Professor David Fergusson has tackled his fair share of sacred cows" during nearly 35 years leading the Christchurch Health and Development Study (CHDS).
The University of Otago is committed to recognising and nurturing the work of early-career researchers. In 2014, five Early Career Awards for Distinction in Research were presented, as well as the annual Carl Smith Medal and Rowheath Trust Award.
Hairdressing delivered a lot to women over the 20th century – more than simply the hairstyles and the opportunity to look good. It also provided them with new employment and business opportunities.
X-ray technology dates back more than 100 years and has generally been used to give the big picture, looking at bones and organs.
Aarthi Rajesh’s Journey to a Genetics Honours Degree created, and prepared her for, great opportunities
Genetics PhD student Gert-Jan Jeunen has gone from rearing alpacas in Belgium to developing a science-fiction-like way to help conserve New Zealand’s oceans.
Award-winning anatomy teacher, Dr Rebecca Bird would like more people to choose science as a career path.
Kathy Sircombe explains how a genetics MSc at Otago is setting her up for a great career.
Dr Michael Stevens (History) describes his research on the history of the Southland town of Bluff as both smaller and bigger than national-level history.
Otago researchers are investigating the implications of the artificial intelligence revolution on law, life and work.
“I really wanted to combine my passion for hauora Māori and public health with sound academic qualifications that can make that passion a career."
A day spent surveying Otago Harbour from a boat was enough to convince Aaron that this was the career for him.
It has been an exciting journey and I am glad to have a great team to work with every day.''
One day soon Aaron Turner plans to be hanging out of a helicopter as a member of a rescue team saving lives.
“I knew immediately that Management was for me, and the more I learned about it the more I liked it."
I used the Foreshore and Seabed Debate as a case study to unearth the equality and rights arguments that New Zealanders employ…
Abel Ang had heard New Zealanders were friendly but was unprepared for just how willing to help other researchers at the University of Otago, Christchurch, turned out to be.
The University of Otago's Injury Prevention Research Unit (IPRU) has recently completed the most comprehensive study of occupational health in agriculture in New Zealand – with worrying results.
Across the divide
“I’m hoping to take what I have learned so far and be able to apply it on the front line in the future.”
Adam Norrie might be a specialist in the finer points of quantum mechanics, but on any given day he could be writing reports on subjects ranging from Antarctica to aerospace.
Physiology satisfies Aditya Sharma's thirst for knowledge about how the human body works.
"While it definitely helps to be a performer, you don't necessarily have to be able to perform to be a good producer... I am living proof of that!"
The multidisciplinary CHALICE study is investigating how New Zealand's increasing elderly population can age healthily.
"My university gave me four country options for study; Hawaii, Canada, Australia and New Zealand."
“The programme was a perfect combination of theory and practical – it allowed me to put my new knowledge and understanding into practice."
If Alapasita Teu has her way, there will be a lot of New Zealanders much like her in the future – Pacific Islanders who are fit, healthy and engaged in regular physical activity.
Alaric McCarthy's postgraduate research is set to be something of a hot and cold experience - it will take him from Dunedin to the Cook Islands and Antarctica.
Albany Lucas studying towards a DipGrad in Psychology
"I have been exposed to new ideas and new knowledge that have challenged life-long, and now outdated, prejudices."
Alcohol at social work events may be legal, but there is increasing recognition of the dangers of alcohol consumption at work or at work-related social functions.
“Economics has definitely been a subject that has allowed me to develop skills such as mathematics and econometrics, and then apply those skills to particular areas of interest."
Studying Physics at Otago and taking part in the lively Dunedin music scene lead Alex to a job at Marshal Day acoustics, who do anything to do with acoustics!
Alex’s advice for new students is “Make use of all the opportunities on offer. Make sure you attend all your lectures and prepare for tests and exams but also ensure that you schedule breaks and spend time with friends”.
One of the things Ali Mohammadi enjoys most about his PhD study are weekly meetings with his whole research group.
Ali is originally from Iran and moved to New Zealand to do a PhD in Food Science at Otago at the beginning of 2012.
Alice is a Food Science Graduate, currently employed as a Sensory Analyst at the Australian Wine Research Institute.
Alice works at Lion's new cheese manufacturing plant in Tasmania, having completed a Bachelor of Science (with Honours) here at Otago.
If you are ever unfortunate enough to be in hospital during a bacterial outbreak, rest assured that Alice Richardson will be working against the clock to help solve the problem.
"Gaining the Certificate in Catechetical Studies was a huge benefit for me when looking for jobs; it gave me an instant edge over other applicants."
Allan Wilson at Otago: the science of evolution
Allanah Kidd chose to study at Otago because of the quality teaching and research as well as the life skills and independence students gain living here. She had planned a double degree in Commerce and Science, but found the Applied Science degree in Environmental Management delivered exactly what she wanted.
“At school I loved business and art. Marketing gave me the best balance between the two."
The ability to make connections and collaborate, and understanding the value of an interdisciplinary approach were skills Amanda Ellis learned at the University of Otago and has put to good use in an international diplomatic and development career.
“The projects I’ve worked on during my internships have enabled me to collaborate with some extraordinarily intelligent, inspiring individuals"
“It puts a different lens on everything. It’s more a way of thinking than just memorising information. That’s what I love.”
Amelia’s PhD was an investigation of the relationship between snoring, learning and behavioural development, in pre-school children.
Ameline Yow studied Economics at Otago. This might not look like a science degree, but Economics is now available as a Science major at Otago. This is her story...
“My thesis topic, is a pilot study that looks to develop the foundation for a Bicultural Audience Reception theory in a New Zealand context". Audience Reception theory, Amie explains, suggests that the way a reader/viewer interprets a piece of creative work is influenced by the structure of their cultural background and subsequent life experiences.
I chose the Faculty of Law at the University of Otago for my PhD, as it is one of the few places I know of with an ideal research center...
"I enjoyed the mix of papers and while not all the compulsory papers would have been my preferred options, I found them really beneficial".
Apparent widespread abuse of trusts of all kinds – be they family, trading or charitable trusts – has prompted the Faculty of Law's Professor Nicola Peart and Jessica Palmer to undertake in-depth research into their legal basis.
2013 Distinguished Research Medal recipient Professor Robert Poulin is investigating the potential effects
of climate change on parasites and the far-reaching implications these might have.
Anatomy of research
“It’s very rewarding to experience that light-bulb moment when a student gets what you’re teaching them.”
A career in sports medicine beckoned Andrew Hagan down to Dunedin but little did he know his future would really kick off in finance.
It was a science fiction novel Andrew Haines read at high school that first sparked his interest in nanotechnology.
"The training is very hands-on from the get go, which is hugely beneficial for us graduate dentists."
Andrew Wang's dream is taking him to Templeton Green College in Oxford where he promises to “work to the best of his ability to uphold the reputation of BBiomedSc Honours at Oxford!”
"It's about reviving and reconstructing communities and looking at personal experiences"
As a marketing executive for New Zealand Thoroughbred Marketing, Angelique Bridson's role is to promote the New Zealand thoroughbred and its supporting industry...
Fulfilling the dream of becoming a dietitian had its challenges.
The winner of the 2005 inaugural L'Oreal Scholarship couldn't be more suited to the award.
From the decline of grand skinks in Otago, Zoology Master's graduate Anita Middlemiss has shifted her sights to lizards in the Whanganui National Park.
For musician Anji Sami, the great appeal of coming to Dunedin was that it was far away and she didn’t know anything about it.
“My Postgraduate Diploma in Health Management has enabled me to progress my career."
“My research on crowdfunding showed that there are a lot of niche markets where this could be useful, and crowdfunding could become a valuable tool for start-ups too"
Sapere Aude - Dare to be Wise. Anna Guthrie has taken the University of Otago motto very seriously during her studies.
"In Dunedin if you do well there are so many opportunities to be in the lime-light."
Anna Skelton completed her Studies in Physical Education and went on to be a video analyst for the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic netball team.
"Studying Chinese has truly provided me with a wealth of opportunities and will ensure my working life will be filled with varied and fascinating challenges."
Anna van Pomeren always wanted to be a scientist, working towards medical breakthroughs.
I chose to pursue postgraduate study to improve my qualifications for future work overseas.
Annika says she regards her supervisors as ‘the dream team’ because of their depth of knowledge and research achievements.
To prescribe or not to prescribe. That is the question faced daily by GPs treating those with depression.
I embarked on PhD studies on infertility in Otago and Southland, jointly supervised by the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine (PSM) and Women’s and Children’s Health (WCH)
Psychologists sit around in offices talking to people all day - right? Wrong - if your name is Ants Williams.
In year two of a marine ecology degree, April (who grew up landlocked in Salt Lake City, Utah) sees Otago as the perfect place to study.
PhD student Jelita Noviarini is studying financial adequacy in retirement, looking at financial adequacy, financial literacy and behavioral aspects of post-retirement wealth management of New Zealanders.
Professors Jeff and Lisa Smith (College of Education) discovered that reactions to art and to images of space are similar.
"There are things I learned during my time at Otago that I now rely on all the time, such as the ability to analyse audience insights, write strategic communications plans and present to rooms full of people."
The burgeoning global influence of Asia has prompted major research initiatives at the University of Otago, including the Asian Migrations Research Theme. It brings together researchers from throughout the University who are interested in the movement of people and ideas within Asia and into the Pacific, including New Zealand.
Bi-lingual, bi-cultural education is a key to improving educational outcomes for Māori secondary school students, according to a specialist in Māori education.
Associate Professor in Māori Teacher Education, Paul Whitinui (College of Education),
ASPIRE2025 – an interdisciplinary group of tobacco control researchers – conducts research that informs and supports the government’s goal of creating a tobacco-free New Zealand by 2025.
Nothing silences a group faster than “well, my master’s research investigated painful sex after childbirth, and my PhD looked at pelvic floor muscle training for urinary incontinence”, which is her stock answer to the question “what is your research about?”
Soldier, surgeon, academic - Associate Professor Lieutenant Colonel Dr Darryl Tong is combining all three roles for his PhD on face-and-jaw surgery in the context of warfare.
The University of Otago is committed to recognising and supporting the work of early-career staff. In 2015, five Early Career Awards for Distinction in Research were presented, as well as the annual Carl Smith Medal and Rowheath Trust Award.
Ayesha is completing a PhD with the University’s Centre for International Health, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine.
Geneticists at Otago's Carney Centre for Pharmacogenomics are looking at how genetic make-up may contribute to adverse reactions to drugs.
Her father’s battle with colorectal cancer inspired Bailey Kennedy to pursue a career in medical research.
Barclay studied Physiology at Otago, completing a BSc in 2009, and then a Postgraduate Diploma in 2010 looking at epithelial physiology.
Professor Astrid an Huef (Department of Mathematics and Statistics) says she pursues mathematics for its beauty.
“I believe that medical research could save lives. I want to work on a project that could make a difference for patients and contribute positively to society’’
“Communication is paramount to everything we do. It’s important – not to mention fascinating – to learn about the history and development of communication and the power of the media."
After Ben Lawrie left school he spent three years learning about the world.
Berenice wanted to come to a country where English was the main language spoken.
“I’m interested in what happens when people are put in different positions”
Bevan is a geography graduate talking about his work for the international property advisory company DTZ New Zealand Limited. He shares his passion for Geography and his work as a consultant.
Big data for big problems
When a visionary, dedicated person creates innovative recreation concepts and dazzles architects with his ingenious, practical designs, it is fitting that Bill Turnbull has the 02 Gym at the new state of the art Unipol facility named after him.
“Doing three different subjects means you can't fall into the intellectual biases of any one discipline - you're forced to be a critical thinker when the different subjects sometimes tell you different things, or at least, emphasize different aspects of the same problem."
Advances in medical science are raising legal questions around body material and ownership.
I wanted to know how and why everything in the world worked and Physics was the best way to answer those questions.
