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Otago academics made full professors

Students talking in front of the Clocktower

Thursday, 22 December 2011 9:24am

Fourteen of the University of Otago’s leading academics are being promoted to full professorships.

Otago’s new professors are: John Broughton (Oral Diagnostic & Surgical Sciences and Preventive & Social Medicine); Vicky Cameron (Research Professor - Medicine, Christchurch); Marie Crowe (Psychological Medicine and Centre for Postgraduate Nursing Studies, Christchurch); Andrew Day (Paediatrics, Christchurch); Catherine Day (Biochemistry); Bernadette Drummond (Oral Sciences); Robin Gauld (Preventive & Social Medicine); Juergen Gnoth (Marketing); Ken Hodge (Physical Education); Brian Hyland (Physiology); Ian McLennan (Anatomy); Ted Ruffman (Psychology); Struan Scott (Law) and Jean-Claude Theis (Surgical Sciences).

Announcing the promotions, University Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne congratulated the 14 academics and said that their appointments as professor are well-earned and reflect proven records of excellence.

“The University’s processes for conferring professorships are rigorous and involve input from international experts. Candidates must demonstrate outstanding and sustained contributions in areas that include leadership in teaching, research and service to the University and community.”

A further 33 Otago staff are being promoted to Associate Professor. All of these promotions take effect from 1 February 2012.

Otago’s New Professors

John Broughton

Department of Oral Diagnostic and Surgical Sciences and Department of Preventive and Social Medicine

John Broughton of Ngati Kahungunu Ki Heretaunga and Ngai Tahu descent has focused much of his research on Māori oral health. His postgraduate thesis, “Oranga niho: a review of Māori oral health services utilizing a kaupapa Māori methodology” was originally submitted for the Master of Community Health but on the recommendation of the examiners it was awarded the higher degree of PhD.

He has recently developed Māori community-based oral health research partnerships with Māori health providers. As part of an international collaborative indigenous research partnership with Australian and Canadian Indigenous researchers he is working with Raukura Hauora O Tainui and the Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development in Hamilton investigating the oral health of Māori mothers and their babies.

In Tauranga he is working with Te Manu Toroa looking at the oral health of Māori mental health patients. It is anticipated that the outcome of these projects will contribute significantly to improving the oral health of population groups within New Zealand.

He is also an accomplished Māori playwright whose acclaimed 1991 play, “Michael James Manaia” is to have a 20th anniversary production by Taki Rua Theatre for the New Zealand International Arts Festival in March 2012.

Vicky Cameron

Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch

Vicky Cameron is a geneticist and cardiovascular physiologist at the University of Otago, Christchurch, and heads the Molecular Endocrinology laboratory of the Christchurch Cardioendocrine Research Group.

Her research focus is the influence of genes on the development or progression of heart disease, with a special interest in familial cardiovascular risk in indigenous communities. She is involved in Hauora Manawa / The Community Heart Study, examining causes for the disparity in cardiovascular mortality between Maori and non-Maori.

After graduating with a BSc (Hons) in Zoology from Otago, Vicky worked at Hammersmith Hospital in London. After completing a PhD at the Christchurch School of Medicine, she conducted postdoctoral research at The Salk Institute, San Diego. In 1992, she returned to Christchurch under a Health Research Council (HRC) Repatriation Fellowship.

A passionate teacher and science communicator, Vicky has been awarded an OUSA Supervisor Award and a University of Otago, Christchurch, Outstanding Teacher Award.

Vicky has served on the National Heart Foundation Scientific Committee, the Lotteries Health Grants Committee and numerous HRC assessing panels. She was on the Otago Research Committee and is on the Research Committee of the University of Otago, Christchurch. She is a Fellow of the American Heart Association and was recently elected to the University’s Council.

Marie Crowe

Department of Psychological Medicine and the Centre for Postgraduate Nursing Studies, University of Otago, Christchurch

Marie Crowe is a mental health nurse and has an academic background in humanities. Currently she teaches in the Specialty Entry and Advanced Mental Health Nursing programmes and is principal investigator of the $1.2 million HRC-funded Bipolar Disorder Clinic study.

