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Thirty University of Otago academics have been promoted to the position of professor this year.

Making the announcement today, Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne said the promotion to Professor recognised the hard work, skill and dedication of a wide range of University of Otago academics.

“The depth and breadth of research expertise, leadership, and commitment to their work demonstrated by these staff is highlighted with their promotion.

“It’s a pleasure to see the success of academics from a wide range of departments and research areas, and from across our campuses in Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington.

"I look forward to following with interest their teaching, research and service achievements in the future,” Professor Hayne says.

Otago’s promotion process involves thorough evaluation of each individual’s record of contributions to research, teaching, and service to the University and community. It also involves input from international experts in evaluating the candidates’ research contributions.

A further 42 University of Otago academics are being promoted to Associate Professor.

The promotions take effect from 1 February 2020.

Staff promoted to Professor (in alphabetical order):

Gillian Abel

Department of Population Health, University of Otago, Christchurch

Gillian Abel
Gillian is a public health academic with over 20 years’ experience in the field of sex work research. She uses her public health lens to examine how government legislation and local bylaws affect sex workers and their practices and is regarded as an international expert in this topic area. New Zealand decriminalised sex work with the passing of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003, and Gillian’s research provided a major contribution to the review of the Act. The findings from her research have also been utilised by researchers and policy makers in many other countries in their debates on how to regulate the sex industry. Her future research will continue to focus on how policy in New Zealand affects the health and safety of migrant sex workers, who are made vulnerable to exploitation through immigration policies, and how the diversity of sex workers experience crime in different legislative environments.

Joanne Baxter

Health Sciences Divisional Office

Jo Baxter
Joanne Baxter (Poutini Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō) is a Public Health Medicine Physician and Associate Dean Māori for the Division of Health Sciences. She is director of the Division of Health Science Māori Health Workforce Development Unit, and the Kōhatu Centre for Hauora Māori. Joanne is recognised for her research on Māori mental health where she was an investigator in Te Rau Hinengaro, the New Zealand Mental Health Survey. Other research includes ethnic health inequalities, indigenous medical education and Māori health workforce development. Joanne has played a critical role in strategic Māori development within the Health Sciences Division including leading a team to dramatically increase the recruitment, retention and achievement of Māori students in health sciences and health professional programmes. Joanne has also led significant outcomes in curriculum development including in the Māori Health curriculum to undergraduate medical students in Dunedin, and the Māori health major in Otago’s new Bachelor of Health Science.

Joseph Boden

Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch

Joe Boden
In 2019 Joseph was appointed as the Director of the Christchurch Health and Development Study (CHDS), an internationally-renowned longitudinal study of a birth cohort of 1265 children born in Christchurch in 1977. Having earned a PhD in social psychology at Case Western Reserve University in 1995, Joseph held academic positions in the United States of America, United Kingdom and Australia before coming to the University of Otago in 2005. With the CHDS, Joseph has undertaken a range of research on the life course outcomes associated with mental health disorders, substance use and abuse, behaviour problems in early childhood to adolescence, and many related areas of development. A particular focus for Joseph has been the outcomes associated with cannabis use in the CHDS cohort, making use of some of the world’s most extensive data on cannabis. In 2019 he was invited to join the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor’s expert panel on cannabis.

Rhiannon Braund

Department of Preventive and Social Medicine

Rhiannon Braund
Rhiannon’s research centers on medication, use, safety and effectiveness. This work has a strong equity and access focus, and considers patient behaviours regarding adherence and medication wastage. This expertise has been recognised across many clinical areas. Her research into advanced roles for pharmacists and support staff has resulted in multiple practice changes and new models of care both locally and internationally. Further, her passion for pharmacy and student success was recognised in 2012 when she was awarded the Prime Minister’s award for Tertiary Teaching Excellence. Her professional recognitions include Fellowships of both the New Zealand College and the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand. She holds national leadership roles to enhance the use of medications and improve patient access and outcomes through better utilisation of pharmacists.

