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Otago researcher elected as Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand

Medical xray

Wednesday 6 October 2010 11:40am

Professor Richie Poulton photo. Professor Richie Poulton, who heads the University of Otago’s world-acclaimed Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

As Director of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit (DMHDRU), Professor Poulton leads one of the most successful and highly cited longitudinal studies of health and development in the world.

The Dunedin Study follows the progress of more than 1000 children born between1972-1973 from birth to adulthood. Age 38 assessments are currently taking place, which involves bringing Study members back to Dunedin from wherever they are in the world to have almost all aspects of their physical and mental health assessed.

The assessments include investigating cardiovascular, dental, respiratory, sexual and mental health, psychosocial well-being, and detailed interviews about relationships, behaviour and family.

Since its inception, the Dunedin Study has generated more than 1100 publications, with findings influencing family, child and public health policies overseas and in New Zealand.

Professor Poulton is an international authority on how fear and anxiety disorders develop, and how psychosocial factors influence physical health. Under his leadership, the DMHDRU’s international reputation has flourished.

Research from the Dunedin Study on the genetic contribution to psychological disorders, published in top international journals including Science, has achieved international prominence, and has been hailed as ground-breaking.

Previously Professor Poulton has received the NZ Association of Scientists Research Medal and the Health Research Council’s Liley Medal for an outstanding contribution to Health and Medical Sciences.

Announcing the 13 new Fellows, Academy Chairperson Professor Keith Hunter said the high calibre of the nominees for Fellowship made the selection process challenging.

“Being elected as a Fellow is an honour given to our top researchers for showing distinction in research or in the advancement of science, technology or the humanities.

“The work of these newly elected Fellows reflects the wide range of work being undertaken by scientists and humanities researchers in New Zealand. I am very pleased to announce their election today.”

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