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Former staff (2009-)

Academic and research staff

Ordered chronologically, latest to leave are listed first. Some Academic staff that have retired have continued on as Emeritus professors, for the purposes of this list they are listed by date retired.


Steve Smith smDr Steven A F Smith

MSci PhD(Durh)

  • Structure and mechanical properties of fault zones
  • Fault rock microstructure
  • Deformation experiments
  • Structural Geology


Dr Marianne Negrini imageDr Marianne Negrini

MSc(Zurich) PhD(Tromsø)

Electron Beam Data Technician

Dr Cathy G Rufaut imageDr Cathy G Rufaut

Dip. Wildlife Management(Otago) MSc(Victoria) PhD(Otago)

  • Geo-ecology, botany, zoology
  • Mine environmental issues
  • Land rehabilitation
  • Project management and outreach

Amber Coste image 2021Dr Amber Coste

MSci (Southampton)

  • Cetacean palaeobiology
  • Anatomy and functional morphology
  • Cetacean systematics and phylogeny

Google Scholar Amber Coste

Sheng_Fan image 2021Dr Sheng Fan


  • Ice microstructure and mechanics
  • Ice deformation (creep) experiments
  • Cryogenic electron backscatter diffraction (cryo-EBSD) and fabric analyzer
  • Cryo-seismology

Google Scholar Sheng Fan
ResearchGate: Sheng Fan

Sophie Gangl image smallDr Sophie K Gangl

MSc(BOKU, Vienna) PhD(Otago)

  • Heavy isotope geochemistry
  • Trace element geochemistry
  • Palaeoclimatology

GemmaKerr thumbnailDr Gemma Kerr

BSc(Hons)(St Andrews) PhD(Otago)

  • Geochemistry/X-ray Lab Technician
  • Geochemical processes in human impacted environments
  • Environmental / low temperature geochemistry and mineralogy
  • Alluvial gold deposits

Google Scholar Gemma Kerr

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Dr Jon Lindquist ImageDr Jon Lindquist

MSc PhD(Otago)

  • Sedimentology and ichnology
  • On-land southern NZ Cretaceous–Tertiary basin stratigraphy

Damian Walls ImageDamian Walls


Department Administrator, Safety Officer, Lab Manager, Geochemistry/X-ray Lab Technician

Rosie_Cole ImageDr Rosie Cole

MSci(Durham) PhD(Otago)

  • Volcanology
  • Dyke propagation

Google Scholar Rosie P Cole
ArtFisH research

Matt Tarling thumbnailDr Matthew Tarling

BSc(McGill) PhD(Otago)

  • Structural Geology
  • Serpentinite fault rocks
  • Raman spectroscopy of serpentinite
  • Experimental petrology

Google Scholar Matthew S Tarling

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Tobias DurigDr Tobias Dürig

Dipl. phys., Dr. rer. nat.(Wurzburg)

  • Experimental volcanology
  • Generation processes of volcanic ash
  • Magma-water interaction
  • Ash plume dynamics

Google Scholar Tobias Dürig

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Erin ToddDr Erin Todd

Postdoctoral Fellow
BS (Penn State University), PhD (University of California Santa Cruz)

  • Seismotectonics
  • Earthquake seismology
  • Geodynamic modelling

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Matt Sagar smDr Matt Sagar

Teaching fellow
BscHons, PhD(Otago)

Left late 2014

While at Otago:

  • 100- and 200-level teaching (EAOS111, GEOL112 and GEOL252)
  • U-Pb geochronology
  • 40Ar/39Ar and fission-track thermochronology
  • New Zealand tectonics

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Steve KidderDr Steven Kidder

Post Doctoral Fellow
B.S. (Univ. of Minnesota), M.S. (Univ. of Arizona)
Ph.D. (Caltech)

Left late 2013

While at Otago Steve researched:

  • Structural geology
  • lithospheric rheology
  • tectonics
  • deformation mechanisms and microstructures

Contact details:

Martin JutzelerDr Martin Jutzeler

Post Doctoral Fellow
MSc (Lausanne), PhD (Tasmania)

Left in 2013

While at Otago Martin researched:

  • Explosive subaqueous eruptions
  • Volcaniclastic sedimentology

Contact details:

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Dushan JugumDr Dushan Jugum

MSc BSc (Auckland) PhD(Otago)

Left in 2012

While at Otago Dushan was in charge of:

  • Teaching laboratories stages 1–3
  • Teaching field trips stages 1–2

Contact details:

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Richard Norris smEmeritus Professor Richard J Norris


Retired in 2011, Passed away in 2016

Research interests(while at Otago):

  • structural geology and tectonics
  • neotectonics, paleoseismology, Alpine Fault structure
  • NZ Cenozoic tectonics & basin evolution
  • deformation in the Haast Schists

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Phaedra UptonDr Phaedra Upton

DipGrad, PhD(Otago)
BSc (Canterbury)

Research interests(while at Otago):

  • Active deformation in the Southern Alps of New Zealand
  • Regional studies of fault mechanics and anisotropy in the Otago Schist
  • Mechanical investigations of the Macraes Mine
  • Fluid flow in ancient and modern orogenic belts
  • Interaction between erosion and tectonics, projects in Taiwan and the Himalaya
  • Geodynamics of the ancient orogens, the Acadian orogeny
  • Exhumation of ultrahigh pressure rocks of Western Norway

Contact details:

Email link (GNS)

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Rick SibsonProfessor Emeritus Richard H. Sibson


Retired in 2009

Research interests:

  • Structural analysis of the 2010-2012 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence
  • Seismotectonics of active compressional inversion in NE Honshu and the physical conditions of seismogenesis along subduction megathrusts
  •  seismogenesis in the Buller region of active compressional inversion
  •  earthquake rupturing in fluid-overpressured crust


Francesca GhisettiProfessor Francesca C. Ghisetti

Dottore in Scienze Geologiche(Catania) Fellow National Council of Research(Italy)

Research interests:

  • Structural analysis of fold-and-thrust belts, section balancing, stress inversions
  • Structural analysis of active faults
  • Basin evolution and fault-controlled sedimentation
  • Microstructural assemblages of brittle fault rocks
  • Field mapping of sedimentary, metamorphic and volcanic assemblages
  • Regional Tectonics
  • Tectonic geomorphology, Quaternary geology, and Neotectonics
  • Seismotectonics and seismic hazard assessment
  • Geological map editing and publishing, GIS

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Doug CoombsProfessor Emeritus Douglas S. Coombs

Passed away in 2016

  • mineralogy and petrology of metamorphic and igneous rocks
  • New Zealand tectonics

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General / technical staff


Luke EasterbrookLuke Easterbrook

Left in 2018

What he did at the Department of Geology: Scientific Illustrator

Dee-Roben_smDee Roben

Left in 2018

What she did at the Department of Geology: Academic administrator

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Claudio Tapia smDr Claudio A. Tapia

Left in 2017

What he did at the Department of Geology: Teaching fellow, Teaching Support Technician, Curator, Otago Paleomagnetic Research Facility supervisor

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Kat Lilly smDr Kat Lilly

Left in 2016

What she did at the Department of Geology: Scientific officer, SEM

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Adrien DeverAdrien Dever

Retired April 2015

What she did at the Department of Geology: Academic Administrator

Contact details: Contact us

John Williams smDr John G Williams

Retired July 2015

What he did at the Department of Geology: Departmental Administrator

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Andreas AuerAndreas Auer

Left in 2013

What he did at the Department of Geology: Electron Microprobe Officer & Teaching Fellow (also former student)

Research interests:


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Mike TrinderMike W Trinder

Retired in 2011

What he did at the Department of Geology: Senior Technical Officer & Departmental Health and Safety Officer.

  • electronics, computers, electrical
  • palaeomagnetism laboratory

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Andrew GrebneffAndrew Grebneff

Passed away in 2010

What he did at the Department of Geology: Paleontology Lab Technician

  • Fossil Preparation
  • Curation and conservation of collections

Kay SwannKay Swann

Left in 2010

What she did at the Department of Geology: Scientific Illustrator

  • computer graphics support
  • website management
  • GIS system

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