Rachel Brown

Department of Human Nutrition

Rachel Brown
Rachel’s research has spanned many areas including sports nutrition and international nutrition, but the majority of her work has focused on the health benefits of regular nut consumption. Her nut research group has shown eating nuts lowers blood cholesterol, improves blood vessel function, reduces heart disease risk, and results in better diet quality. But when examining population nut consumption patterns they found a problem – many New Zealanders were shying away from eating nuts. To understand why, her group explored barriers to regular nut consumption; revealing a common deterrent was fear of weight gain. Further research helped dispel this misconception. They found nut consumers were leaner than non-nut consumers, and in trials where they fed large numbers of individuals different doses of nuts daily; people did not gain weight. Collectively, this has contributed to the advancement of knowledge in nut research, and has informed dietary guidelines for New Zealanders.

Pat Cragg

Academic Division and Department of Physiology

Pat Cragg
Pat’s PhD and postdoctoral training was at Bristol University in zoology and physiology before she joined the University of Otago in 1976 as a physiology teaching fellow. Her research has focused on lizard respiratory physiology and animal models of human respiratory control, newborn lung surfactant deficiency and adult cardiac function after infarction and in diabetes. She has supervised at least 40 research students as well as being co-editor and writer of four editions of an international physiology textbook and secretary/council member of the Physiological Society of New Zealand for 10 years. Pat is currently the Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic and has held many long duration leadership positions such as Head of Department, Associate Dean Academic and Deputy Dean School of Biomedical Sciences including Acting Dean for a year, and Associate Dean Academic for Health Sciences. Pat was also on the Universities New Zealand Committee on University Academic Programmes (CUAP) for 13 years, chaired the Scientific Committee of the Otago Medical Research Foundation for more than 25 years, was a member of the University’s Animal Ethics Committee for even longer and member/Deputy Chair of the New Zealand branch of the Australian New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching (ANZCCART) for 18 years.

Jacob Edmond

English and Linguistics Programme

Jacob Edmond
Jacob makes sense of our rapidly changing world by exploring literary and artistic responses to global shifts in media, culture, economics, and geopolitics. His first book, A Common Strangeness: Contemporary Poetry, Cross-Cultural Encounter, Comparative Literature (Fordham University Press), explores how poets responded to the upheavals wrought by the end of the Cold War. His second book, Make It the Same: Poetry in the Age of Global Media (Columbia University Press), examines literary and artistic works that address the proliferating copies of online media and the replication enabled by globalisation. His new Marsden project draws on literary and artistic responses to the news media to ask why our instant access to news from around the world brings not global understanding but paralysing confusion. By closely engaging with texts in Chinese, Russian and English, all his work addresses the global trends and linguistic and cultural differences that shape our contemporary world.

Colin Gavaghan

Faculty of Law

Colin Gavaghan
Colin is the inaugural director of the New Zealand Law Foundation Centre for Law and Emerging Technologies, and co-director of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Public Policy. His principal research interests include legal and ethical aspects of reproductive and genetic technologies, end of life issues and other medico-legal matters. He is the author of Defending the Genetic Supermarket (Routledge 2007) and of dozens of peer-reviewed articles and chapters.Together with colleagues in Computer Science and Philosophy, he is the leader of a three-year project exploring the legal, ethical and social implications of artificial intelligence for New Zealand. He is deputy chair of the Advisory Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology. He has advised the New Zealand Government at the D5 Ministerial Summit (2018), been an expert witness in the High Court case of Seales v Attorney General (2015), and advised Members of Parliament on draft legislation.

Jean Hay-Smith

Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Wellington

Jean’s research aims to improve the well-being of people with bladder problems and pelvic organ prolapse. She works with colleagues here, and in the United Kingdom and Australia to conduct large clinical trials to investigate which non-surgical treatments work best to prevent and treat bladder leakage and prolapse. Other studies are qualitative, listening to people talk about living with these problems and their treatment, to better understand what healthcare professionals and systems can do to support self-management and increased well-being. Another branch of her research – with an international research collaboration called Cochrane – investigates how we can do this type of rehabilitation research better, and what are the most important questions to answer in future studies about treating bladder leakage. Jean is currently leading an exciting new project involving people following stroke, working towards co-design of a ‘tool-kit’ to support better bladder management to enable living a good life after stroke.