I stumbled-upon the Clothing and Textile Sciences programme at a study/careers expo when I was in seventh form at school. I was involved in a lot of sport and through that involvement, developed an interest in the technical aspects of clothing and textile items such as outerwear for skiing and snowboarding or gear for tramping.
Brain Research New Zealand – Rangahau Roro Aotearoa is bringing together expertise to gain a better understanding of the ageing brain and to develop new therapies to enhance lifelong brain health.
University of Otago researchers are at the forefront of identifying biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease – and new treatment options – that could lead to early diagnosis and better outcomes for the world's ageing population.
BSc (2011), BPharm (2013)
Brent King graduated at the end of 2004 with a Bachelor of Applied Science(Honours) in Environmental Management. Now he’s working as an Environmental Monitoring Officer for the Greater Wellington Regional Council.
"I had an excellent experience and have graduated with two fantastic degrees which really fit well together."
Bridget Gentle has dressed wounds using only the light of the cell phone.
“Dunedin really is a student city, it’s a great place to live when you’re a student.”
Bridget had graduated with an MSc in Psychology 20 years earlier and decided to up-skill for her Ministry job by completing the PGCertPH and chose the endorsement in Health Services Policy.
After graduating with a degree in Surveying, Bridget Wright now works as a Registered Land Surveyor in NSW and ACT in Australia.
Finding out Professor Hilary Radner was based at Otago was the clincher that brought Bronwyn Polaschek back to New Zealand and into a PhD programme.
Using videoconferencing and ICT (information and communications technology) to create a virtual classroom is one thing, but Professor Kwok-Wing Lai, director of the Centre for Distance Education and Learning Technologies (College of Education), is using digital technologies to help children work collaboratively as "knowledge builders", even though they live in different parts of the country.
How do we integrate business skills to create workable systems that improve health care performance?
Building partnerships… not silos
Dr Mikkel Andersen is a builder, but you need some extremely high-powered equipment to see what he's building. Andersen and his team at the Department of Physics are using the world's smallest building blocks to begin constructing the future of technology.
Buildings and beliefs
University of Otago, Christchurch researchers, including clinical psychologist Dr Virginia McIntosh, investigated whether giving exposure therapy – where patients and therapists re-enact scenarios that typically precede binging and purging – helped them abstain from these behaviours.
“My Education Studies degree gave me a holistic view of what education is and a global view of what it could be."
As a future doctor in New Zealand or overseas, Cameron hopes that the understanding of Chinese culture he is developing will improve the standard of care that he can provide to these communities.
“Credit rating agencies – those financial institutions that rate financial security for countries, governments, companies and individuals – have huge power, and that’s what I’m really interested in."
Associate Professor Vernon Ward and his colleagues are using the empty shell of the rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus to tailor an immune response against cancer.
New blood tests using the latest genomic technologies may provide a better way to assess treatments for advanced rectal cancer.
Cancer is the most significant cause of death in New Zealand, likely to affect one in three people at some stage in their lifetime, and accounts for around 30 per cent of all deaths. While there has been a steady improvement in survival rates for many cancers over the last two decades – largely because of early detection and treatment – researchers at the University of Otago, Wellington believe significant further progress can be made in reducing cancer mortality.
Although getting an interview can be about who you know, once you are in front of the employer it’s only about what you know.
After seven years working as a dental surgery assistant Candice Gracie itched to take a more active role in patient care, so she trained as a dental hygienist.
Do a company's carbon emissions affect its market value?
I found that being part of a Unit was a big advantage, and the SBRU team involved me in all aspects of Unit life.
Researching the "stories" of infrastructure projects gives insights into the aspirations of emerging countries, and their drive towards a new world order, says Politics PhD student Carolijn van Noort.
I found the idea of doing curiosity-led research absolutely fascinating, and I still do.
Only a few months after completing his Masters in Geography, Casey Beel Casey got a job as Hydrological Technician at the West Coast Regional Council.
Cassino Doyle, Land planning and Development (Whakatohea, Te Rawara). from Rugby league to construction management and now he works for global engineering consultants MHW.
Catarina Sahlberg came to the Physics Department at Otago to do her PhD in Quantum Theoretical Mechanics, looking at Bose Einstein condensiates and currently works as a research officer at the Sweedish Research Council
For honours Zoology student Catherine Roughton conducting field work meant time spent with binoculars stalking lizards in the barren country around Macraes Flat.
After completing her PhD in clinical pharmacology in the Department of Women’s and Children's Health, Catherine Sherwin has had many opportunities to excel in her field and to use her training to make a difference in the area of paediatric pharmacology.
Podiatrist Catherine Willett jumped straight into postgraduate studies in 2005 after her undergraduate degree, tackling a Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Medicine at Otago.
"Seaweed in New Zealand has not been studied much," Catriona Hurd says, "and there are many exciting questions that need answering."
New Zealand has the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world. Fortunately, the University of Otago is at the forefront of cancer research and new findings to bring these figures down.
Second homes are often perceived to have tangible tourism values, particularly in the regions, but they also offer more intangible value for leisure and wellbeing for their owners.
Every second of every day, more than a million cells in our bodies kill themselves as part of a constant replacement policy.
Chan Won Lee is studying for a Master of Business Data Science at the University of Otago.
Chanelle Carrick is a big fan of contemporary New Zealand art and photography. But it's the artists themselves she's keen to work with.
Development policies are being implemented too quickly in Pacific island countries, to the detriment of their people, according to Dr Iati Iati, a lecturer in Otago's Department of Politics.
Uni doesn't always need to be about training for a specific job or future, it can also be about learning to think critically in a range of ways.
"My advice to anyone considering Chinese at Otago: mastering Mandarin opens doors!"
She believes Genetics is “the fastest-moving and most exciting of scientific disciplines that exists today.”
"The teaching practice was so emotionally and mentally rewarding that it always provided me with renewed determination to succeed.”
The variety of enriching experiences I had as an Art History and Theory student at Otago equipped me with the right skills to follow my dream of working within the museum and art gallery sector.
“I am fascinated by the concept that the body can adapt over the course of a lifetime, and how the changes in muscle, tendon and bone are able to reflect different aspects of an individual’s life."
Specialising in designer molecules, 2015 Distinguished Research Medal winner Professor Sally Brooker looks at the small detail of the big picture.
Cherie Sweeney is responsible for compiling NZ's annual greenhouse gas inventory for the environmental protection agency.
For Chin Loh, a career in Pharmacy was more than the chance to dispense medicines and advice - it was also a path into the world of business. Meanwhile Pharmacy PhD student Clare Strachan is researching the precise crystal structures of drugs.
Speaking another language opens up so many great opportunities for learning, communicating and expressing ourselves, and the cultures that go hand in hand with the Spanish spoken in different places are captivating to learn about and experience.
Chloe's involvement with Disability Information & Support came out of the blue.
Associate Professor Chris Brickell’s research may investigate the historical context of Gender Studies, but his teaching is bang up to the minute.
Chris didn’t just learn technical knowledge—he learned how to interrogate financial information and understand the strategic impacts of accounting.
It might seem like an odd combination – a geneticist, a former zoologist turned medical researcher and two flocks of sheep...
One of the great things about Geography, according to second-year honours student Claire Auchinvole, is the scope it offers for a good argument.
The DipGrad is proving to be an ideal way for Claire Gordon to gain the specialised study she needs to achieve her professional goals.
I was an associate within a large Auckland commercial law firm, with three young children, often thinking how much I would like to return…
Planning is really about getting on with people, looking at the bigger picture and how the planning rules fit into this.
Claire Maslin knows about variables and how they direct trends - both as a statistician, and personally.
Now an Auckland-based hotshot, Claire Murray remembers her Otago days fondly.
Marchell is an early childhood teacher, and producer and host of Dunedin children's radio show ‘Space Station Kiwi’ with listeners all over the world.
Claudia Lewis has long held a dream of becoming a doctor – “throughout my childhood I was fascinated by the human body – how things go wrong and how to fix them”.
Always intending to establish his own business venture, as his Master of Entrepreneurship studies suggest, Clay found inspiration in the form of some old rugby headgear lying around at home.
Dr Ivan Diaz-Rainey, senior lecturer in the Department of Accountancy and Finance, is a committed member of both the Otago Climate Change Network (OCCNet)
and the Otago Energy Research Centre (OERC).
"I am interested in the social impact of climate change on the governance and identity with cultural landscapes."
For decades, images from x-rays and scanners have been in black and white, at times limiting clinical diagnosis. But this is now changing with the development, in Christchurch, of the world's first colour CT scanner for medical imaging.
Until about a decade ago, tremor and other motor impairments were considered the biggest burden of Parkinson’s disease.
Satellite images can tell scientists a lot about the formation, cover and break-up of sea ice around Antarctica, but they can't show how thick that ice is or how it forms around ice shelves that clad almost half of the southern continent's coastline.
Science and innovation are key drivers of the knowledge economy, fuelled by growing interaction between academia, government and industry, and the boundaries between the three are blurring, says Dr Conor O’Kane (Management).
Kidney specialist Dr Suetonia Palmer describes her work as “sorting the wheat from the chaff”.
Consumption and lifestyle: changes over time
Corey Bragg is now an assistant research fellow at the Centre for Sustainability (CSAFE). The resources and people at Otagos Zoology department just blew him away.
Imagine a data-mining tool on par with Google or Amazon that allows decision-makers to quickly calculate the health impact, as well as the upfront and downstream costs of a new health intervention or policy change.
“I absolutely loved learning how biochemistry could work with other disciplines, and how it is right on the forefront of scientific innovation..."
Rapid advancements in genetics and neuroscience are providing new insights into the minds of criminals. The question now is, how should that information be used?
I wanted to involve myself in the health professional sector and I am interested in contributing more to the community. That is how I finally ended up choosing pharmacy. It involves a lot of communication with the patients.
I really love the idea of having a career that can provide so many options after finishing my degree—these options include working in community or hospital pharmacies, conducting my own research, working in the pharmaceutical industry and running my very own pharmacy.
For about 10 years Professor Brendan Gray has been studying what makes successful organisational or corporate cultures.
Servicemen who suffered horrific facial injuries during the two world wars were given new hope as a result of the revolutionary plastic surgery techniques and treatments pioneered by two extraordinary University of Otago men.
We might be surrounded by plentiful alternative sources of fuel and not even know it.
“During my time at Otago, I’ve been able to travel to 17 countries and learn a lot about various tourism industries and economies.”
"Often students who’ve had to struggle become the best researchers."
You will have heard the advice that the key to success is finding something you love.
“A lot of students think economics is just crunching numbers and solving equations to find prices and quantities. But it’s really all about human behaviour and decisions."
Without an Honours degree, and the experiences I gained from studying at Otago, I would not have landed a job within the media industry as quickly as I did, and I am thankful to the Department for all of its support.
"Technology has always fascinated me, especially the sort that's capable of sending information around the world at the speed of light."
For Danielle Shanahan the Wildlife Management course was the perfect stepping stone as she pursued her passion for conservation.
I've always operated on the idea that if I'm not having fun teaching, students aren't having much fun learning.
Because the last two years of Otago’s Radiation Therapy degree is evenly split between theory and practical, Dean felt fully prepared once he graduated ...
As an Analyst for Deloitte in Auckland Debbie Corson prepares annual financial accounts for a range of small and medium sized businesses and trusts, including management accounts for a large charitable Auckland organisation.
For Debbie Sawers a long and proud family history of studying at Otago meant leaving the Hawke’s Bay to study in Dunedin was as straight forward as picking which subject to major in.
Deborah is currently employed by BP Australia Pty Ltd as an Environmental Project Manager, where her role requires her to manage BP’s environmental liabilities and liability prevention.
Otago scientists are drilling deep, gaining a better understanding of the processes at work within the South Island’s Alpine Fault and the impacts an earthquake is likely to have.
I hope to work with elite athletes and find ways of helping them become faster and stronger.
