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Our people

Professor David Murdoch

Vice-Chancellor

Professor David Murdoch 2202 image

Professor David Murdoch was appointed Vice-Chancellor at the start of February 2022.

Professor Murdoch graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Otago in 1985, and later a Doctor of Medicine in 2003. He also holds a Master of Science degree in Epidemiology from the University of London.

As a young doctor he worked in a very remote Nepalese hospital, which greatly influenced his future career as an infectious disease specialist and researcher.

Professor Murdoch, a distinguished academic and recognised world-leader in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, particularly respiratory infections, was previously Dean and Head of Campus at the University of Otago, Christchurch (UOC).

During his time with Otago, he has been awarded the University’s Distinguished Research Medal (2020), was the Head of Pathology (UOC) during the Canterbury earthquakes, and has been involved in the planning of Te Papa Hauora, the Christchurch Health Precinct, including a new building for the University’s campus.

Among Professor Murdoch’s other notable achievements are a leading role in a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded global study of childhood pneumonia that changed the way the disease is diagnosed, treated and prevented in developing countries; and years of research that has changed the world view on Legionnaires’ disease. He was also the founding co-director of the One Health Aotearoa alliance, a diverse network of infectious disease experts working to address health hazards at the human, animal and environmental interface.

He has advised the New Zealand government during the COVID-19 pandemic in several roles, including as a member of the Strategic COVID-19 Public Health Advisory Group.

Tel +64 3 479 8253
Email vice-chancellor@otago.ac.nz

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Sarah Lines

Sarah Lines

Executive Assistant

As Executive Assistant, Sarah provides high-level confidential, executive support and advice and is the first point of contact for the Vice-Chancellor.  Sarah manages the Vice-Chancellor's appointments, meetings, email and an extensive programme of events.

Sarah previously worked as a Personal Assistant to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic before taking up her current position in February 2016.

Tel +64 3 479 8253
Mobile +64 21 279 8253
Email vice-chancellor@otago.ac.nz

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Eleanor Harrison

Eleanor Harrison

Executive Officer

Since late 2005 Eleanor has provided executive support to Otago's Vice-Chancellor – Professor Sir David Skegg, Professor Harlene Hayne and now Professor David Murdoch. 

In her role, Eleanor has strategic oversight of the activities of the Vice-Chancellor's Office, working closely with the University's senior leaders. She provides governance support to the Senior Leadership Team and allied working groups which report to the Vice-Chancellor.

Tel +64 3 479 8280
Email eleanor.harrison@otago.ac.nz

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Mayhaka Mendis

Mayhaka Mendis

Registrar (Acting)

Ms Mayhaka Mendis is the University’s Registrar (Acting). She leads a team including Corporate Records Services, the Secretary to the Council, the University Mediator and Copyright and Open Access.

She provides expert and strategic legal advice and support to the Vice-Chancellor and University Council and ensures the coordination of legal accountability to meet the University's statutory obligations.

She is the University’s Privacy Officer.

Tel +64 3 479 8899
Email registrar@otago.ac.nz

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Judith Thompson

Judith Thompson

Secretary to the Council

Judith is the Secretary to the University of Otago Council and manages the business of the University Council and its Committees in its annual programme of meetings. She provides executive support and advice to the Chancellor and members of Council on their role, duties and procedural matters.

She acts as Secretary to the University of Otago Foundation Board, University of Otago Holdings Limited and University Union Limited.

Tel +64 3 479 8250
Email judith.thompson@otago.ac.nz

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