Julia Horsfield

Pathology Department

Jula Horsfield
Julia’s current research originates from her fascination with how cells ‘decide’ what they are going to be in a growing, developing embryo. At the University of Otago, Julia started working on Cohesin, a protein that connects cell division with cell fate decisions. Cohesin controls chromosome segregation during cell division, and it also organises the DNA of non-dividing cells to select genes for expression. Using zebrafish, Julia’s group determined how mutation of Cohesin contributes to human developmental disorders, the "Cohesinopathies". Her group also studies how genes first come to be switched on in the embryo by Cohesin-mediated chromatin structure. She was the first to show that mutations in Cohesin may be linked with leukaemia; a finding later confirmed by cancer genome sequencing projects. Her recent work focuses on the mechanism of Cohesin’s contribution to leukaemia, including the sensitivity of Cohesin-mutant cancers to specific drugs.

Lisa Houghton

Department of Human Nutrition

L Houghton
Lisa is the Head of Department of Human Nutrition and Director of the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre in Human Nutrition for the Western Pacific Region. Her research is in the area of international nutrition, with an emphasis on maternal, infant and child health. She has led projects in Kenya, Kiribati, India, and Indonesia, focusing on areas such as the prevention of child malnutrition, nutrition household surveys and food fortification policies. Her current collaborative research focuses on strategies to improve nutrition-sensitive agricultural practices, and subsequently household food security of small holder farmers in Nigeria, as well as the development of field-friendly biomarkers to measure breastmilk intake and infant feeding practices. Lisa also leads a group of academics committed to improving access to online nutrition education for health professionals and community health workers in low- and middle-income countries.

Caroline Horwath

Department of Human Nutrition

Caroline Howarth
Caroline’s research in the field of behavioural nutrition focuses on why people eat the way they do, and ways to facilitate positive changes in eating behaviour. Since dieting produces limited long-term success in achieving weight loss, Caroline has a particular interest in intuitive eating as a promising alternative to the deliberate restriction of food intake. Intuitive eating involves eating in response to the body’s hunger and fullness signals, rather than for reasons unrelated to physical hunger such as emotions. Her team has designed and evaluated interventions, both face-to-face and web-based, to teach intuitive eating skills. Her team has also followed over five years a large nationwide sample of women, investigating behavioural factors related to the prevention of weight gain. Caroline’s research has applied mindfulness-based approaches such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and theories of motivation such as Self-Determination Theory to the study of eating behaviour.

Christine Jasoni

Department of Anatomy

Christine Jasoni
When a mother is unwell during pregnancy, her offspring have increased lifelong risk for neurological disease. Christine’s research interest is in how the brain forms before we are born, with a particular focus on understanding how a mother’s health during this critical period of life can impact the unborn baby’s brain; and increase neurological disease risk. Her group’s work has been published in some of the top international journals, and her trainees have gone on to prestigious positions nationally and abroad. Christine’s laboratory is situated in the Centre for Neuroendocrinology, among a group of researchers who are world-leaders in discovering how the brain controls some of our most essential bodily functions. Christine’s reach into the neuroscience community at Otago, however, is much broader. She is the Director of the 300-researcher-strong Brain Health Research Centre, is a former Director of the Neuroscience Degree Programme, and has won numerous awards for her neuroscience teaching.

Niels Kjaergaard

Physics Department

Niels works in experimental atomic and laser physics. At Otago his research group has constructed an optical tweezers platform, where powerful laser beams can pinch and manipulate clouds of atoms at temperatures less than one millionth of a degree above absolute zero. In the Marsden-funded project “Littlest Hadron Collider: a Laser-based Accelerator for Ultra-cold Atoms”, they used their optical tweezers for gently bumping frigid atomic clouds together to explore the nature of interactions between atoms colliding at pedestrian speeds. The experiments captured paradigms of quantum mechanics by literally photographing scattered atoms and the project “Reactive Cold Collisions in Steerable Optical Tweezers”, funded by Marsden this year, aims to extend their method to the realm of ultracold chemistry. Niels’ interests also include the two-way, entangled interplay that happens when light and matter meet to interchange information and polarisations become twisted, rays get bent, and atoms are pushed around by light.