The core question of Del’s thesis is what enhances the ability of an armed force to adapt during conflict and what slows, disrupts or hinders that ability.
Bridget Robson (Ngāti Raukawa) says one of her key goals and that of the centre, is to demystify statistics, showing them for what they are – “a powerful tool for all Māori”.
Lieutenant Denise Potgieter has always loved travelling and adventure. In fact, it was her sense of adventure that brought her to Otago in the first place.
The New Zealand dental sector is likely to be challenged and disrupted by the growing phenomenon of dental tourism, the most popular form of medical tourism.
I searched for a distance learning course that would provide me with the knowledge I was seeking, the University of Otago’s Postgraduate Diploma in Musculoskeletal Management did just that.
I’m excited about where all this will lead me, and I encourage everyone to dip their toes in postgraduate studies if they can.
It's a long way from her initial career in the Royal New Zealand Airforce where she worked in Logistics and Supply Chain Management.
“As far as getting a future-proof field to work in, you couldn’t do much better than biochemistry.”
Failing to replicate a research finding is not all bad and could, in fact, shed new light on the subject being investigated.
Tautala Asaua is aiming to rewrite the early prehistory of Samoa.
With science-based issues the most pressing of our time, is science diplomacy heralding a new day or is it merely a false dawn?
Dr Emma Wyeth (Ngāi Tahu) was awarded a three year Health Research Council of New Zealand Emerging Researcher First Grant for a project focused on outcomes among injured Māori.
"I wanted to be able to know more about teen mothers’ views so I could better understand their challenges and priorities and become a more effective advocate.”
A budding interest in biology and chemistry at Taumarunui High School was the first step for Dora Leahy towards a career as a medical scientist.
When he came to Otago Doug found the acoustics papers in Physics fitted his combined interests perfectly and qualified with a BSc in Physics and an MSc in Electronics.
The decision to take on the Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine has sharpened my clinical skills and introduced more variety and enjoyment in my role as a GP.
German-born Axel Zeitler loves New Zealand. But it did seem very far away. But when Otago’s Department of Pharmacy proposed a joint project with Cambridge University, looking at using laser technology to investigate the structure of pharmaceuticals, it felt the like the perfect solution for Axel.
PhD (2007), PGCert (2003), Staatsexamen (Würzburg) (2002)
Bastiaan Star remembers the first papers he read when he embarked on his PhD in population genetic theory. “They were completely incomprehensible. I could not understand them at all.”
Charlotte King’s world is full of mystery and intrigue, and she would have it no other way: it’s exactly the world she dreamed of as a child.
Trying to understand how the sun’s activity impacts upon our world here on Earth occupies the days and nights of Physics lecturer Craig Rodger.
The path to becoming a senior lecturer is not always through academia. Damien has a background broader than most.
Dr Daniela Rosentreich recommends all PhD students ask themselves one fundamental question: “Are you there for the ride, or are you there for the qualification?”
Elisabeth Liebert’s Master’s degree led her deep into the world of John Milton, which in turn led her to Otago’s John Hale, an international authority on the renaissance poet. So when she embarked on her PhD, it was her choice of supervisor that brought her – intellectually, at least – to Otago.
There are many ways to solve a complex mathematical problem. You can do it the old-fashioned way, using pen and paper.
MPharm (1983), PhD (1989)
Helen Tregidga says she loved doing her PhD at the time. And looking back, she loved it even more.
The Diploma has provided a solid foundation, and I highly recommend it to all Health Professionals that deal with musculoskeletal problems.
"I simply like problem solving and understanding living organisms."
A background in social psychology gives Kirsten Robertson an edge when it comes to researching and teaching marketing…
“There’s little research on the implications of very young children being targeted as consumers."
PhD (USYD 2015), BPharm (Otago 2007)
When Matthew Schofield was entertaining the idea of a PhD, a work colleague gave advice that would echo for years to come: “Choose your supervisor well. It will make or break the PhD.”
I accepted the invitation to the honours programme believing that Politics offered me the best chances to extend my intellectual horizons while also keeping a toe in the door of employability.
PhD study was, says Mele, a juggle. And a somewhat self-indulgent one at that.
PhD (2008), PGDip Pharm (2004), BPharm (2002)
Undertaking a PhD in an area with few job prospects was both a help and a hindrance for Paul Roche.
"What excites me about my work is ... making new discoveries that you are the first person to know about, ever."
Leaving her whanau was the most important, and most painful, aspect of coming to Otago for her postgraduate years, says Dr Rawinia Higgins.
Dr Raymond Staals currently works as a postdoctoral fellow in the Fineran lab, Department of Microbiology and Immunology.
If Robert Peden had his way, he would start on another PhD tomorrow. “I loved every minute of it,” he says. “It was an absolute privilege. It was one of the most challenging, rewarding, satisfying and interesting things I have ever done.”
“Your understanding of your topic increases exponentially when you write”
Dr Rosemary Overell’s research ranges from extreme death metal music in Japan to how ‘hoarders’ are represented on television.
“It’s perfect to be part of a prestigious University and still be able to climb a 2000 metre peak at the weekend – there are not many places where you can do that.”
How much is marketing about what is being bought and sold, and how much is it about the people involved in the transactions?
"Imaging is amazing, it has completely revolutionised medicine."
Postdoctoral research fellow Dr Debbie Hopkins is contributing to the BEATS Study, leading research into driver licensing and the use of information communication technologies by young people.
Christchurch biostatisticians Associate Professor Elisabeth Wells and Magnus McGee, with Dunedin colleagues Dr Joanne Baxter and Jesse Kokaua, have been quietly "peeling the onion" on New Zealand's non-medical drug use.
"It’s my opinion that the Otago University Theatre Studies programme provides the best practical ‘on-your-feet’ introductory training for theatre in New Zealand.”
Dunedin’s changing connections with the rest of the world are the focus of the “Global Dunedin” project.
Beyond the immediate doom-and-gloom headlines about business closures and redundancies, what might work be like for people in Dunedin up to 50 years into the future?
A key aim for University of Otago, Wellington’s Burden of Disease Epidemiology, Equity and Cost-Effectiveness (BODE3) Programme is to build capacity and academic rigour in New Zealand in the estimation of disease burden, cost-effectiveness and equity impacts of health sector interventions.
Early Career Awards for Distinction in Research 2010: Jessica Palmer, Dr Simone Celine Marshall and Associate Professor Richard Gearry
By building artificial societies Dr Dan Farhat can explore labour market outcomes – and communities plagued by “vampires”.
Eddy Kuipers has turned his passion for health and fitness into a career.
Because a degree in Religious Studies covers so many different religious and cultural practices and beliefs, I am able to really connect with my clients as I actually know and understand where they come from and why they believe what they believe and do what they do.
“Studying Politics gave me one of the most powerful insights – it enabled me to understand the mechanics of power."
"I've always been a bit of a film geek so was excited to be able to watch a variety of different types of films and learn more about how films are put together."
“It was a real step up from high school, especially all the facilities for practical work.”
After finishing her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at the end of last year, Eman started working as a Youth Case Worker for the Dunedin Red Cross, focused on how best to settle former refugee youth into New Zealand and into Dunedin.
Emily Cooper is taking the world outdoor clothing market in her stride.
Emily Mason wasn’t sure what she wanted to do when she started at Otago.
Immediately after graduating with a double degree, including a BSc in Physiology, Emily won a job at Starship Hospital in the Respiratory and Sleep Physiology laboratory.
Emma Master’s by thesis answered the questions “what makes and keeps Osteopath clinicians competent”.
Emma's PhD project centred on investigating the different factors affecting glucose concentrations in premature babies with a focus on high blood glucose.
Emma is employed as a postdoctoral fellow pursuing a project which has grown out of her PhD: trying to untangle the signalling pathways which maintain skeletal homeostasis.
Merata’s research activities have over-arching themes of supporting Māori leadership, community and education.
Conventional wisdom in medicine has been that heart valve infection, or endocarditis, is most likely to have been caused by valve damage following rheumatic fever during childhood or adolescence.
Common children’s games have been shown to help hyperactive children learn better self-control and may provide a longer-lasting treatment for ADHD.
Society may have to rethink ways of encouraging children into enjoying the outdoors.
A study by Dr Craig Lee has pinpointed success factors that have shaped some of the top-performing, independent restaurants in Australia.
New Zealand children live in an environment where unhealthy food is more heavily promoted, more accessible and, for the most part, cheaper than healthy food.
Professor Michael Baker believes we need to learn from the past to help meet the challenges presented by new pandemic diseases.
“The great thing about the Treasury is that it’s a relatively flat structure. You get opportunities that are quite rare in graduate jobs.”
“I am now a qualified teacher but I’m still learning - the children teach me something new every day."
At the age of 17 Estelle Sun’s parents proposed the idea of sending her overseas for her higher education. Estelle eagerly packed her bags and left China destined for New Zealand.
Department of Marketing consumer behaviourist Dr Shelagh Ferguson is exploring people's emotional attachments to clothes.
A better understanding of how fabrics perform – and why – is the aim of new research being conducted at Otago’s Department of Applied Sciences (Clothing and Textile Sciences) with the help of funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Wool Industry Research Ltd and industry partners.
The study of law as well as its practice fosters a particular type of individual and personality – one Fanaafi Aiono-Le Tagaloa…
The perfect combination of math, chemistry, and business, and to help the community too!
He Kitenga Features
New research on how the brain influences fertility could eventually result in improved ways of controlling conception and contraception.
Filipo Levi says "it was very hard at the beginning", fitting in university studies with his rugby playing. Nonetheless, plenty of hard work, determination and support ensured success.
When teaching topics such as human resource management, how better to practise what you preach than with the students themselves?
"I wanted to be able to use my maths skills in practical applications for the real world.”
Fiona completed a Bachelor in Physical Education, and a BSc in Human Nutrition, then went on to do a Postgraduate Diploma in Dietetics.
Taking a Bachelor of Commerce in international business and economics, with a minor in Spanish, has taken Fiona Woodfield around the world.
In 1893 New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world to grant women the right to vote in parliamentary elections. By this time, however, a young teacher, Caroline Freeman, had already broken new ground for women at the University of Otago.
A team of scientists from the University of Otago is making big waves on the East Otago coast, their research a key factor in forcing a change in fisheries legislation after just two years of work.
Dr Richard Macknight (Biochemistry) is undertaking research that aims to discover how legumes, such as peas, use seasonal changes in day length and temperature to precisely control their flowering time, and to understand how this process has evolved to allow natural populations to grow in new geographical regions.
A surprise find of human remains with distinctly Polynesian characteristics in a South American museum has provided a new focus of research into human migration in the Pacific and how the Pacific was settled.
With programmes currently underway in Kenya, Indonesia and India, Otago nutritionists are working with local collaborators to develop food-based strategies to improve the health and development of young children.
Department of Marketing researchers have been looking at whether food miles influence UK consumers' food-purchasing decisions.
Many New Zealand households are routinely discarding perfectly good food, according to Dr Miranda Mirosa (Food Science).
For better or worse?
Member of iconic Dunedin band The Chills, Dr Oli Wilson is bringing an insider’s perspective.
Frankie completed a BSc in Clothing and Textile Sciences and then an MSc in 2009. The research for her Masters explored how washing a garment might mask forensic evidence of blunt force trauma. She is now working as a Graduate Product evaluator for Fisher and Paykel’s washing machine range.
"I really loved learning about the law and its many possibilities to shape and mould so many real-life scenarios."
Ask Freya Broughton what’s so cool about statistics and it’s hard to get her to stop…. “Statistics is really useful, in every area of endeavour! I love how applicable it is in all sorts of research and in everyday life – even with NCEA results…”
Over the last decade Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman and the team from He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Programme (Public Health, Wellington) have helped revolutionise how policy-makers and the public see the average New Zealand house.
