jerome Demmer presented their trial that looked at the outcomes for Pinot Noir block (Able clone) where vines had received a BioStart programme of Mycorrcin and Digester (soil biostimulants) and Foliacin (plant foliar health biostimulant) over the past three years.

Constellation Brands Head of Laboratories, Research & Development Frank Benkwitz shared outcomes from their testing of different fruits and rates over a series of trials using fruit co-ferments with Pinot Noir fruit.

Bragato Research Winemaker Tanya Rutan presented results on behalf of yeast and fermentation ingredient company Fermentis from their trial examining different antioxidants and their overall effects on the quality of Sauvignon Blanc wines.

Xiuying (Ava) Liang an NMIT student and member of the BRI Research Winery team spoke about her experience and positive findings from trialling a new weedmat and mussel shell alternative to herbicide weed control in fertile soils.

Read more about Bragato >>

HERA’s latest “Stirring the pot” podcasts

HERA continues on with their fortnightly podcasts - created by metalheads for metalheads. These are practical conversations that get to the nuts and bolts of the metals industry here in New Zealand. Connect with leaders and experts from across the globe who talk overcoming key industry challenges, and influencers who cast their eyes to the future. Perfect if you’re time poor but want to keep your finger on the pulse of Heavy Engineering Research. Recent episodes examine “Inclusion, transformation and collaboration” and “Sustainable Steel”.

Listen here >>

PlantTech’s PhD student Simna Rassak

PlantTech is delighted to have University of Waikato PhD student Simna Rassak working alongside its team in the field of data-driven horticulture.

Data-driven horticulture has been powered by the development of multiple IoT monitoring sensors that can be deployed in field environments. This complements other available proximal and remote sensing technology (e.g. multi-spectral satellite imaging) to monitor complex environmental systems such as crop orchards. As a result, multiple data platforms collect information about the same environment over very different temporal and spatial scales. An optimal methodology that aggregates these diverse data sources to monitor and forecast orchard development from multiple data streams is yet to emerge.

Simna’s research will combine multiple sources of data, such as field IoT sensors, weather stations and satellite imaging to monitor and forecast orchard productivity metrics. This will be achieved by leveraging state-of-the-art machine learning techniques for data streams and data aggregation frameworks that can combine different temporal and spatial resolutions effectively. This work feeds directly into the Remote Sensing stream of PlantTech’s Research Strategy.


IRANZ welcomes new member – Dragonfly Data Science

Dragonfly Data Science are a team of scientists and dreamers based in Aotearoa New Zealand, with a shared purpose of doing good with data.

They specialise in data science, statistical analysis, and machine learning, supported by robust software engineering, clear communication, and a sprinkle of creative flair.

They have worked on projects and publications for a wide variety of clients from Government Departments to global organisations. Topics are unlimited from modelling the Antipodean albatross population to displaying information beautifully for the Government, making it easy for anyone to explore New Zealand's economic data.


Date posted: 13 December 2021

Facebook Feed