Miles Lamare

Department of Marine Science

Miles is a marine biologist with extensive research on the ecology of marine invertebrates, and a special interest in sea stars and sea urchins. His research has been undertaken on species from the Tropics to the Poles, and in both hemispheres. Recently, Miles has examined the outcomes of climate change on marine species, including the impacts of ozone loss in polar regions, ocean warming and acidification. His present research includes examining responses to environmental change in coral reef species in Papua New Guinea and Australia, invasive sea urchins in New Zealand, adaptive potential in Antarctic sea stars to warming oceans, and the use of environmental DNA to track sea star outbreaks. Miles is presently principal investigator in a six-year New Zealand Antarctic Science Platform programme that will commence in 2020 to examine changes in the Ross Sea, and is an associate investigator on Marsden-funded, ground-breaking research into the molecular mechanisms of regeneration in sea squirts.

William Levack

Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Wellington

William Levack
William’s research focuses on interprofessional rehabilitation for people with disabilities and chronic health problems. His research is diverse, but often centres on helping people engage in and take charge of their own rehabilitation. His work on goal-setting in rehabilitation has changed how health professionals think and talk about goals – how they are used to influence clinical decision-making and patient behaviour; the bioethics of collaborative goal planning; and how approaches to goal-setting align with the best scientific evidence to improve health outcomes in clinical practice. William has served as the Associate Dean of Research for the Wellington campus of the University of Otago since 2011, and as the Academic Head of the Rehabilitation Teaching and Research Unit. William is an Executive Committee member for Cochrane Rehabilitation, an international research group that he helped establish in 2016. He also currently serves as the President of the New Zealand Rehabilitation Association.

Richard Macknight

Department of Biochemistry

Richard Macknight
Richard is a plant biologist whose research aims to understand how genes control various agriculturally important traits in plants. He has published widely in this area and has held numerous research grants from Marsden and MBIE. Richard completed his undergraduate and PhD studies in the Biochemistry Department at Otago. He then worked as a Postdoctoral researcher at the John Innes Centre, an international centre of excellence in plant science in the UK, before returning to Otago to establish his research group. Much of Richard’s research has focused on discovering the genes that enable plants to flower in response to seasonal cues, such as winter cold and the increasing day length of spring. When a plant flowers determines when it produces its fruit or grain, therefore understanding the genetic basis of this trait can aid the breeding of crops better suited to local environmental conditions. To achieve this, Richard and his colleagues work closely with researchers from the Crown Research Institutes and plant breeding companies.

Fiona McDonald

Department of Physiology

Fiona McDonald
Fiona’s research focuses on the control of blood pressure by the kidney. In particular, her work on the epithelial sodium channel has shown how cellular trafficking, recycling and degradation pathways converge to maintain an appropriate population of sodium channels at the cell membrane, to ensure blood pressure stays in a healthy range. She has also contributed to work uncovering how mutations in sodium channel genes cause a rare inherited form of high blood pressure called Liddle’s syndrome. Along with collaborators in pathology and physiology she is currently studying how changes in sodium channel activity affects breast cancer cell proliferation and migration, with a view to understanding if changing sodium channel activity or amount can inform treatment. Fiona has mentored more than 40 postgraduate students in her laboratory, and she is currently Head of the Department of Physiology.

Alexander McLellan

Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Alex McLellan
Alex is a synthetic biologist working to improve the immunotherapy of cancer. His research generates potent, cancer-killing white blood cells, termed chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells. This revolutionary therapy combines the specificity of antibodies with the cell-killing capacity of T cells to create a powerful cancer therapy. To improve the effectiveness of CAR T cell therapy, his laboratory designs gene promoters for newly-discovered genetic elements that improve CAR T cell activity. Another focus is to prevent life-threatening side-effects of CAR T cell therapy through the design of auto-regulatory systems to 'throttle-down' hyperactive CAR T cells. He has been involved in acquiring and managing major equipment for flow cytometry and in vivo bioimaging. Alex greatly values his role in teaching professional and medical courses and in mentoring roles for students throughout their life at Otago.