From the Antarctic to the Arctic, Otago researchers are at the forefront of several influential investigations that should help inform future decision-making across the globe.
From the beginning
Two Otago scientists are working on a project that could be a world-changer – a combination of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and cutting back on the use of fossil fuels.
When salmon spawn, the sperm of competing males are in an all-or-nothing race to be the first to reach and fertilise the eggs.
Gabriel (Gabe) Mathieson who completed a DipGrad in Advertising
PhD student, Gabriella Lindberg, is part of a team working on the difficult task of printing large, viable pieces of cartilage to ultimately be used as replacement tissue in human surgery.
Dr Louise Parr-Brownlie’s (Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngāti Pikiao) career as a research academic has been entirely devoted to Parkinson’s disease– a devotion that is now receiving international attention and generous Neurological Foundation funding.
Within a year of graduating from Otago with his LLB, Garrick Cowley found himself on an international stage facing his biggest legal…
When Gaurav Ganve first discovered the concepts of ‘big data’ and ‘analytics’, he reckoned data mining and machine learning could generate some of the most exciting career opportunities of the 21st century.
Ask Gemma Dickson about one of the most interesting biochemistry classes she's taken, and she'll tell you about the time she found a never-before-discovered transposable element in a Candida albicans sample.
“There’s something special about the College of Education; the small cohort means you build really strong relationships with your fellow students and with the lecturers.”
I’m involved in helping to maintain and set up occupational medical support in various industrial sectors.
Could the humble aspirin be effective in the fight against breast cancer?
"I'm now able to work on translations from anywhere in the world as a freelance translator, which is amazing".
Skiing, socialising with work mates, and great research opportunities are all reasons George Wiggins recommends postgraduate study at the University of Otago, Christchurch.
Georgia Staples has been interested in health and medicine for as long as she can remember.
As a Finance Business Partner for BNZ, Gerard Graham supports business units to meet their financial plans and prepare for the future.
Gianna Leoni is researching attitudes towards te reo in Government departments.
Gillian's PhD became such a part of her daily life that when she finally submitted, she remembers feeling “quite bereft. It was like giving a baby away”.
“Archaeology is about unlocking the past – it’s a huge privilege.”
A principal investigator in the National Geographic Genographic Project, Professor Lisa Matisoo-Smith’s work is revealing the global diversity of our New Zealand DNA.
The Centre for International health plays a significant role in projects in Africa, Asia and the Pacific.
2018 Distinguished Research Medal winner Professor Dave Craw is an Otago man and Otago is gold country: unsurprisingly, this has been a focus of his work as a geologist.
Most of us have at least one story of an inspirational schoolteacher who opened our minds to learning – or the other extreme of a terrible" one who made our learning experience an ordeal, one forever associated with memories we'd rather forget.
A Bachelor in Physical Education awarded with Honours, and a Masters in Physical Education, looking particularly at exercise physiology and exercise prescription… these sound like ideal qualifications for a sports coach, and Graham Lowe is coaching the best.
"We’re very lucky to have the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Otago and I feel fortunate to be able to do postgraduate study here."
Professor Gerald Tannock fell in love with microbiology on his very first assignment as a trainee diagnostic laboratory technologist at Dunedin Public Hospital.
I’m finishing off my Masters – making a 24-minute documentary dealing with some massive social and environmental issues, writing a thesis, and engaged in some exciting projects combining two of my passions – design and film [and surfing] – life is sweet!”
"Personally, I love the politics, the intrigue, the murder and mayhem of the Roman imperial period."
For Hamish Milmine, dentistry offers everything he ever wanted in a career.
“I really like the way this course has opened my eyes to what’s involved – it’s much more analytical and science based rather than opinion – you can’t believe those CSI programmes after all…."
Hannah Kennedy likes hands-on learning rather than spending all day with her head in a book.
How much of our mood is hard-wired and how much is because you are simply having a bad day? It's a question researchers like Dr Tamlin Conner (Department of Psychology) are pondering as they look to understand the role genes play in how we feel.
"Studying social anthropology gave me the ability to look at the world in a new way."
Examine the work of Otago National Centre for Lifecourse Research’s Dr Reremoana (Moana) Theodore (Ngāpuhi, Te Arawa) and you’ll see two overarching themes deeply associated with Māori health and education.
Hayden Holmes, former Air Force corporal in logistics, BCom in economics University of Otago, and now forging a new career in the health sector, says he is really enjoying his Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health.
Hayleigh is now working on completing her Bachelor of Medicine (MBChB) and will graduate at the end of 2018.
The Mahu Whenua land covenants provide an unprecedented opportunity for Catchments Otago researchers to explore new models for integrated landscape management.
Over the last decade Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman has repeatedly drawn attention to the detrimental health and social effects of low-quality housing and fragmented policy in housing, cities and energy.
For decades Otago’s people have been instrumental in helping to address the health challenges of their time.
Researchers from the University of Otago, Christchurch have implanted the world’s first heart monitor, which gives daily updates of pressure changes in chronic cardiac patients.
Heart of the family
Heidi could write you a note - but that's about it.
Helen Chapman’s experience provides support for the idea that in order to plan for the future you have to understand the past.
Whilst completing my specialist medical training I gained a research-based Masters of Medical Science on "LNG-IUD (levonorgestrel intrauterine device) use in adolescents in New Zealand".
My first year in the Tū Kahika Programme set me up well for Health Sciences and also was the year we were further exposed to many health professions and people in these areas.
Otago gives you a solid background, so keep your eyes and ears open and opportunities will present themselves.
Hilary Hickling studying towards a DipGrad in Finance
Hillary McCracken completed a BSc (Hon) degree in Food Science in 2006. Following the completion of her degree she was accepted into the Fonterra Graduate Technical programme commonly referred to as the FGTP programme.
A project to return ancestral remains to one of the earliest sites of Māori settlement in New Zealand is providing a rich source of data for researchers in the Departments of Anthropology, and Anatomy and Structural Biology.
I’m David Wilson, and I am the Clerk of the House of Representatives at Parliament.
Hobert Sasa says he has "a strong sense of belonging here". The lecturers, he says, are "awesome" - and the University's Pacific Islands Centre is his "second home".
A joint project with Otago, AUT, Victoria and Waikato is studying whether and how fundamental science relates to Māori concerns, looking at developing processes that help Māori knowledge, expertise and effort be brought into project planning.
The University of Otago Business School is leading New Zealand research into understanding how companies are accounting for their use of natural resources.
What is the effect of Big Data and AI on the New Zealand workplace, and how should we start preparing for a more technological future?
Otago researchers have been investigating how organisational culture is perceived by District Health Boards’ (DHBs) members and their senior executive teams, and its affect on hospital performance and patient care.
One solution is matching what we have to offer with what the visitor understands; by improving the experience of the tourist, they are then encouraged to lengthen their stay.
Otago PhD student Emma Wade’s discovery of a hidden gene responsible for bone disease is helping families around the world.
"We’re teaching the three disciplines and how they interact. What students turn their skills to then is up to them."
Research highlights the need for training and tools to increase cultural awareness and help businesses prepare for North Asian visitors.
“My time studying the Bachelor of Teaching was some of the most valuable years of my life."
... for plenty of New Zealanders, being both Māori and Pakeha is pretty normal. It’s a message of integration, not division.
An innovative use of the detritus of marine life to measure bio-diversity has earned a team of Otago researchers a national Sustainable Seas Science Challenge Grant.
The academic and commercial worlds need each other, but where research is not sufficiently advanced to justify the risk of investment, there is often a gap.
Otago research on indigenous peoples’ legal rights is attracting global attention.
Dr Angela Wanhalla is a highly-credentialled historian and has a swag of awards to prove she is one of New Zealand's brightest young researchers.
Internationalisation is vital for New Zealand business.
The world’s “oldest profession” is undergoing changes due to technology and a University of Otago, Christchurch researcher is at the forefront of investigations into the phenomenon.
In 1996 when Sheila Skeaff began her PhD research on iodine deficiency she didn't imagine she'd still be investigating the same issue 13 years later.
For her Masters degree, Jay studied the religious practices of an early-20th century Buddhist monk from Northern Thailand, Khruba Sriwichai, who played a significant role in resisting the government's reforms for Buddhist practices.
With key export markets becoming increasingly conscious of the provenance of food, researchers have turned to regionally-distinct isotopic geochemical signals in soils and rain to create unique “fingerprints” that provide geographical authentication.
Jack has used his Entrepreneurship learning to develop a model for marae-based teaching.
"Otago had a great mix of practical skills and theory and you knew you were being taught by the best. All the lecturers have been (and some still are) in the industry, continuously developing themselves."
"International Business is perfect for anyone who's passionate about business but isn't sure exactly which direction they want to go in"
“We’re basically like engineers or architects, but rather than designing buildings, we’re designing molecules.”
While studying Health Sciences First Year at the University of Otago’s Dunedin campus, James Sandison attended an introductory seminar about Radiation Therapy after noticing the slogan ‘technology meets caring’.
“I worked on several projects with major New Zealand companies as part of my study, which really exposed me to what the industry was like.”
“Otago prepared us well for the ‘real world’. We got trained in best practice so our standards are exceptionally high."
“The reason I can speak confidently or write an essay overnight is purely because of Theatre Studies at Otago."
Most new students expect challenges in their first year at University, but Jaye Moors had the added pressure of acclimatising to Dunedin’s climate after moving from Samoa.
BPharm (2007), PGCertPharm (2010), Antimicrobial Stewardship Certificate (Infectious Diseases Pharmacists in America 2013/14)
I came to Otago to study because I loved the multi-disciplinarity of the Master of International Studies degree.
"The skills I learned in the first three years – research, writing, critiquing, always working to deadline... "
Jenny now works for Fonterra as Lead Regulatory Strategist for the Global Ingredients and Foodservices business.
After studying medicine, Jenny re-trained in computer science at Otago by doing a Diploma for Graduates. She then became the director of the Educational Media unit at the Higher Education Development Centre at the University of Otago
As an exploration geologist, Jenny has travelled the world while putting her Geology degree to good use.
Coming to Otago for its "world-class reputation" and the "scarfie experience," Jessica chose to study a wide range of science papers in her first year and go from there.
Jessica Craig enjoyed Biology and Chemistry at secondary school, and wanted to study something similar. Coming to Otago for its “world-class reputation” and the “scarfie experience,” she chose to study a wide range of science papers in her first year and go from there.
Jessica North completed her Masters in Environmental Science at Otago and now she travels the world as an environmental consultant.
We’re making significant discoveries about what life was like in 19th century Christchurch as we collect artefacts from all kinds of archaeological sites.
Our bodies are designed to be physically stressed says Dr Jim Cotter, lecturer in exercise and environmental physiology at the School of Physical Education.
The School of Surveying at Otago is New Zealand’s only national school of surveying - students are very lucky to have a knowledgeable and enthusiastic group of lecturers who deliver a well-rounded skillset to the students – “something that I have used every day of my career thus far”.
When she set out to study a Bachelor of Commerce, Jo McGilchrist never thought she'd end up majoring in economics, nor did she think she would do honours. But after studying an array of subjects, she's certain that economics was the right choice.
I loved my time at Otago University. I enjoyed being part of the School of Pharmacy where you went through the same courses with the same students for 3 years and built long lasting professional as well as personal relationships.
Dental Technology offers graduates a host of career choices, says Joanne Choi, who is now lecturing at Otago while she completes her PhD.
My time working on the undergraduate paper was the catalyst for my decision to undertake a Master’s degree and pursue a full year of research.
Earning money may be an important reason for working, but it isn’t the biggest motivator. Accountancy and Finance lecturer Nicola Beatson studies people in accounting.
John found that one of the best aspects of the course was to be taught by staff that not only have the academic credentials but, "the practical, hands-on background in start-up ventures and advising others in such."
“Video games are full of Spartans. Hercules and Xena have their own TV shows. They are great characters and great stories.”