Her research interests are related to the development of psychosocial treatments for a range of physical and mental disorders that are effective for real-life clinical populations. She is particularly interested in treatments that improve the quality of life for people with chronic disorders, particularly bipolar disorder, and that reduce their use of mental health services.

Marie was initially employed by the University in 1996 to develop its first nursing papers and since that time has continued to provide leadership in this burgeoning discipline within the University. She has also been Associate Dean (Postgraduate) since 2008 and has represented the Dean in all matters related to Postgraduate Health Sciences on the Christchurch campus. The promotion of quality mental health nursing care within the Canterbury District Health Board has been her major focus over this time.

Andrew Day

Department of Paediatrics, University of Otago, Christchurch

After graduating from Otago Medical School, Andrew Day undertook paediatric training in Christchurch. Andrew then headed to Toronto, Canada for further sub-speciality training in Paediatric Gastroenterology. Following the completion of three years of clinical and research training in Canada, he took up a clinical academic position at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia in 2000. He returned to Christchurch in 2009 and was appointed Head of the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Otago, Christchurch, in 2010.

His research interests include inflammatory bowel disease and coeliac disease, with projects spanning from the bedside to the bench. The overall objectives of his ongoing research activities are to delineate and define aspects of gastrointestinal inflammation and to define how interactions occurring at the gastrointestinal epithelial border between the host and the environment affect disease pathogenesis and manifestations. One particular research theme has been the assessment and development of non-invasive biomarkers of gut inflammation. Another theme focuses on nutritional therapy in Crohn disease, with numerous studies directed towards elucidating the mechanisms by which this therapy works and others aiming to optimise this therapy in the clinical arena.

In total, he has more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and 130 presented abstracts, along with numerous chapters and non-peer-reviewed publications.

Catherine Day

Department of Biochemistry

Since joining the University 10 years ago Catherine Day’s research has concentrated on the analysis of proteins that regulate cell death. These proteins are the focus of a number of drug companies, and her research has contributed to the development of novel classes of therapeutic compounds that are currently being trialled for the treatment of cancer. Currently, her research group focuses on understanding the mechanisms that control protein abundance in the cell. Collaborations with leading international groups have contributed significantly to her research.

She has enjoyed continued financial support from the Marsden Fund since 1997 and this support, along with that from other agencies including Lotteries Health and the Health Research Council, has been critical to her success. Since 2007 she has served as the Associate Dean of Research for the Otago School of Medical Sciences and in this role she has initiated a number of programmes to help support the research of others.

Bernadette Drummond

Department of Oral Sciences, School of Dentistry

Bernadette Drummond is a specialist paediatric dentist with research focusing on improving the oral health related quality of life in children, particularly those with teeth anomalies, severe early childhood decay or medical and developmental disabilities.

She has investigated the long-term success of restoring children’s teeth and a range of novel preventive approaches to improve oral health for preschool children. She is also interested in the causes of hypomineralised teeth causing severe sensitivity and breakdown of the teeth in 14% of New Zealand children. Several projects are underway to understand the structural changes and treatment for these teeth.

Bernadette is a past president of the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons and the Australian and New Zealand Society of Paediatric Dentistry. She coordinates two graduate programmes in paediatric dentistry in the Department of Oral Sciences.

Robin Gauld

Department of Preventive and Social Medicine

Robin Gauld specialises in health policy and system research. Much of his research has focused on the New Zealand health system but also on others including Hong Kong, Singapore and the USA.

His work has been published in 80 journal articles and 25 book chapters and he is author, co-author or editor of 10 books. These include Dangerous Enthusiasms, used as core teaching material at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government for two years running and the subject of articles in various magazines including Science in Parliament, an official bulletin of the UK House of Representatives, and The Economist; and The New Health Policy which was awarded first prize in category at the 2010 British Medical Association Medical Book Awards.