Suzanne Pitama (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Whare)

Māori/Indigenous Health Institute (MIHI), University of Otago, Christchurch

Suzanne Pitama
Suzanne focuses on addressing Māori health inequities through medical education and health research. Suzanne completed the first-ever PhD undertaken in Indigenous Medical Education in 2013. She has designed, developed, implemented, and evaluated the place of Indigenous health curriculum in health professional education and explored the ability for the curriculum to transform health environments for patients, whānau, and health professionals. The teaching team at MIHI has been awarded several international awards for its Indigenous health curriculum and published extensively in this area. Suzanne was awarded the Prime Minister’s supreme award for tertiary teaching excellence in 2015. Suzanne has received Health Research Council and Ministry of Health funding to explore Māori patient and whānau experiences (acute and non-acute) in the health environment with a specific focus on cardiovascular, mental, and long term chronic conditions. Suzanne received the Joan Metge award for research in social sciences.

John Pickering

Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch

John sees health data as taonga (a gift) and himself as a kaitiaki (guardian) of that data. As such he helps data tell its story using the tools of statistics and machine learning. He collaborates with health professionals in emergency medicine, kidney, heart, and older people’s health to change clinical practice. Recently his work contributed to improving how chest pain is assessed in emergency departments. Consequently, each year thousands of New Zealanders gain early reassurance, without a night in hospital, that their pain is not a heart attack, while those who are actually having a heart attack continue to get appropriate care. John’s PhD and postdoctoral research was in physics and the use of lasers in medicine. Between this early science career and re-starting it with the University of Otago in 2007 he spent several years as a missionary, had a career in international education, and completed a degree in Theology.

Bruce Robertson

Department of Zoology

Bruce Robertson
Bruce researches conservation genetics and wildlife management. He has contributed to the conservation of some of New Zealand’s most endangered iconic species. From using evolutionary theory to manipulate male-biased sex ratios in kākāpō to mitigating marine mammal bycatch in New Zealand commercial fisheries and defining eradication units in predator control, his research focus addresses a range of pressing wildlife management issues. He is currently leading a Marsden-funded project exploring the genomic architecture of hatching failure in endangered birds (kākāpō and Hawaiian crow), continuing his long-term involvement with the genetic management of kākāpō. For more than 20 years, he has provided advice and research expertise to species recovery groups (kākāpō, kea, kōkako, black robin, New Zealand sea lion), governmental advisory groups and non-governmental conservation organisations. He has supervised more than 30 postgraduates to completion, including 19 PhD students and has more than 100 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals.

Katrina Sharples

Department of Mathematics and Statistics and Department of Medicine

Katrina Sharples
Katrina is a biostatistician, with research interests in clinical trials and epidemiology. She studied at the University of Auckland, and gained a PhD in Biostatistics from the University of Washington in Seattle. She has been a co-investigator on a range of projects, notably in cancer epidemiology, cancer trials, infectious diseases and drug safety. Her interest is in the nature of evidence, the influence of random variation, and how we obtain reliable evidence from research to improve health and well-being. She co-led the establishment of the Health Research Council of New Zealand Data and Safety Monitoring Committee, which monitors investigator initiated clinical trials funded by the Health Research Council. She is a founding member of Cancer Trials New Zealand led by Professor Michael Findlay, of the Pharmacoepidemiology Research Network led by Associate Professor Lianne Parkin, and is the biostatistician with the Centre for International Health co-led by Professors John Crump and Philip Hill.

Will Sweetman

Religion Programme

Will is a historian who works on South India in the early modern period. Once the Portuguese opened the sea route to India at the end of the 15th century, European knowledge of Indian society and culture was advanced by a stream of letters and books written by travelers, missionaries, merchants, soldiers and colonial officials. Will’s work examines both the sources of their knowledge of India and the use their works were put to in debates among scholars in Europe in the period leading up to the Enlightenment. He has a particular interest in Indian religion, and how Europeans put what they knew of Hinduism and Buddhism to use in polemics between Catholics, Protestants, deists, atheists and freethinkers in Europe. His recent work has examined European collections of Indian manuscripts—especially the Vedas, India’s oldest sacred text. He is currently writing a book on the devadasis, the Indian temple dancers who have fascinated Europeans since Marco Polo visited India on his way back from China.