John Lynch is a graduate of the Geographic information systems (GIS) course at Otago and now works as a GIS analyst for a natural gas company in Australia
Seeking knowledge can be fun, says lecturer John Tagg. "It doesn't have to be a dreary process."
“My time here has shed light on what I can do and what I am capable of, I wouldn’t have known that without my supervisor, without my department and without a community of supporting peers.”
Having completed one year of his Psychology degree, Jonathan is enthusiastic about the more specialised study which beckons in his second and third years.
The museums, the many art galleries and the people I encountered in Paris all made it worthwhile.
“The department is brilliant and the teaching was excellent. My mind was opened by MFCO, it introduced me to new perspectives on film and life.”
“The knowledge of what has come before me and what is happening in theatres around the globe, inspires and informs my own practice constantly."
"I had many transferrable skills, gained from family, my culture, working in factories, playing sport and living in South Auckland, that enabled me to relate to the content in the social work papers."
“Josh Newman is passionate about Natural History. This passion has at times seen him researching Shearwaters in New Zealand's Sub Antarctic, snorkeling with Lion Fish in the Red Sea, climbing Mountains in the Himalayas, and marveling at the universe in his own backyard.”
BPharm (2007), PGCertPharm (Clinical Pharmacy, 2010)
A degree in Linguistics provided the perfect foundation for Otago graduate Joy Kwok to pursue a career in speech therapy.
Julia Prier was an assistant research fellow using optogenetics to explore pathological pathways in a brain with parkinsons.
Management researcher Dr Paula O’Kane is interested in how technology impacts how we work, and has explored how and why organisations are using social media in the workplace.
“I now have the ability to mix sciences and humanities together, and bridge the gap between humans and technology.”
"I came to Otago because it offered me the chance to combine both Teaching and Theatre Studies at the same time."
Studying at Otago was always the way for me.
In her final year of a Bachelor of Science in Zoology, Kate Beer says she's enjoyed everything about studying at Otago so far.
Kate Gidlow-Black attended high school in Christchurch but her family has now moved to Nelson and Kate is looking forward to joining them and eventually establishing her own dental practice in that city.
Kate found English helped her with journalism by driving home the power of the written or spoken word.
“We have learned that a particle can be in two different places at once ...”
PhD (2014), BPharm(credit)2008
Kawiti Waetford’s Otago Bachelor of Music in classical voice performance was the launch-pad for the beginning of what promises to be a successful international career.
Keith Chau reckons he stumbled into Finance, but it's clear he fell on his feet.
Keiths passion for wildlife and interest in electronics combine in telemetry of NZ wildlife, he hopes to combine them in a PhD in wildlife science and electronics.
“My research highlights the peaceful vision that many of our tīpuna held for a brighter future for their mokopuna (grandchildren).”
“Taking Māori Studies has been a journey in self-discovery – who I am and where I come from."
It took a long time for Ken to discover he had dyslexia.
Keresoma Leaupepe’s interest in health and disease, and in particular how they impact on his Samoan community has been his motivation all through his study at the University of Otago.
Keron Niles is working towards a PhD in Energy studies, when he has completed his PhD he will return to Trinidad and Tobago and probably work as a policy analyst
Sticking thousands of metres up into the atmosphere, it is little wonder that climatologists are looking to mighty Mount Kilimanjaro and its unique glaciers to act like climate change sensors.
“Being able to work independently in a laboratory is important if you want to have a career as a scientist. I have learned that at the University of Otago, Christchurch.’’
Kiri McComb’s start in Chemistry was interesting to say the least. It was not until halfway through his final year of High School, after much coaxing from his Science teacher that he decided to give Chemistry a go.
A PE graduate from Otago, Kirsten Bird now organises the annual Oxfam Trailwalker event, Oxfam's largest fundraising event.
Kirstin McKenzie is doing what many young scientists dream of: she’s training in forensics, and working for ESR (Environmental Science and Research), New Zealand’s independent forensic science institute.
"My links with my whanau, tribe and the University of Otago will always remain strong."
My Otago course covered quite a spectrum from abstract and conceptual design thinking to pragmatic subjects such as physics, mathematics and manufacturing principles.
An opportunity to advance his research, clinical, and teaching interests and a desire for a lifestyle change combined to lead Dr Kyle Wilby to the School of Pharmacy at the University of Otago.
After earning her degree in computer science at Otago, Kylie joined Animation Research Ltd, the Dunedin-based company that became famous for producing the America's Cup graphics.
“I wanted the right course for the type of music that I do and that I want to do when I’m older, and I found that at Otago.”
When you choose to study law at Otago, you choose to receive exposure to world class teaching and a wide range of stimulating subjects
Links between the University of Otago and AgResearch enabled through the Centre for Reproduction and Genomics are benefiting leading science programmes and fast-tracking promising science careers.
Laurelle's project focuses on sleep disturbances in children, focusing on children who are being treated for Sleep Disordered Breathing.
"I decided to make Classics my major at Otago because it combines everything I am interested in: literature, history, languages, art, and mythology as well as architecture and archaeology."
Lauren McEwan-Nugent maintains that one of the strengths of Religious Studies is its extraordinary relevance to the world around us.
Lauren Otis of the National Food Laboratory in California started at Otago with a degree in Consumer Food Science
“Doing lab work every week with approachable professors makes learning a lot easier.”
“The Master of International Studies gives you a skill set that lets you tackle a whole host of problems."
Otago senior lecturer Stephen Smith believes the proceedings of the International Criminal Court are of increasing importance for New Zealand.
Research by University of Otago PhD candidate Maria Pozza shows that, when it comes to international law, space really is "the final frontier".
DipPharm, PGCertHerbalMeds, PGDipClinPharm, MHSc(Hons), PGCert(Prescribing)
A FRST-funded project is allowing business researchers to take a much closer look at how - and how well - New Zealand exporters are doing business in the key emerging markets of China and India.
The revival of an ancient Māori method of teaching in the dark has had spectacular results for Dr Karyn Paringatai and her students.
The revival of an ancient maori method of teaching in the dark has had spectacular results for Dr Karyn Paringatai and her students.
“Studying was one of the best choices I’ve made, early childhood education is an awesome career and all I can say is I wouldn’t change it for the world, I may have finished studying but my learning journey is far from over.”
“Geography at university is very different from school … there are so many subjects we had never touched on.”
"For someone in my position- entering Computer Science with a degree from a completely different academic field - the DipGrad is a required qualification before a postgraduate diploma or master's degree can be pursued; it was the only choice."
“I highly recommend the Te Pōkai programme because you will not only go on a journey of learning to be a teacher but you will discover a new sense of identity. Teaching kaupapa maori starts with knowing who you are and valuing your own history."
Lessons in politeness and performance
Let there be colour
“If you want to study literature you have an advantage if you write.”
"Studying contemporary music really opened my eyes to the intricate craftsmanship behind writing a good song."
“Repeatedly, we see the wishes of the living take precedence over the wishes of the dead. This is not based on ethics, but on expediency.”
After completing the Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health (DPH) at the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Lindsay decided to stay on to complete her master's in Public Health and a PhD.
"The beauty of this degree is that it doesn't narrow you down in terms of job prospects."
Many organisations assume their HRM policies work and deliver optimum staff performance and therefore productivity to their organisation.....how true is this?
The content in these papers has vastly increased my knowledge around pain and the complexities of managing this for my patients.
Lisa McClintock was going to be a Doctor, but discovered a passion for chemistry and was hooked. She now works at Fonterra, improving products using chemistry in the bakery rather than the lab.
A Bachelor of Science graduate, Lisa works as an administrator and studied part-time to complete the Postgraduate Certificate in Public Health.
Her research focussed on the gene MET, which is important in a rare bone disease in children called Osteofibrous Dysplasia.
Liz Holland admits to somewhat divided loyalties when watching the All Blacks play the Wallabies in the Rugby World Cup semi-final. The Wallabies were, after all, wearing Canterbury clothing that she had helped to design.
I work with some of the country’s most experienced and renowned journalists for New Zealand’s biggest multi-media company – my future is bright and Otago is where it all started.
It’s not easy being green, which is precisely why businesses rely on people like Lloyd McGinty to ease the pressure.
“When I found out about the Master of Entrepreneurship at the end of my BSc I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do. I got to meet 'entrepreneurial types' and learn more about business!”
Logan Seddon, radiation therapist, has no trouble listing the advantages of his career.
During its more than 30 years of existence, researchers from the Christchurch Health and Development Study (CHDS) have published an average of one paper every month.
The University of Otago hosts two of the most significant longitudinal studies in the world – the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study and the Christchurch Health and Development Study.
New Zealand, with 3,500 lakes, faces many freshwater issues, yet has relatively few qualified people to help solve them.
When Louise Sandford completed her undergraduate degree in Anatomy, she never imagined that her postgraduate studies would take her to a dream job in Wellington with one of the largest non-profit organisations in New Zealand. But this is exactly what happened, and Louise is now the National Research and Policy Manager for the Cancer Society.
Loveday Kempthorne completed a BSc with Honours in Maths in 1996. The following year she also completed a BA Honours in French. She continued on to graduate Maths ( Part III of the Mathematical Tripos) at Cambridge, and recently completed a Masters in International Relations.
Luba Lukacova welcomed the opportunity to take on the entire Postgraduate Certificate in Health Sciences endorsed in Pain and Pain Management as I found it particularly relevant to my clinical role.
“I loved the learning, particularly learning to understand young children’s behaviour and how to recognise when and why they are frustrated or angry; basically learning about how they learn."
Sociology and the humanities are important subjects because they teach you about ethics.
The research skills and critical thinking I developed in my undergraduate degree have been invaluable to my work.
“I wouldn’t have studied anywhere elsewhere in New Zealand. I was taught by people who had previously held roles in governments, including the ex-foreign affairs minister of Afghanistan, and academics who are internationally renowned for their work. Otago is a great place to study.”
“English teaches you how to read, not just for the sake of reading but to get the most out of it, which is an incredibly powerful skill."
Chemistry lecturer Lyall Hanton admits to an obsession with science from a young age.
"Along with language papers I also had the opportunity to discover many facets of German culture, inlcuding German literature, history, philosophy, and art."
“I would really encourage more students to think about completing HUMS301. It was a really perfect paper to finish off my politics study because I was able to see themes and theories I had studied since my first year in action."
Modern mapping technology is helping to preserve traditional Māori knowledge.
"I’m passionate about science and about teaching, and Otago gave me the life skills to be good at my work."
If other people could build successful companies – “and there are millions of them out there” – then “I can’t see why I can’t.”
"We launched the business at the end of 2013, and it’s growing really fast. We’re just making the move into supermarkets, we’ve launched into Australia, and we’re exploring the wider global market."
"Through studying Spanish, I developed an appreciation for communicating with more than words."
“Social media is challenging traditional sociology because the socialisation isn’t happening face to face – its virtual. It’s interesting to see how sociology can adapt and deal with these changes.”
Marianna McEwan; Packaging technologist at Frucor Beverages
With Physiology the options are endless! “Physiology allows me to work in varied jobs; as a researcher, in industry or allied health as a cardiac, respiratory or sleep physiologist”.
“My studies were excellent preparation for my role as a Refugee and Protection Officer with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment."
Saving New Zealand threatened marine animals is being made more complicated by the way the relevant legislation is spread over three Acts of Parliament, according to Faculty of Law senior lecturer Nicola Wheen.
"I think my disability is one of those unseen disabilities."
Otago Law Faculty was the obvious choice, its reputation for collegiality and academic excellence being well founded.
At the end of high school I knew I wanted to go into something health related as I enjoyed science based subjects and wanted to be able to make a difference in the community.
The Matariki Network enables Otago researchers to share knowledge and best practice, and to establish meaningful international collaborations.
