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Tuesday 17 January 2023 12:22pm

Congratulations to Professor Murray Thomson and Associate Professor Sunyoung Ma, recipients of SJWRI Research Supervisor of the Year awards for 2022. These Awards, which were announced at our Faculty end-of-year function late last year, celebrate excellent supervisors of undergraduate and postgraduate students undertaking research projects in the Faculty of Dentistry.

Postgraduate Research Supervisor of the Year:
Professor Murray Thomson

Professor Murray Thomson is internationally renown for his contributions to the fields of dental epidemiology, dental public health and dental health services research. His work in the renowned Dunedin Study has enhanced understanding of oral health throughout life. He is an expert on the oral condition 'dry mouth' and has developed measures which are being widely used in clinical practice and research. He has also made important contributions to understanding of the oral health of the ageing population and of the effectiveness of dental care in improving the lives of children and their families. His national oral health survey work in Australasia has been internationally influential, and has also provided many years of service as an Editor-in-Chief for international scientific journals. Last year he was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of the Royal Society Te Apārangi, and was part of the Dunedin Study team who were awarded the Royal Society of New Zealand Rutherford Medal. He has a long and distinguished supervisory record, having supervised almost 100 doctoral and Masters theses over his career, and is a previous recipient of the SJWRI Postgraduate Research Supervisor award (2017).

Here are a selection of comments from postgraduate student nominations:

Prof. Murray Thomson is an awesome supervisor. He always being supportive, easy to talk with, and always provides honest feedback on my work. He has wise words to encourage and push me further. I always feel lucky to have him as my primary supervisor.

Between his humour, effective communication and pragmatic guidance, Murray is the epitome of an excellent supervisor. He is always approachable and gives precise feedback. No matter how busy he is, he replies to my emails within 24 hours. This professionalism along with his flexible approach as a supervisor, demonstrate his enormous experience. He understands the needs of each student and knows when to be hands-off or hands-on. Above all, Murray is an amazing human being and I'm very proud and privileged to have had him as my supervisor.

Murray has always been approachable, humble, and open to listening to new ideas. He is very knowledgeable and experienced. He explains complex ideas simply, making it so much easier to understand new concepts. Despite being busy involved in lots of projects, he responds quickly to messages. He sets high standards and it is a pleasure to learn from him and have him as a supervisor.

Undergraduate Research Supervisor of the Year:
Associate Professor Sunyoung Ma

Sunyoung Ma is an Associate Professor in Prosthodontics in the Department of Oral Rehabilitation. Her research interests are in implant dentistry, removable prosthodontics, gerodontology and CAD/CAM dentistry, with a particular interest in conducting clinical trials using different treatment modalities involving dental implants for patients, particularly of older age, that need to replace their missing teeth. Associate Professor Ma is the Faculty of Dentistry's Associate Dean for Postgraduate Studies, however it is for her work in the supervision of undergraduate research, in particular fifth-year Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) electives and Honours projects, that she is being recognised with this award for a second consecutive year.

Here are a selection of comments from undergraduate student nominations:

Sunyoung is a very approachable supervisor and she always goes out of her way to help her research students. She is very accomodating and always checks on the students to make sure we were on the right track and overall she is an amazing supervisor!

AP Sunyoung Ma has been the most supportive, engaged, and encouraging research supervisor. She was always approachable to ask questions or to give help. She has really given me a good first time experience into research and I am very thankful for her! I believe she deserves to be recognised for her amazing work, and I know my fellow colleagues will agree with me.

Very helpful, passionate and extremely supportive and approachable!! I've also gained lots of extra insights about implant dentistry while working on this research.

Her dedication and support towards me finishing my dissertation was unparalleled. She never once wavered and was there at all points along the journey until completion.

When I'd become faced with a roadblock or problem she'd take initiative to solve or guide me to help resolve and get on with my work effectively and efficiently. I got a chance to be her student because of my field of interest and chance and am blessed and couldn't have asked for a more involved, fun, invested supervisor. If I was to come back for a DClinDent, it would be as Sunyoung's student.

These awards indicate the appreciation, respect and regard in which Professor Thomson and Associate Professor Ma are held by the students they supervise. Our sincerest congratulations to both.

Introduced in 2016, the SJWRI Research Supervisor of the Year award celebrates outstanding research supervisors of postgraduate and undergraduate students within the Faculty of Dentistry.

Nominations are made via a survey process, whereby students are asked to anonymously nominate outstanding supervisors, with reasons for their nominations.

Attributes such as being supportive, available, interested and enthusiastic, knowledgeable and an expert in their field, a good communicator, and taking prompt, decisive action to resolve issues were listed as being important for excellent supervision.

Murray Thomson imageProfessor Murray Thomson.

Sunyoung Ma - image 2021Associate Professor Sunyoung Ma.

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