Following a year working with colleagues at Boston and Harvard universities as a Commonwealth Fund Harkness Fellow in 2008/09, Robin returned to found the Centre for Health Systems which aims to facilitate health system improvement research at Otago.

Present projects involve partnerships with the National Health Board, Health Quality and Safety Commission and DHBs. He is a Senior Fellow at Boston University Health Policy Institute, an advisor on clinical governance development to the Irish Health Service Executive and an editorial board member of seven international journals.

Juergen Gnoth

Department of Marketing

Juergen Gnoth’s interests lie in consumer behaviour, tourism services marketing, place branding and marketing ethics. Juergen is a leading member of the Tourism Research & Place Branding Group and an international and cross-cultural researcher.

The main focus of his research lies with the constructs of networks, intentions, expectations, image and satisfaction, but also with understanding and measuring the influence of emotions on consumption behaviour. He deals closely with Tourism New Zealand, and members of the tourism industry, such as hotels, airlines, operators and consultants to keep his teaching up-to-date and relevant.

Juergen is a member of a number of editorial boards and has been Associate Editor-Research Notes of the top journal in tourism, Annals of Tourism Research for more than twelve years.

Ken Hodge

School of Physical Education

Ken Hodge’s area of expertise is sport and exercise psychology, with a research focus on the psycho-social effects of participation in sport. In particular, he has investigated issues such as motivational orientations in sport, prosocial and antisocial behaviour in sport (morality and sportsmanship), lifeskill development through sport, athlete burnout, and athlete engagement.

In addition, Ken has worked for a number of sports as a mental skills trainer; with a particular interest in ‘team-building’. For example, he has worked for the New Zealand Winter Olympic Team and Summer Olympic Team, New Zealand Rugby Union, Netball New Zealand, Swimming New Zealand, and New Zealand Golf providing mental skills training for a number of teams and individuals.

Brian Hyland

Department of Physiology

Brian Hyland is a neuroscientist, interested in understanding brain function in both health and disease.

His research primarily focuses on two broad themes, the brain mechanisms involved in processing information about rewards, and those concerned with controlling movements, and the intriguing overlap of these apparently disparate areas in numerous neurological and psychiatric disorders. His research teams, often in collaboration with colleagues both in Otago and internationally, have provided important advances in our knowledge of the regulation of the brain’s ‘reward chemical’, dopamine. This research continues, alongside projects investigating the changes that occur in brain circuit activity when these processes are disordered, such as occurs in Parkinson’s disease, and how they might be better treated.

Ian McLennan

Department of Anatomy

Ian McLennan is a member of the Department of Anatomy and the Brain Health and Repair Research Centre. He had a central role in the creation of the University’s Behavioural Phenotyping Unit, and chairs the Scientific Committee that oversees its ongoing development. His research group seeks to understand how the regulators of the body work in living animals and people. Their research is multidisciplinary, and involves both blue-skies and applied research. His group has successfully completed 10 major research contracts, most of which relate to the understanding of neurodegenerative diseases, particularly motor neuron disease. The incidence and severity of most brain disorders varies between the sexes, and his team has recently discovered a new biological mechanism that creates sex differences in the non-reproductive portions of the brain. The hormone involved is produced by the testes and is called Müllerian Inhibiting Substance (MIS). Ian’s team is currently studying how MIS shapes the development of boys, and is investigating whether MIS influences the severity of conditions such as autism, which are more common in boys than girls.

Ted Ruffman

Department of Psychology

Ted Ruffman examines the development and subsequent decline of social understanding over the human lifespan. Ted has examined how children’s early understanding of others’ desires and beliefs is initially implicit (unconscious), and the specifics of how mother talk helps children to develop explicit (conscious) knowledge about others’ desires and beliefs. At the other end of the age spectrum, he has examined how explicit social understanding declines as we age. In particular, recognition of emotions in facial, auditory and bodily expressions declines and seems to underpin declines in other social insights such as knowing when to stop talking, when someone has made a faux pas, when someone is lying, and also attitudes of tolerance towards others. Despite these declines in explicit social understanding, implicit understanding seems to remain intact as we age. Current research focuses on the biochemical origins of age-related decline as well as the lifestyle factors that might help prevent decline.