Neil Waddell

Department of Oral Rehabilitation

J Neil Waddell
The loss or breakdown of teeth through decay affects people’s health and self-esteem through a reduced ability to chew their food and show a happy toothy smile. As a dental technician, Neil’s primary area of research is in dental materials, specifically those materials used by dentists to restore the patient’s lost and decayed teeth and how to successfully bond the restorations made from these materials into the mouth. Neil conducts experimental research in dental ceramics, dental alloys and polymer systems and their failure mechanisms. He also does research in craniofacial biomechanics to establish and understand the mechanisms and magnitude of bite forces and develop simulant materials for in vitro modelling of dental anatomical structures. These models enable researchers to test new materials and designs in the laboratory prior to their clinical trials. Neil is currently the Programme Director of Dental Biomechanics and Biomaterials in the Sir John Walsh Research Institute.

Debra Waters

School of Physiotherapy

D Waters
Helping older people age well has been the focus of Debra’s research career. Age-related changes in body composition negatively impact on physical function and falls, and her international research has focused on the identification and treatment of skeletal muscle and functional loss (sarcopenia), and also the combination of obesity plus sarcopenia (sarcopenic-obesity). Typical measures of body weight and BMI cannot identify people with sarcopenia or sarcopenic-obesity and she has been involved in international collaborations designed to determine combinations of appropriate measures. Life-style (exercise and diet) intervention trials in the United States of America have been successful in reversing the loss of function and improving body composition. She is now exploring the possible early origins of sarcopenia and sarcopenic-obesity in the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Study participants. She has also extensively studied the Otago Steady as you Go (SAYGo) strength and balance programme. This novel community-based, peer-led model is sustainable and effective for improving function, falls risk, and social connection.

Esko Wiltshire

Department of Paediatrics & Child Health, University of Otago, Wellington

Esko Wiltshire
Esko is a Paediatric Endocrinologist and Paediatrician, with research and clinical expertise involving young people with chronic endocrine conditions, particularly type 1 diabetes. Since completing his doctorate in Adelaide, his research has focused on understanding and preventing the development of blood vessel complications in diabetes, as well as prevention and treatment of acute complications, such as low blood sugars. Recent collaborations, both internationally and nationally, have also expanded research in the uses of diabetes technology. As a clinician scientist, he enjoys taking questions that patients or parents ask in clinic and applying the tools of science to answer them, using both quantitative and more recently qualitative approaches. Important areas of his work include teamwork in both research and clinical practice, training up-coming researchers and paediatricians, developing resources for families affected by rare disorders and international advocacy, as chair of the International Consortium of Pediatric Endocrinology.

Tim Woodfield

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery & Musculoskeletal Medicine, University of Otago Christchurch

Prof Tim Woodfield
Tim is investigating regenerative medicine and bioprinting strategies for repairing patient’s damaged or osteoarthritic cartilage and bone. His research aims to understand the complex cellular microenvironments controlling tissue growth, applied to clinical translation of cell-based therapies and orthopaedic device technologies. He has built an internationally-recognised team (CReaTE@Otago) researching at the interface of bioengineering, stem-cell biology and orthopaedic surgery, supported through multiple grants and awards, including the Royal Society Te Apārangi, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Health Research Council, European Union and AO Foundation.  He is a recognised expert in biomaterial science and biofabrication, and his research programme has pioneered the development of a number of technology platforms in regenerative medicine including: commercialised biomaterials and bioinks, cell spheroid bioassembly and organ-on-chip models, 3D in vitro tissue models for high throughput screening, patient-specific 3D printed titanium implants, and translational models regenerating and imaging cartilage and bone. He is Director of the Centre for Bioengineering & Nanomedicine, MedTech CoRE Principal Investigator and Rutherford Discovery Fellow recipient.

