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Rutherford Discovery Fellowships for Otago researchers


Thursday 11 November 2010 2:57pm

Two talented University of Otago researchers are among the first recipients of a major new Government-funded fellowship designed to support early-to-mid-career researchers.

Department of Physics Research Fellow Dr Ashton Bradley and Department of Anatomy & Structural Biology Senior Lecturer Dr John Reynolds have gained Rutherford Discovery Fellowships that will provide each with financial support of up to $200,000 per year over a five-year period.

This funding will enable them to investigate a particular research topic and goes towards both their salary and their programme of work.

The new fellowships, administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand, have been set up to fill a gap in support for researchers in the three to 10 year period after they complete a doctorate degree.

The chairperson of the selection panel, Professor Margaret Brimble, said it was a difficult decision for the panel to only choose ten people to receive the fellowships.

“We received a large number of exceptional applications in this first year and those chosen are very worthy recipients. They are not only excellent researchers, but also potential future leaders for research in New Zealand.”

Otago’s Rutherford Discovery Fellowship recipients

Ashton Bradley photo.Dr Ashton Bradley (Department of Physics)

The Birth, Life, and Death of a Quantum Vortex Dipole

At ultra-low temperatures atoms can undergo a phase transition, coalescing into a quantum droplet exhibiting the remarkable property of frictionless flow, known as superfluidity. When a superfluid rotates, it does so by creating a quantized vortex resembling a tiny fluid whirlpool or tornado. Dr Bradley has developed a new theory of ultra-cold atomic superfluids and will investigate the fundamental nature of quantum turbulence.

John Reynolds photo. Dr John Reynolds (Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology)

Improving brain function: a balancing act

Disruption of normal communication between brain areas is a feature of a number of common brain disorders such as stroke and epilepsy. In the proposed research Dr Reynolds will use experimental approaches to alter the normal balance between excitation and inhibition in the brain and in doing so attempt to improve function in these brain disorders.


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