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Biomedical Sciences staff celebrated with awards

Thursday, 15 December 2016 9:51am

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Some of the winners of 2016 School of Biomedical Sciences Awards, from left, Professor Peter Dearden, Professor Parry Guilford and Associate Professor Pat Cragg and with the Dean of the School of Biomedical Sciences Professor Vernon Ward.

A ground-breaking paper on bee fertility, passionate research into the bioarchaeology of children in the past, and outstanding service to the University’s School of Biomedical Sciences were among the achievements celebrated at an awards ceremony yesterday.

The annual School of Biomedical Sciences awards were held in the Hunter Centre last night to recognise the achievements of the School’s professional support and academic staff.

Thirteen awards were presented, including Research Paper of the Year, which went to Professor Peter Dearden of Biochemistry; Emerging Researcher, which went to Dr Sian Halcrow of Anatomy; and an award for Service to the School which went to Associate Professor Pat Cragg of Physiology.

Professor Dearden’s research paper Notch signalling mediates reproductive constraint in the adult worker honeybee, published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications in August, identified for the first time the molecular mechanism by which queen honeybees carefully control worker bees’ fertility.

It was picked up by news outlets around the world and sparked 13 interviews including a 15-minute interview on the BBC Radio 4 “Inside Science” programme.

"Our academic staff award recipients contribute on the world stage. Dr Sian Halcrow is an emerging world leader in the field of the bioarcheology of children in the past and Professor Parry Guilford’s research in the field of cancer diagnostics is changing how cancers are diagnosed and improving the outcomes for people with cancer."

Dr Halcrow’s award, made to staff who are establishing their independent careers, is based on outstanding research achievement, with the emphasis on achievement since appointment at the University of Otago.

Her citation describes Dr Halcrow as a “role model for young women in academia” and an “outstanding researcher who exemplifies the definition of ‘excellence’ by her drive, critical enquiry and integrity in all aspects of her research.”

“She is already considered a world-leading expert on the bioarchaeology of children in the past and has developed research programmes in Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand and, most recently, Chile.”

As well as her academic duties she is also involved in numerous community service activities including being the Young Members’ Representative of the National Executive of the Federation of Graduate Women since 2009, and both President and Vice-President of the Otago branch of the New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women.

Associate Professor Cragg’s Service to the School Award recognises her distiguished service over an extended period and her contributions to the fabric of the School.

Associate Professor Cragg has been a member of the Department of Physiology and consequently the School of Biomedical Sciences for 40 years. During that time she has been Head of Department for 12 years, Acting Dean and more recently Deputy Dean of the School.

Dean of the School of Biomedical Sciences Professor Vernon Ward says the School’s professional support staff play leading roles in undertaking nationally- and internationally-important research and support a world class teaching experience for undergraduate and postgraduate students.

“Our academic staff award recipients contribute on the world stage. Dr Sian Halcrow is an emerging world leader in the field of the bioarchaeology of children in the past and Professor Parry Guilford’s research in the field of cancer diagnostics is changing how cancers are diagnosed and improving the outcomes for people with cancer.”

The School of Biomedical Sciences encompasses Otago’s Departments of Anatomy, Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Physiology, and Pharmacology and Toxicology.

The 2016 Award Recipients are:

Senior Researcher Award
Professor Parry Guilford (Biochemistry)

Commercialisation Researcher Award
Professor Frank Griffin (Microbiology and Immunology)

Emerging Researcher Award
Dr Sian Halcrow (Anatomy)

Research Paper of the Year by a BMS Researcher
Professor Peter Dearden (Biochemistry)

Research Support – Focused Contribution Award
Marilyn Merriman (Biochemistry)

Research Support – Sustained Contribution Award
Murray Cockerill (Biochemistry)

Research Support – Distinguished Contribution Award
Megan Coleman (Microbiology and Immunology)

Kaupapa Māori Research Award
Associate Professor Hallie Buckley (Anatomy)

Pasifika Research Award
Dr Daryl Schwenke (Physiology)

Distinguished Academic Teacher
Dr Roslyn Kemp (Microbiology and Immunology)

Distinguished PPF/Teaching Fellow (Science)
Andrew Barlow (Physiology)

Distinguished PPF/Teaching Fellow (Professional Programmes)
Tony Zaharic (Biochemistry)

Service to the School Award
Associate Professor Pat Cragg (Physiology)