Yolanda van Heezik

Department of Zoology

Yolanda van Heezik
Yolanda’s early research in New Zealand and Europe focused on reproductive strategies, growth, and diet in sea and shorebirds. This was followed by nine years as a wildlife biologist in Saudi Arabia, with a focus on performance of captive populations for reintroduction, and habitat use, distribution and abundance of wild populations of Arabian birds and mammals. Since her appointment at Otago in 2001 she has re-engaged in seabird research, expanded her work to include the ecology and management of pest species, and has initiated a major programme of research in urban ecology, investigating urban wildlife and the impacts of invasive urban predators. Through inter-disciplinary collaborations, and with Marsden and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment funding, her urban research has expanded into investigations of social and environmental drivers of biodiversity in private gardens, children’s connection with nature in urban areas, impacts of ageing on nature connection, and patterns of green space use in relation to biodiversity values.

Rachel Zajac

Department of Psychology

Rachel Zajac
Rachel studies how memory and decision-making can fail in criminal investigations, and how we can address that. Her research programme has included work on how lawyers cross-examine child witnesses in court, how police investigators interview complainants of sexual violence, and how forensic scientists interpret crime scene evidence. This work has been funded by the Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund (2008-2010; 2011-2014; 2018-2021), the US National Institute of Justice (2014-2017), and the former Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (2009-2012). Rachel provides training to police, judges, lawyers, and forensic scientists on the psychological science that underpins the investigation of crime. She regularly gives expert evidence in New Zealand criminal trials, and has also served in this role in Australia and the United States of America. Rachel’s research has been used in police and judicial education programmes in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Australia; in a United States President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology report to President Obama; and in the United States Supreme Court as scientific evidence.

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Staff promoted to Associate Professor:

  • Melanie Beres (Sociology, Gender Studies and Criminology Programme);
  • Max Berry (Department of Paediatrics & Child Health (UOW));
  • Melanie Bussey (School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences);
  • Anna Carr (Department of Tourism);
  • Marcelle Dawson (Sociology, Gender Studies and Criminology Programme);
  • Lara Friedlander (Department of Oral Rehabilitation);
  • Paul Gardner (Department of Biochemistry);
  • Tony Garry (Department of Marketing);
  • Richard Greatbanks (Department of Management);
  • Elaine Hargreaves (School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences);
  • Dione Healey (Department of Psychology);
  • Michael Jack (Department of Physics);
  • Anne-Marie Jackson (School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences);
  • Emily Keddell (Social and Community Work Programme);
  • Regis Lamberts (Department of Physiology);
  • Richard Linscott (Department of Psychology);
  • Sunyoung Ma (Department of Oral Rehabilitation);
  • Peter Mace (Department of Biochemistry);
  • Susan Mackenzie (Department of Tourism);
  • Alex Macmillan (Department of Preventive and Social Medicine);
  • Vijay Mallan (Higher Education Development Centre);
  • Rachael McLean (Department of Preventive and Social Medicine);
  • Carla Meledandri (Department of Chemistry);
  • Steven Mills (Department of Computer Science);
  • Hugh Morrison (College of Education);
  • Hilda Mulligan (School of Physiotherapy);
  • Garry Nixon (Department of General Practice and Rural Health);
  • Conor O'Kane (Department of Management);
  • Louise Parr-Brownlie (Department of Anatomy);
  • Rose Richards (Health Sciences Divisional Office);
  • Kirsten Robertson (Department of Marketing);
  • James Scott (Department of Geology);
  • James Ussher (Department of Microbiology and Immunology);
  • Zach Weber (Philosophy Programme);
  • Lincoln Wood (Department of Management);
  • Emma Wyeth (Department of Preventive and Social Medicine);
  • Sinead Donnelly (Department of Medicine (UOW));
  • Chris Baldi (Department of Medicine);
  • Pat Silcock (Department of Food Science);
  • Debbie Snell (Department of Orthopaedic Surgery & Musculoskeletal Med (UOC));
  • Jo-Ann Stanton (Department of Anatomy);
  • Michael Tatley (New Zealand Pharmacovigilance Centre).

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