Struan Scott

Faculty of Law

Struan Scott’s research is in the areas of Banking Law; Company Law (in particular whether a director is able to exploit personally a business opportunity that he or she has become aware of or must leave the exploitation of that opportunity to the company); Land Law; and the Law of Restitution. The Law of Restitution (or as some refer to it, the Law of Unjust Enrichment) is a collection of legal rules that respond to what the law regards as the unjust enrichment of one party at the expense of another. A common example involves the recovery of mistaken payments. Struan’s research has included analysing the application of rules developed in the context of payments involving two parties (the mistaken payer and the recipient) to situations involving more than two parties (for example when a bank is involved).

Other research includes analysing the theoretical structure underlying aspects of the Law of Restitution; considering when non-monetary benefits (such as the mistaken conferral of services) can constitute an enrichment; and considering the situations when an unjust enrichment should justify preferential recovery through the creation of rights of property as opposed to a personal order to pay a sum of money.

Jean-Claude Theis

Department of Surgical Sciences

Jean-Claude Theis has been an academic orthopaedic surgeon over the past 23 years and his research interests are in the field of musculoskeletal diseases and injury. Jean-Claude’s clinical research expertise in the area of orthopaedic surgery includes low back pain, hip and knee replacements, prioritisation of elective surgery and ultrasound imaging of babies’ hips. He has also been leading a team of clinical scientists investigating the effect of fat embolism, which is a common complication following bone trauma and a number of common orthopaedic procedures. He has shown that pressurisation of bone marrow during insertion of artificial joints results in haemodynamic changes triggered by pulmonary hypertension and the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. He currently is in the process of setting up a Centre for Musculoskeletal Outcomes Research.

Promoted to Associate Professor

  • Robert Aitken (Marketing)
  • Phil Bishop (Zoology)
  • Mike Boyes (Physical Education)
  • Chris Brickell (Sociology, Gender and Social Work)
  • Colin Brown (Physiology)
  • Warwick Duncan (Oral Sciences)
  • Dawn Elder (Paediatrics & Child Health, Wellington)
  • David Gwynne-Jones (Surgical Sciences)
  • Graeme Hammond-Tooke (Medicine)
  • Andrew Harrison (Medicine, Wellington)
  • Penny Hunt (Medicine, Christchurch)
  • Chrystal Jaye (General Practice and Rural Health)
  • Ali Knott (Computer Science)
  • Brent Lovelock (Tourism)
  • Karl Lyons (Oral Rehabilitation)
  • James Maclaurin (Philosophy)
  • David McBride (Preventive and Social Medicine)
  • Tony Merriman (Biochemistry)
  • Selene Mize (Law)
  • Sue Pullon (Primary Health Care and General Practice, Wellington)
  • Anthony Ritchie (Music)
  • Katrina Sharples (Preventive and Social Medicine)
  • Philip Sheard (Physiology)
  • Takashi Shogimen (History)
  • Zhifa Sun (Physics)
  • Lois Surgenor (Psychological Medicine, Christchurch)
  • Mark Thompson-Fawcett (Surgical Sciences)
  • Lisa Whitehead (Centre for Postgraduate Nursing Studies)
  • Cheryl Wilson (Applied Sciences)

Promoted to Clinical Associate Professor

Antony Bird (Surgery, Christchurch)

Promoted to Research Associate Professor

  • Simon Hales (Public Health, Wellington)
  • Tony Reeder (Preventive and Social Medicine)
  • Katrina Sharples (Preventive and Social Medicine)
  • Nicola Taylor (Centre for Research on Children & Families)