When John Barlow appealed his conviction for the murders of Gene and Eugene Thomas on the grounds that one aspect of the scientific…
Fast, adaptable, and extremely portable - it is the best computer known to man. Able to learn languages, guide vehicles and make complex computations in a split second, there is nothing that can match the versatility of the human brain.
I’m working full-time so I chose postgraduate study via distance because I could fit it in with my work
Matt is working as a Water Resource Scientist for the Otago regional Council. His job is to set minimum flows in rivers, carefully balancing the needs of the eco-system to maintain it’s sustainability, as well as the needs of users such as farmers wanting water for irrigation
Returning to study postgraduate papers at University of Otago has been one of the most rewarding and progressive decisions Matt believes he has made in his professional career.
Matthew Prouse wanted a career where he could go to work each day and, as he explains, "learn about life and expand my understanding of the world."
Many people think that the media have dumbed down over the years, increasingly producing populist trivia rather than useful information.
Megan Anderson was the first student at the University of Otago to receive a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in Sociology.
The University of Otago is the “science university” and this is what attracted Meghan Evans south from Wellington to study biomedical sciences.
"Without the enthusiasm and encouragement from the history department staff I might never have developed my passion for history and research."
"Studying at the University of Otago provided me with the ideal environment to explore my interest in women’s health".
Mercy Ah Siu-Maliko says that her main purpose in coming to the University of Otago was that it “was able to offer postgraduate opportunities especially for women in areas that were mostly dominated by men”.
Time takes on peculiar qualities for many PhD students, and for Michael Stevens perhaps more than most.
The ability to study, work and pursue other interests while in a family environment made distance learning an attractive option.
"Within a few minutes of my first Social Work and Community Development lecture, I knew I wanted to become a social worker."
After years of research and on-the-ground experience, experts from Otago’s Department of Politics are helping their students – and the wider world – make sense of Middle East politics.
“One of the real highlights of the job is being able to see a large part of the country.”
For Mike Owen the blend of indoor and outdoor activities along with travel opportunities, variety and job security made studying surveying a no-brainer.
Everyone knows the way mothers speak to their babies is special, but to Dr Mele Taumoepeau the unique linguistic bond between mother and child is more than just baby talk.
“If you are thinking about teaching my only advice is do it. It really is the most rewarding career."
"It really helped me to be independent– I can write a song, I can sing a song and I can record it."
Monica Singh knows first hand the range of jobs a Biochemistry degree opens up.
“You have to be role models; to learn to balance what you have with what you’ve learned in order to provide support and advocacy to people and to families."
"Anthropology introduced me to a whole way of thinking and understanding people that I hadn’t experienced before."
During World War II several thousand mixed-race babies were born to Pacific women and US servicemen serving in the region. Little has been known of these "children" and their stories – until now.
“It just shows everything is possible – when I began my studies at Otago I never thought I could publish in a top journal but now it is looking possible.”
“Shortage of energy is just round the corner so someone has to do this! Otago offers a variety of pathways, with Energy Studies – which is a science program - and Energy Management which is an applied science program and very practical.”
"I knew by undertaking research at an international level I could get experience that wouldn’t be available otherwise.”
Postdoctoral research fellow Dr Gianna Leoni is seeking better ways of using the Māori language to express Māori economic aspirations.
In 1904 Te Rangi Hiroa – later Sir Peter Buck – became Otago’s first Maori graduate and the first New Zealand-trained Maori medical doctor.
Mātauranga and marine management
Naomi Aporo has built a successful career out of combining her talent for business with her passion for Māori culture and heritage.
During First Year Health Science, I particularly enjoyed the biochemistry and pharmacology components, and was curious to learn the mechanisms behind how medicines worked.
Using the same technology you see on CSI, Natalie Harfoot examines a new set of samples.
Associate Professor Natalie Medlicott’s Pharmacy research involves colleagues in New Zealand, Australia, Denmark and Northern Ireland — and distance is not an issue.
Becoming a teacher wasn’t always Nathan’s plan. He moved to Otago from Christchurch to study Phys-Ed exclusively, on the recommendation of teachers who had told him it was “the best place in the country” to study the subject.
Nathan Rose jokes that he gained a “poker degree” at Otago, with majors in Finance and Psychology.
“I found Dunedin really quiet, but then I started liking the calmness. I think I have got used to it now, and I can work in peace.”
Social networking is playing an increasingly important role in where people decide to go on holiday and what they do when they get there.
The future looks bright for the country's first academic neurosurgery unit at the University of Otago.
Resurrecting the dead may be impossible, but Dr George Dias is achieving the next best thing.
Researchers in Otago's Departments of Physics and Pathology are combining their expertise in two projects that have the potential to revolutionise techniques used for cancer detection and diagnosis.
Microbiologist Professor Greg Cook has been awarded the University of Otago’s 2014 Distinguished Research Medal for ground-breaking work that may lead to a breakthough in the fight against diseases such as tuberculosis. He is also committed to mentoring a new generation of talented researchers.
“I’m finding there are more opportunities with respect to work and learning available and I have the confidence to explore more academic work-related pursuits."
Nicola graduated with a BSc(Honours) in Biochemistry at the end of 2008. By March 2009 she was employed by Global Science, supplying scientific products throughout Southern New Zealand.
PPE gives you the substantial depth in a cohesive breadth of disciplines that prepares you for jobs in a range of fields, such as politics, business and journalism.
“Otago appealed for its ideal mix of academic and social activities and Dunedin has all the right kinds of student town vibes.”
A key driver in the Government's aspirational Smokefree 2025 goal for New Zealand is better help for smokers wanting to quit. With that vision for the future in mind, University of Otago, Wellington researchers are breaking new ground in the area of smoking cessation.
I loved studying arts and it was an excellent foundation for the 'real world'. It helps you develop effective communication and analytical skills which are immensely useful in any workplace.
Nita works as a graduate advisor in the Mayor’s Office at the Christchurch City Council, a job that involves providing research, analysis and advice to support the Mayor in her leadership role within Christchurch City.
Nixing nitrate with nanoparticles
Being independent and in charge of my own time is a good thing when studying by distance learning.
I felt I needed to understand the way Radiation Therapy is taught in New Zealand in order to do a better job teaching them
With statistics showing that around one third of young New Zealanders are overweight, research programmes are looking at ways to modify both the eating and activity patterns of our babies and children.
From the largest to the very smallest sea creatures, and from estuaries to deep-water trenches, Otago researchers are striving to increase our understanding of the vast oceans that make our planet habitable.
An evening stroll along one of Dunedin’s most popular beaches has led to a fascinating discovery by Department of Zoology researchers.
"Threats of power blackouts from low Hydro lake levels in my final school years piqued my interest in a career in the energy industry. I attended the open day in yr 13, picking up some brochures for Energy Studies – it looked awesome."
"I learnt in a team teaching environment, which made everything less daunting and meant that I started my teaching career with confidence."
Olivia Glazebrook, Heinz Watties recipient and graduate of the Food Science Department
Immune Solutions Ltd, a spin-out company formed by Otago Innovation Ltd, the University of Otago’s commercial arm, has developed a world-leading oral delivery method for vaccines and bioactives for commercial use.
“Today we may not know enough to see the practical bearing of this work, but who dare predict what we shall see tomorrow.”
Travelling to exotic locations with an international rally motorsport team may sound like a life of glamour, but Otago alumna Katie Lane says it’s not only the drivers that need focus and “grit” to stay ahead of the competition.
With 87 per cent of New Zealanders now living in cities and towns, planning for urban resilience is needed more than ever. What development path should New Zealand's cities take to ensure the maximum environmental, economic, social and cultural benefits can be gained?
A 27-year working relationship has brought the best of sheep and human research capabilities together and laid the foundation for a developing area of study.
NZ can learn a lot from the Pacific when it comes to climate change.
The University of Otago has a long association with its Pacific neighbours. From the early 1930s, a series of bright young men from the islands blazed a path to Otago, determined to advance opportunities for indigenous people.
Pacific youth wellness
As part of a growing focus on how New Zealanders can age well, Professor David Baxter is investigating the impact of pain and its associated disabilities on older people’s lives.
Every week Christchurch general practitioner Dr Ben Hudson sees patients with severe pain from osteoarthritis, but with few options for relief.
The Otago experience has prepared me well for my career as a pharmacist.
"I'm interested in the type of dissent that these forms of visual culture can produce and how they can contribute to create a more open society."
What I love about the course is that you can do both hygiene and therapy rather than having to choose one or the other.
A study by PhD Geology student Felix Marx has shown that the evolution of modern whales was driven by a combination of food abundance and climate change, findings which could help scientists predict the impacts of future global changes on these creatures.
Understanding the legacy of New Zealand's complicated past will be made easier by research from the University of Otago's Centre for Research on Colonial Culture (CRCC).
Growing up in the Canterbury high country, Pat was a farm kid who read Homer.
The combined programme has sent me down an interesting career path.
Dr Susan Heydon's background in history helps her social pharmacy research.
"Business studies gives a really good career base. You do a bit of everything in a BCom."
Lecturer Paul Hansen lives halfway between the beach and the University - perfect for a guy whose love of surfing is rivalled only by his passion for Economics.
Paulien van Geel works with families addressing family nutrition and lifestyle goals. She is employed by Sport Wellington as the Active Families advisor.
The National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, established at the University of Otago in 2009, combines multidisciplinary expertise and research on the global issues of development, peace-building and conflict transformation. Two of the centre’s staff discuss the effectiveness of non-violence as a means of countering terrorism and repressive regimes.
Peter Murray is a medical doctor who is currently undertaking his specialist training with the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine.
Petra McCallum has pursued her fascination for other cultures and languages across continents - originally from Melbourne, she has lived in Ecuador, Spain and England.
Do you speak frog? Professor Phil Bishop does.
Few 14-year-olds have an interest in accountancy, but then again few can boast a top-shelf London lifestyle by the time they reach their mid-20s.
A University of Otago philosopher is seeking to explain something that has puzzled philosophers since at least the fourth century.
Few stories have captured the imagination of readers as successfully as the extraordinary South Seas tale of Fletcher Christian and fellow mutineers on the HMS Bounty.
"For most of the 20th century political friendships have been equated with nepotism and favouritism, which do not fit with the idea of objective democracy"
Power of change
The interdisciplinary Energy Cultures project is finding out why New Zealanders are slow to adopt energy-efficient technologies.
A means of food processing and preservation that maintains nutritional benefits, taste, colour and appearance while at the same time keeps the product stable, safe and easy to use is something of a holy grail for food scientists.
Professor Tony Dowell and Dr Sunny Collings (University of Otago, Wellington) are convinced that GPs and other primary health-care professionals can provide more effective care to the thousands of people suffering from mild to moderate mental health problems in New Zealand.
A third of the New Zealand population will be aged over 60 by 2051. This growth, combined with an elderly population living longer and more active lives, means an epidemic of degenerative joint disease is fast approaching. Dr Tim Woodfield, of the Christchurch Regenerative Medicine and Tissue Engineering (CReATE) Group, is working on a way to address this epidemic.
The brain is an astonishing device for storing the information with which it is bombarded, every moment of the day.
Infectious diseases continue to be major causes of illness and death in developing countries. Professor Crump’s work focuses on those that cause fever, a very common syndrome in the tropics and one that is often equated with malaria.
Fundmental questions, such as what factors airlines consider when adding or reducing flights to New Zealand, are to be examined under a FRST grant secured by Associate Professor David Timothy Duval (Department of Tourism).
Contrary to international trends, in which testicular cancer is a disease of white men, New Zealand’s rates are highest among Māori compared to any other ethnic group, including Pacific men for whom rates are the lowest.
Qais Nayle’s dream of becoming a doctor has led him from war-torn Afghanistan, via Pakistan, to Dunedin where he arrived in 2009 hoping to complete the medical degree he had started at Aryana University in Peshawar. Dunedin was an easy choice as his wife, Marwa, was already an Otago student (she has since completed Oral Health and Dental Technology qualifications)
From cutting-edge research with real-world application, to the generation of fundamental knowledge about how the physical universe is composed and behaves – the new Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies offers exciting potential.
