Red X iconGreen tick iconYellow tick icon
Clocktower. Wednesday 26 August 2009 2:56pm

Research and Enterprise Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne today announced this year's recipients of the University of Otago's Early Career Awards for Distinction in Research.

The four recipients, who were selected on the basis of outstanding research achievement, are: Dr Rebecca Campbell (Physiology); Dr Lisa Stamp (Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch); Dr Angela Wanhalla (History) and Dr Sarah Young (Microbiology and Immunology).

Professor Hayne says she warmly congratulates the recipients, who are leading lights among the University's substantial ranks of highly talented emerging researchers.

"I am pleased that the University is able to formally recognise the significant contributions these four have already made to their various disciplines," she says.

The recipients' respective research areas involve understanding how the brain controls fertility, efforts to improve the treatment of crippling or deadly diseases, and gaining new insights into the history of the cultural interactions that continue to shape New Zealand society.

The awards were introduced in 2004 to recognise and nurture the University's most promising early career researchers. Each recipient will receive $5000 to support their research and scholarly development.

2009 Early Career Awards for Distinction in Research Recipients

Dr Rebecca Campbell

Dr Rebecca Campbell. Dr Rebecca Campbell has been an active research member of the Department of Physiology since completing a PhD in 2002 at Oregon Health Sciences University. Dr Campbell was appointed as a Lecturer in April of this year. Her research into the neural regulation of the brain cells that are critical for driving fertility has fundamentally changed the way the neuroendocrine field views the central regulation of reproductive function. Through novel transgenic approaches and state-of-the-art imaging techniques, Dr Campbell's work has revealed how these cells may be uniquely regulated and communicating with one another to perform their vital role in fertility.

Her research has resulted in a number of primary articles in high calibre journals including Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Neuron, an Outstanding Paper award from Endocrinology, and invited review articles. Her work has attracted both national and international speaking invitations.

Dr. Campbell has strong research collaborations within the interdepartmental Centre for Neuroendocrinology, as well as abroad. She has successfully obtained external funding in New Zealand as the principal investigator of a FRST Postdoctoral Fellowship and a subsequent Bridge to Employment grant, and is an associate investigator of both a Health Research Council (HRC) Programme grant and a standalone HRC Project.

Dr Lisa Stamp

Dr Lisa Stamp. Dr Stamp is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Otago, Christchurch and Consultant Rheumatologist at Christchurch Hospital. After completing undergraduate Medical studies at the University of Otago, Dr Stamp undertook advanced training in Rheumatology in Christchurch, Auckland and Adelaide. Dr Stamp subsequently completed her PhD at the University of Adelaide in Australia.

Dr Stamp returned to Christchurch in mid 2004 and established an active research programme. Her research interests include individualisation of drug treatments in rheumatic conditions (mainly gout and rheumatoid arthritis) and the role of interleukin-17 and other pro-inflammatory mediators in rheumatoid arthritis. Dr Stamp works closely with The Leukocyte Inflammation Research Laboratory in Dunedin and Clinical Pharmacology in Christchurch. In addition, she has collaborations via the New Zealand Rheumatology Research Network. She is a member of the international group OMERACT (Outcome Measures in Rheumatology), working on gout.

Dr Stamp has attracted a number of external research grants and has a successful publication record with 40 peer-reviewed publications and two book chapters. She continues to practice as a rheumatologist as well as teaching undergraduate medical students.

Dr Angela Wanhalla

Dr Angela Wanhalla. Dr Angela Wanhalla was appointed Lecturer in History at the University of Otago in 2005. After completing her PhD in History at the University of Canterbury in 2004, she held a Canada Research Chair Post-doctoral Fellow in Native-Newcomer Relations at the University of Saskatchewan, where she developed an interest in comparative approaches to Aboriginal and colonial history.

Her research interest is in the histories of cultural encounter in 19th-century New Zealand, specifically the history of interracial intimacy and hybridity, which is the subject of a Fast-Start Marsden Grant awarded by the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2007.

This project is the first comprehensive investigation into the history of interracial relationships in 19th and 20th century New Zealand. It investigates the variety of relationships that developed across racial lines, encompassing violence, prostitution, as well as tender and affective ties, and explores the implications of these relationships for the formation of families, communities and identities. The results will be detailed in a monograph, Interracial Intimacies: New Zealand Histories.

Dr Wanhalla has published widely in international journals on comparative Aboriginal history, and contributed chapters to a number of edited collections. In 2008, Dr Wanhalla was awarded the Rowheath Trust and Carl Smith Medal.

Dr Sarah Young

Dr Sarah Young. @otagocommunications/documents/webcontent/ Dr Sarah Young is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Dr Young's research focuses on the use of virus-like particles as vaccines and therapies against cancer. She gained her PhD at Otago in 2000 and subsequently worked for the Imperial Cancer Research Fund and Cancer Research UK, before returning to New Zealand.

Since her return, Dr Young has published 15 articles in international journals, along with numerous conference proceedings. She has been successful in gaining over $5 million in research grants, with more than $2m gained as a principal investigator. Dr Young maintains several collaborations nationally as well as ongoing international collaborations with researchers at Cancer Research UK, Oxford University, QUT, and the Mayo Clinic in the USA.

Dr Young is also a member of the Lotteries Health Assessing Committee and the FRST Postdoctoral Fellowship Assessing Committee. In 2008, Dr Young was awarded the prestigious Sir Charles Hercus Fellowship by the Health Research Council.

For more information, please contact

Simon Ancell
Communications Adviser
University of Otago
Tel 03 479 5016

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

Electronic addresses (including email accounts, instant messaging services, or telephone accounts) published on this page are for the sole purpose of contact with the individuals concerned, in their capacity as officers, employees or students of the University of Otago, or their respective organisation. Publication of any such electronic address is not to be taken as consent to receive unsolicited commercial electronic messages by the address holder.
Back to top