Friday, 9 July 2021
Dr Michael (Mike) Garratt is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Anatomy. His high-quality research and publications are at the intersection of reproduction, physiology, behaviour and evolutionary biology. His continuing excellence has been recognised with an Early Career Award for Distinction in Research from the University of Otago.
“I enjoy having the opportunity to choose research questions that I think are interesting, and to creatively design experiments that no one has thought of before,” Dr Garratt says.
His main research interests lie in understanding how reproduction influences life-history, health and ageing. This includes the startling discovery that the act of mating causes major changes to a female animal’s life course, increasing body growth and fertility but shortening lifespan. These changes can occur even without sperm transfer and pregnancy, suggesting that there is a response to the act of mating and/or seminal fluid that changes the life course.
“Mike epitomises excellence in an early career researcher. This is due to his exceptionally high-quality research publications, his ability to lead national and international research and to develop new, cutting-edge lines of research investigations. Mike engages with the scientific and wider communities, and has strong standing amongst collaborators, funders and students. He is an exceptional talent,” says Professor Lisa Matisoo-Smith, Head of the Department of Anatomy.
Dr Garratt has received awards from the Australian Research Council, the Marsden Fund and a Junior Fellowship at the University of Michigan. His record of high-quality publishing places him among the international leaders in his field, with an impressive 39 papers in top journals. He is also a regular referee and reviewer for a host of prestigious journals and granting bodies.
The collaborative projects he has been instrumental in establishing are generating new ideas and research initiatives in New Zealand and internationally. These programmes focus on diverse questions such as the development of drugs that can extend lifespan, why males and females age differently, and how pregnancy influences long-term maternal health.
Dr Garratt also makes a significant contribution to the University’s research culture. He has trained an outstanding cohort of students and as a member of the Department of Anatomy Research Committee established a new process to support staff submitting major research grants, which has been extremely well received.
Originally from The United Kingdom, he completed his PhD in Integrative Biology at The University of Liverpool (UK). He was then a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of New South Wales (Sydney) and a Postdoctoral Fellow then Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan. He joined the Department of Anatomy at the University of Otago in 2018.