Otago physicists have used laser-cooling technology to slow a group of rubidium 85 atoms; then, by using a laser beam, or optical "tweezers", they have been able to isolate and capture one atom – and photograph it through a microscope.
Questions of trust
‘Because zoology is non-professional you are not locked into a career path,’ he says. ‘You can steer it where you want to at varsity or go in a number of directions afterwards. ‘Zoology is learning more about the things you see every day out of the window - especially in Dunedin
Rachael Dyche literally fell for physiotherapy in her last year at school. After a fall she had to have physiotherapy - and she realised that was the career for her.
Distance learning meant I could study at night, and when my son had an afternoon nap I could get a little bit of reading done.
“Human geography was the degree that offered the broad combination of economic, political and social issues that I was looking for.”
“I really like the way that all your papers overlap, and you can increasingly see how each one is relevant to all the others”
Studying at Otago was a pivotal step for a young girl from Invercargill in becoming a partner in the multinational professional services firm…
This area of practice is very challenging and always gives me opportunities to do further studies and research.
"At the University of Otago they didn't put barriers or obstacles in the way I thought. I really appreciated the way the people around me opened my mind to affect change in a positive way."
Raphael Richter-Gravier who studied for a DipGrad in Japanese and Māori Studies
"Language learners often feel self-conscious about baring their fledgling skills in front of their peers, but I was always made to feel relaxed and received plenty of encouragement."
Understanding what it would take to effectively cloak an object and make it invisible may sound fanciful, but the lessons learned along the way are likely to feed into other
areas of technology.
“For me it is essential that my research has the potential for real change—that it can influence policy and practice for better health outcomes.”
Associate Professor Rebecca Campbell’s work focuses on the neural circuits that control fertility. “We examine how these circuits work normally, and also try to define whether problems in these circuits contribute to infertility.”
Rebecca Lawrence completed her final year of high school in Denmark on exchange. Before she went she had been undecided about what to study at university, but while she was away Rebecca realised that she really missed the outdoors of New Zealand, and was really interested in finding out more about the natural environment.
Having an undergraduate degree in neuroscience and psychology, Rebecca wanted to study and work at a level of greater influence than her original plans of being a clinical psychologist would allow.
Rebeeca McMaster, Art History graduate says "I have no doubt that the Otago experience set me up excellently for the Great Job Hunt".
Following her passion to study Philosophy gave Rebecca Thomson an edge when it came to her career.
Rebekah Crake grew up in Christchurch and wanted to stay in her home town while she did postgraduate study.
How can outdoor adventure and nature-based experiences be used to engage young people in science subjects as well as promote health and wellbeing?
Indiana Jones and the Da Vinci Code may be fictional, but academics really do have their moments in solving age-old mysteries in exotic locations.
"The study of politics has given me a truly international worldview: many of my travel choices have been inspired by the content of my degree and the passion inspired by my lecturers."
In spite of years of education campaigns and steadily rising tobacco prices, 22 per cent of New Zealand's adult population continue to smoke.
After the earth moved: Dr Chris Pearson has been helping to create a new surveying computer model for Nepal.
The University of Otago is committed to fostering and supporting the work of up-and-coming and early-career researchers.
Sugar, carbohydrate, sodium: nutrition research at Otago is influencing and informing World Health Organization guidelines.
“There’s a big problem in academia and that’s the problem of specialisation. People speak in their own esoteric tongues to specialised audiences - it’s a real intellectual danger.”
As many as 30 per cent of New Zealanders have back pain on any day, causing suffering, reduced quality of life and hundreds of millions of dollars spent in health care.
Education in the digital world presents new challenges – and opportunities. Otago researchers are looking at ways in which new technologies can deliver the best results for young New Zealanders.
"Studying Politics at Otago provided me with an insight into the diversity of the world that I would otherwise not have gained."
"That was the 'light bulb moment' – I knew there was a gap in the market"
Richard Lambie, Global Head - TannerCTS (Tanner Pharma Group)
Southern right whales, once hunted to commercial extinction, are re-colonising New Zealand.
Lots of friends, a wide range of subjects, and practical application of the knowledge aquired : Physical Education was definitely the right choice for Roanne!
Dr Rob Aitken brings the savvy eye of a media expert to his current work as a Marketing lecturer at the University of Otago.
“It’s a pretty intense course, but if you work hard you get the benefit from it."
“One of the key challenges of teaching is to communicate ideas and information clearly”
"In Information Science you're looking at business rules and how to match them through information systems."
A study of archaeological evidence from the Spanish city of Mérida by a University of Otago Classics lecturer, Dr Dan Osland, could rewrite the textbooks on Roman and medieval history.
Are Colin McCahon’s religious paintings akin to “graffiti on the walls of some celestial lavatory?” At Otago you can decide for yourself.
”I’ve tried to take the best ideas from my mentors and help students to learn not only the science but how to be scientists in the real world.”
Rheumatologist Dr Lisa Stamp could have been a professional musician – a cellist – but half way through a Bachelor of Music degree she decided to be a doctor instead.
Increasing frustration over his desk-bound office job and a lack of people contact inspired Roy Britten to retrain as a nurse.
Otago scientists are manipulating the process of photosynthesis to find new and renewable sources of energy.
Russell Blakelock believes Otago’s Distance Learning programme offers him the flexibility he needs, as well as a sense of community that he also believes to be important.
“This qualification is professionally relevant, and because it is a clinical master’s there is more weight added to its value”
Ruth Cunningham’s doctorate, with funding from an HRC clinical fellowship, is focusing on the unanswered question of what happens when someone with severe mental illness then develops cancer?
There is compelling evidence that decriminalisation achieved the aim of addressing sex workers' human rights and had a positive effect on their health and safety.
A horse riding accident changed Sam's life.
My communication studies degree has had a huge influence on my professional life.
Sam Scott says "I was surprised how easy it was to learn Chinese as I had previously written myself off as 'not being a languages person'"
Originally from Christchurch, Sam Trethewey decided to study at Otago after hearing good things about the Otago Department of Finance and even better things about the Otago lifestyle.
BPharm (2009) and Postgraduate Diploma in Pharmacy (2014)
Otago not only is the best place to experience being a student, but it is also, in my own biased opinion, the best place to nurture some of the most passionate people in the world.
Exhorted by the University’s founders to “dare to be wise”, Otago alumni have, indeed, dared. They have questioned traditional norms, challenged us with new ideas and inspired us with their creative thought.
Bpharm (Otago 2006), PGDip PhysEd (Otago 2007), PhD (Otago 2013)
“Some of the ways global business is taking sustainability seriously is fascinating and quite inspiring.”
It was the international quality of staff and facilities at the Department of Food Science that brought Sarah to Otago.
Sarah Baldwin reckons Otago could gives job-seekers an edge even in tough times. She’s hoping that the skills she’s learned at Otago will make the difference when it comes to starting her career.
Sarah Borrie was keen to gain a qualification with an international outlook, but she didn't expect her studies to take her around the world before she'd even graduated.
“If you think of a chromosome as a shoelace, the telomere is like the protective plastic cap on the end, ‘’ says geneticist Sarah Jodczyk.
Sarah has been in the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health since 2013 after completing her undergraduate studies in Psychology.
"...Otago has the lifestyle, its cheaper to live here and there's more financial support available than there is at home in Australia."
"I’m so pleased I settled on Information Science because it offers the best of both worlds, combining business and technology in the one degree."
Fifty years ago the idea of instant communication with anyone, anywhere on the planet, was just a dream.
Māori speakers in Dunedin and Otago face an uphill battle to keep their language skills alive so they can pass them on to new generations. But soon they could be getting help, following collaboration between local families, Ngāi Tahu and a multidisciplinary team from the University of Otago.
“Knowledge and discovery are led by reasearchers and it would be cool to contribute to new discoveries that lead to an improvement in health care”.
Scott says that Otago has a huge amount to offer people who want to succeed in the business world.
Scott is currently working for the Department of Conservation as Technical Advisor for Operation Ark, a South Island-wide project designed to protect three particular native bird species.
Scott Ransom discovered there's a place for students with a love of writing and a penchant for the absurd. It's called Theatre Studies at Otago.
The bottom of a pristine West Coast lake has revealed secrets that have huge implications for the way we plan for the effects of large earthquakes along the South Island’s Alpine Fault.
Spectacular advances in molecular genetics hold great promise for the discovery of genetic mutations that cause diseases, such as epilepsy, and for consequent understanding of developmental biology.
Sentinels of change
Serra Kilduff completed a BSc in Botany with a minor in Geology in 2008. Since then she’s been working at Plant Variety Research, a very small offshoot of Intellectual Property New Zealand.
I don’t have a degree so for me this is less of a career choice than a desire to achieve a personal goal.
Shakespeare: memory and modern cognitive science
“Studying classics allowed me to think outside the box and gave me the confidence to do anything.”
'My job requires creative adaptability, the ability to come to creative solutions and exceptional communication'
Shannon explored a range of subjects when she started Uni, She completed her degree and PhD in plant biotechnology. She has now changed tack again and is a scientist with the Animal Genomics group at AgResearch in Dunedin. “Although I began my science career in plant biotechnology, the wide ranges of skills that you learn are applicable to all areas of science.”
BPharm (Otago 2012)
Worldwide collaborations are helping to piece together stories from ancient settlements across Asia and the Pacific.
Sharleen Irvine came to Hands-On Science at the start of year 13 and found out heaps about health sciences, getting into the professional courses and how Health Science First Year feeds into all of those.
Sharnee Diamond is looking forward to applying her knowledge to research in minority health.
Aspects of what I learnt studying Classics, such as ancient manufacturing methods and materials, are useful to my work as a Conservator as we have to understand how an object was made and from what before we can treat it.
Shelley believes that she could not have done her research in any other department.
Identifying the foreshock phases of an earthquake sequence could lead to more accurate forecasting of main shocks, says Dr Ting Wang (Department of Mathematics and Statistics).
The healthiest food choices are not always the easiest ones to make, says Dr Ninya Maubach, of the University of Otago’s Department of Marketing.
I chose Otago because of its reputation for being the best physical education school in the country.
“I have absolutely no regrets about studying biochemistry and encourage you to take it on.”
Worms cause more than one billion cases of gastrointestinal infections every year. A simple new device could potentially revolutionise the way in which these parasites can be identified and treated.
With a suite of novel protein biomarkers patented in areas of unmet clinical need, the Christchurch Heart Institute is helping to save lives, time and money.
To better understand the side-effects of cholesterol-reducing drugs, Pharmacology PhD student Simran Maggo is teaching guinea pigs to swim.
A well-established research connection between the Christchurch Heart Institute and the National University of Singapore is enabling innovative work with significant global implications, changing the way heart failure is viewed from one art of the world to another.
“I always knew I wanted to work in advocacy or something in the area of creating change and I started working in public health early on.”
Nanoparticles may be very small, but they are also immensely powerful as the basis of new tools for a wide range of uses – from improving current technology to inventing new ways of doing things.
Professor Janet Hoek uses the "David and Goliath" analogy to describe the battle between "social marketers" who take on the challenge of promoting public health measures and the corporations that market harmful products to consumers.
My research helped me stand out from the others
Dr Sherlock Licorish (Information Science) studies software systems and the people who develop them, to try to reduce the incidence of failures – such as the notorious Novopay payroll system for New Zealand schools.
"Employers value what they call visual literacy, and you’ll definitely get that from art history (and visual culture).”
"We have a generic solution to any problem that involves ranking or allocating resources."
Stacey’s message to students with impairments who are either thinking about attending University or currently studying is please don’t be afraid to ask for help.
When Stacey Gullen-Reynolds left school at 15 having passed only one School Certificate subject, it was hard to imagine that one day she would be handing out education and career advice to others.
