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Joint winners for the Rowheath Trust Award and Carl Smith Medal 

Friday 4 September 2020 9:04am

Anne-Marie Jackson and Louise Bicknell image
Associate Professor Anne-Marie Jackson, School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences, and Dr Louise Bicknell, Department of Pathology.

Two outstanding New Zealand researchers have been named joint winners of the 2020 University of Otago Rowheath Trust Award and Carl Smith Medal.

They are Dunedin geneticist and Rutherford Discovery Fellow Dr Louise Bicknell, and Māori Physical Education and Health kairangahau (researcher) Associate Professor Anne-Marie Jackson.

The award is one of the University’s highest research honours and is given to recognise outstanding research performance of early career staff.

Dr Bicknell’s research focuses on understanding how changes in a person’s DNA can impact development and lifetime health. Her particular focus is on single gene disorders of body and brain growth.

“They are both award winning academics with significant bodies of work behind them, and exciting futures ahead. Their families, their teams and those who have contributed to this success can be very proud of them, they are both outstanding winners of this prestigious award.”

Associate Professor Jackson studies how connections of wai (water), moana (ocean), and mātauranga (Māori knowledge) are beneficial for mauri ora (flourishing health), and she strives to create opportunities for Māori research excellence that, most significantly of all, serves Māori communities. 

In researching about the late Sir Carl Smith and his family’s establishment of the Rowheath Trust, Associate Professor Jackson learnt that he spent a significant amount of time in the south, was involved in various community activities and had strong connections to the University of Otago.

“Winning this award is more significant because of the importance in my own career on service and community through research excellence, which I hope encapsulates some of the spirit of the intent of the award.”

Dr Bicknell says she uttered “a wee gasp” when she learned of her win.

“It’s certainly humbling. Then I also thought about my team in the lab, who do so much work. Research is very much a team effort and they should be equally chuffed their efforts are regarded so highly.”

University of Otago Deputy-Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise Professor Richard Blaikie described Associate Professor Jackson and Dr Bicknell as “exceptional examples of the wealth of talent and leadership Otago has with its early career researchers”.

“They are both award winning academics with significant bodies of work behind them, and exciting futures ahead.

“Their families, their teams and those who have contributed to this success can be very proud of them, they are both outstanding winners of this prestigious award.”

To celebrate their awards Associate Professor Jackson and Dr Bicknell will both present a Carl Smith Medal Lecture. Times, dates and venues are still to be confirmed.

To read individual profiles on the winners click below: