Deans diary header
Issue 375 | 17 April 2015 | Previous Issues

A personal message from the Dean

This week the Associate Dean Postgraduate Trevor Sherwin and I met with the Trustees of the Sir John Logan Campbell Trust to discuss the establishment of a prestigious new annual international travelling fellowship to be made available to an early career faculty member to spend time overseas in research collaboration.

The call for applications for this fellowship will be announced shortly. The generous support we receive from organisations such as the Logan Campbell Trust and the Freemasons (who are featured in a story below about their support for brain research), allows us to do the many things that are simply impossible through traditional funding streams. One of the more enjoyable roles I have as Dean is in meeting with generous supporters and highlighting and promoting our outstanding staff and research.

Earlier this week the Vice Chancellor gave an excellent summary of the University’s financial position and assurance that we are well placed to continue the capital investment in buildings. It is probably an opportune time to signal then that our faculty is likely to benefit from further investment in the Grafton campus and we are in early discussions with Property Services about future building at Grafton.

We are planning for a large Fall graduation and will this year be in two ceremonies on Wednesday 6 May at 1:30 and 4:30 pm (Pharmacy students). I encourage academic staff to attend either or both these ceremonies to support students in their big day.

On a more sober note, the faculty’s annual leave balance has again ballooned out. I make an impassioned plea for all staff to reflect on the importance of taking their annual leave and to account for it through the simple on-line process. Taking leave without recording it however, is something that will not be countenanced.



John Fraser, PhD, FRSNZ

Dean, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

The University of Auckland


Professor honoured by Rotary Club

Image of President Richard Holden (left) presents Professor Cris Print (School of Medical Sciences) with the award
President Richard Holden (left) presents Professor Cris Print (School of Medical Sciences) with the award

Rotary recently awarded one of its most prestigious awards to Professor Cris Print, from our School of Medical Sciences, who received the Paul Harris Award.

Professor Print attended the meeting as a guest speaker and the award took him completely by surprise, as he is not a Rotarian.

Rotary Newmarket is celebrating 70 years of community service this year and has awarded very few Paul Harris Awards to non-members so the award to Professor Print was especially significant.

Along with Professor Michael Findlay and several members of Professor’s Print’s research group, Professor Print has been the driving force behind the Newmarket Rotary Charitable Foundation’sRoss Craig Oncology Award’ which commenced in 2006.

These awards, which now run under the auspices of the Auckland Academic Health Alliance, allow registrar trainees and newly qualified consultants to spend an intensive 4-6 weeks in a research laboratory in our faculty. The clinicians participate first hand in research into the genetic abnormalities that underlie cancer and gain experience in genomics and bioinformatics.

Involvement in this sort of research prepares future cancer specialists for the research-led environment in which they will practice. It also builds long-term links between clinicians and medical scientists.

The members of Professor Print’s research group have also enjoyed working with Rotary to introduce high achieving school students from around New Zealand to genomics and bioinformatics as part of the Rotary National Science and Technology Forums.

Brian McMath, Chairman of the Newmarket Rotary Charitable Foundation, said the award recognises Professor Print’s commitment and enthusiasm in making the ‘Ross Craig Oncology Award’ initative such a success.

The Paul Harris Award also recognises Professor Print’s work in medical research and teaching.


Innovative brain research receives significant funding

More than half a million dollars of funding from the Freemasons Roskill Foundation will benefit innovative research into Alzheimers, Huntingtons and Parkinsons disease at the University of Auckland.

Read how the award will advance the innovative research on these diseases at the University’s Centre for Brain Research (CBR).

Warm congratulations to the Freemasons for their 125th Anniversary Celebration of Freemasonary in New Zealand.


Faculty grant success

Three of our faculty’s researchers recently received a Health Research Council Explorer Grant in 2015 of $150,000.

Congratulations to:

  • Dr Stefanie Vandevijvere, a research fellow in global health and food policy at the School of Population Health. She will use her Explorer Grant to develop and test approaches for engaging and empowering New Zealanders to take actions that will make their food and physical activity environments healthier. Read more
  • Dr Justin O’Sullivan (Liggins Insitute) is researching new way of understanding the activation of cells that migrate through the body to maintain health – or cause diseases such as cancer. Results from this research will form the basis for a unifying theory for cell  activation that includes DNA folding, epigenetics, and gene regulation. Read more
  • Dr Anthony Phillips, a surgical researcher, whose team is developing a device to perform routine oxidative stress measurements in patients for the first time. The device uses technology called cyclic voltammetry that is widely used in the antioxidant food industry, but which has never been used for clinical use in acute and critically ill patients. Read more


Image of Dr Stefanie Vandevijvere (School of Population Health)
Dr Stefanie Vandevijvere (School of Population Health)
Image of Dr Justin O’Sullivan (Liggins Insitute)
Dr Justin O’Sullivan (Liggins Insitute)