Long before the importance of nature conservation was a mainstream concern, Emeritus Professor Sir Alan Mark was leading the way.
I initially trained as a nurse, but after a few years I wanted to know more about what caused illnesses in people.
Stephanie Rigter, Entomophagy: Understanding Consumers’ Discourses towards Eating Insects in New Zealand
After graduating with a BBiomedSc degree in REGD in 2016, Stephanie is now enrolled in a BBiomedSc(Hons) degree, where she is discovering just how much she loves learning new techniques and how much fun it is to have the opportunity to contribute to research discoveries in embryology.
“The Biochemistry staff were really enthusiastic and willing to take time out to talk. The labs and courses were well organised and the subjects were interesting and diverse, setting me up for many potential directions later on.”
When the food miles debate erupted in 2007, it took soundly researched data from the Agriculture Research Group on Sustainability (ARGOS) to debunk a myth that was threatening to derail New Zealand’s food export industry.
An interest in entrepreneurship and having his own start-up business underway (atFax) brought Steve Price to the University of Otago for its Master of Entrepreneurship degree.
At Te Tumu – School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies, “the staff are so passionate about what they do, they have lived and breathed what they are teaching and that makes it easier to connect with students.”
In August 2013, Associate Professor Suzanne Pitama (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Whare) became the first person to complete a PhD with a focus on indigenous medical health education.
A collaborative project looking at how Dunedin high school pupils get to and from school has produced some concerning preliminary findings about young people’s levels of physical activity, nutrition and daily screen time.
Su Yong Hu is the Business Development Manager for StemLife, a cord blood and adult stem cell banking and therapeutics company.
A revolutionary super gel, found to reduce the post-operative complications of sinus surgery, was last year commercialised in a significant collaborative deal for the University of Otago.
A solution to one person's computer problem is likely to have much wider benefits for computer users. Associate Professor Andrew Trotman (Computer Science) devised the idea of building a portable, high-performance, personal supercomputer to solve his problem of trying to manage large amounts of data on a limited budget.
Growing concern about the carbon dioxide emissions associated with long-haul air travel may not stop UK and European tourists coming here, but it might bring about a rethink on how itineraries are planned and the way the experience is marketed.
Test-tasting chocolate doesn’t sound like a tough task, but it’s more
difficult than it might seem.
"New Zealand lags behind most developed countries in adopting energy-efficient behaviours and technologies, and we have been slow to set vigorous standards for energy efficiency in comparison to the rest of the world"
Imagine if the early signs of Crohn's disease were noticed up to 10 years before the illness began to ravage the bowel.
PhD student Chris Hakkaart describes his journey from the biology class of a small river town to the University of Otago’s renowned Centre for Translational Cancer Research.
Global tourism behaviours are expected to change as concerns about aviation carbon emissions continue to grow.
Pacific Edge is a biotechnology success story in a clinical field where there is high demand around the world: the early detection and management of cancer.
BPharm (Otago 2002), PhD (University of London 2010)
Studying Medicine at the University of Otago had always been Tarucilla’s ambition.
Tawini White is studying regional language variations for her Master's degree.
“I gained a range of transferable skills during my time at university – the ability to read, analyse and interpret information in a meaningful way is really valuable in my day-to-day working life.”
A Summer Studentship project at the University of Otago, Christchurch, opened up a world of opportunity for Teagan Hoskin – including a research job in London and a clinically-focused PhD.
"Whether I was composing a four-part harmony or playing shredding guitar solos, the expertise of the teaching staff was the reason for my success as a musician."
Dr David Ciccoricco, who has been researching what happens when narrative fiction meets digital technology, says that rather than threatening the existence of story-telling, digital technology is changing the way we are able to write and read narrative fiction.
Teri Higgins' past year at Otago has been one big horror film - her major project was an honours dissertation on the "psychoanalytical failure of the remake of Psycho".
Terrence O'Brien enrolled in Otago's Bachelor of Teaching (Primary). The experience, he says, was outstanding.
“This programme allows social workers to undertake further studies with a distinctly social work emphasis”
For Tessa Cameron a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in finance and economics helped her develop into the entrepreneurial business women she is today.
The occurrence of testicular cancer in New Zealand appears to be different to other parts of the developed world, particularly in relation to ethnicity and socio-economic status.
What do you wear when you venture into the great outdoors?
Angelina Jolie drew worldwide attention to the familial risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Otago’s Dr Logan Walker is now working to develop screening tools to identify those most at risk of these cancers.
Professor Vicky Cameron and her team at the Christchurch Heart Institute are looking at the role of non-coding DNA – or "junk DNA" – as a risk factor for heart disease.
The business of success
Otago researchers from across the academic disciplines are working together to help tackle the ever-growing threat climate change poses for New Zealand and beyond.
"The marae represents modern-day New Zealand's unique social and cultural point of difference. Can we afford to lose it?"
"America's post-Somalia approach was supposed to be about putting the interests of national security first. Instead it came back to bite them."
Dr Shieak Tzeng (Department of Surgery and Anaesthesia, Wellington) is fascinated by the big unanswered questions in the murky depths of the body's physiology.
The work of bioarchaeologist Dr Sian Halcrow can be likened to that of a modern-day detective – except her clues are ancient, locked inside the bones and teeth of people who lived thousands of years ago.
Sport, beer advertising and alcohol could be said to form a "trinity" that is having an increasingly powerful influence on society.
Based at Otago’s Te Tumu - School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies, Associate Professor Poia Rewi (Tūhoe, Ngāti Manawa, Te Arawa) works on a regional and national level in multiple areas of Te Reo promotion, teaching and research, and his current projects highlight his unwavering focus.
Mysterious and little-studied structures within sheep oocytes have caught PhD student Karen Reader’s eye through the microscope.
Preventive and Social Medicine Professor Jennie Connor believes we're in a state of denial about just how harmful our national drinking habits really are.
Professor Craig Rodger is achieving internationally significant results in the ultimate global arena – space.
Dunedin’s climate is not usually cited as one of the attractions of coming to the University of Otago, but it’s a plus for Tourism lecturer Dr Tianyu Ying.
"I really liked chemistry at school and I'd always been interested in medical research."
I love helping people and making sure they are getting as much benefit from their medicines as possible.
“There are all sorts of jobs these days for people who can interpret and analyse data.”
The knowledge I have gained through the course has been immediately applicable in practice and has served to both deepen my understanding of pain and pain management.
Tim Nixon has had a colourful career since completing the Master of Entrepreneurship. He heads up Runaway, the computer games division of Natural History New Zealand.
The development of strategies to future-proof human tissue research throughout New Zealand is the aim of a virtual biobank initiative being driven by the Centre for Society, Governance and Science
Tom Bradshaw is not one for sitting still. While studying he has represented New Zealand in mountain biking.
"My time at Otago fostered my interest in cancer genetics research."
When Tom Scott graduated from the University of Otago he found himself heading in quite a different direction than he had initially planned.
“The RTRU is a fabulous community of both academics and students. Your study is well supported and is an achievable goal for students who want to extend their knowledge in a specific area”.
Dr Rob Middag is on a quest to find out more about oceanic trace metals – essential nutrients for all organisms – and how these are affected by changes in the environment.
Translating research to clinical solutions
Otago researchers are at the forefront of international collaborations to use vaccines to tackle specific cancers.
It may not be as internationally recognisable as the kiwi, but the tuatara is well known in the scientific world as the last survivor of a prehistoric group of reptiles called rhynchocephalians.
“I wanted to be a change-maker; helping young people find the right path to a better future."
We would like to encourage Māori students to apply for Dentistry as more Māori dental graduates are needed.
“What I enjoyed most about studying through Te Tumu was the whānau feeling. The teaching support was incredible; they were approachable and welcoming, and all genuinely wanted to see their students succeed."
Modern science combines with mātauranga to protect muttonbird harvesting for future generations.
They offer the best student support—especially for Pacific students.
How young children exert self-control is central to work being carried out by Dr Damian Scarf of the Department of Psychology.
"I oversee a number of programmes supporting young Māori into health professional degrees at Otago and ultimately growing the Māori health workforce in New Zealand."
New Zealanders like to believe their country is a place of relative equality; however, recent reports have shown that New Zealand is among the top 10 “most unequal” countries in the developed world in terms of income differentials.
Vanessa Cave came to Otago planning to study Biochemistry. She took a couple of Mathematics and statistics papers in her first year, and was hooked! She graduated in 2002 with a BSc Honours in Statistics.
Christchurch PhD candidate Vanessa Lattimore has a strong history of breast cancer in her family. Three of five sisters in her family tree either suffered from or died of breast cancer.
“I wanted to do postgraduate study in genetics and especially in the field of health so my work could help people.’’
"The communication and analytical skills that I developed during my Linguistics studies, combined with an acquired learning aptitude and enthusiasm for learning new languages, are invaluable tools in my present role."
Cutting-edge techniques are being used to inform the future of Central Otago wines, helping identify what makes a truly great pinot noir.
“Policy is about identifying problems and coming up with solutions. The critical thinking skills gained in a Humanities degree allow you to think more laterally, to think outside the box. The writing and verbal communication skills you get are also very useful in a policy context."
"I'm very passionate about tourism and I'm very passionate about beer. So it's come together very nicely."
What really interests Wei Wang, who is studying for his master’s degree in Computer Science, is the evolution of multi-core processors.
He may be one of New Zealand’s most esteemed experts on childhood obesity, but Professor Barry Taylor has all but given up trying to enable overweight children to slim down.
Welcome to "He Kitenga Global"
Welcome to He Kitenga
Welcome to He Kitenga, showcasing research from the University of Otago
Welcome to this, the 150th edition of He Kitenga. No, this is not the 150th volume of outstanding research highlights from the University of Otago, but rather this edition is timed to celebrate 150 years of scholarship, learning and research at our beautiful university.
Associate Professor Ben Wooliscroft is keen to change the conversation about what constitutes a successful business.
Research is changing, and translating core research into usage in the marketplace and in society is increasingly important.
Professor Holger Regenbrecht is using augmented reality to challenge the brains of stroke patients to work out what makes reality a reality.
Good leadership is crucial for business success, but just what makes a good leader, and what does evolution have to do with it?
Why is there disparity between what consumers say they would like to do and what they actually do when it comes to sustainable consumption?
There are a few things you need in this life, believes Emeritus Professor Jim Flynn, if you are to function usefully in the modern world.
Do New Zealanders prefer to support charities with a local or global focus? And what reasons do people give for supporting different types of charity?
“Putting new things, in new places, with new technology” is the off-the-cuff mantra from Dr Tim Molteno (Physics) as he talks about the electronic animal-tracking tags he is developing in association with Associate Professor Phil Seddon (Zoology).
Beyond the written and verbal skills a Classics degree endows you with, it makes you open-minded and able to interact freely, courteously and civilly with all types of different people.
"I'm keen to explore how we, as Westerners, understand people from another culture."
I enjoyed history at school and university and became really interested in medical anthropology - the interaction between people and medicine.
There's a lot of energy being expended on the subject of wind farms. Should we love their renewable energy or hate their skyline silhouettes?
I enjoyed my time at Otago University and the feel that the University has.
Two Otago academics share a special interest in the influence of Asia on contemporary Kiwi culture.
Working for the land
Zara is passionate about wildlife management and conservation, combining Psychology and Zoology as a double major allowed her to explore animal behaviour. She is now completing a masters in science in the UK.
Foundation Year prepared me for Health Sciences at the University of Otago.
In her third year Zipporah tutored for Te Tumu - School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies. “I remember in my first year hiding in the corner, and now I was in front of the classroom myself. Te Tumu gave me a great opportunity for personal growth, I learned a lot and was able to give back too.”
"Theatre Studies taught me a variety of skills, and not just what you learn in lectures, but a positive attitude as well- to get out there and do it!"
I have found the Diploma invaluable in terms of what was taught on the course, but also in approaches to continuing my own education.