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A personal note from your Associate Dean

Dear Postgraduates and supervisors,

Welcome to the last Postgraduate Insights of 2016. As we all prepare for a well-deserved break over the Christmas period, we also take time to look back and reflect with great satisfaction on the achievements of our research students in 2016.

During 2016, six doctoral student theses were recognized for their outstanding quality and were placed on the Dean of Graduate Studies list of excellence. In this last issue for 2016, we celebrate these students and their achievements along with other important updates, news and recognitions.

With the success in attendance and feedback on the Inaugural Doctoral workshop Series in 2016 I am happy to announce the new workshop series for 2017. Registration for the sessions is now open.

I will return to office on 9th of January. I wish you all Happy Holidays and look forward to continue working with you in 2017.

Best wishes,

Trevor Sherwin
Associate Dean Postgraduate
Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences



Best thesis recognition

Please join me in celebrating our six doctoral student theses that were recognized for their outstanding quality and as such have been placed on the Dean of Graduate Studies list of excellence:

Deborah Williamson from the School of Medical Sciences
Supervisors: Dr Stephen Ritchie, Assoc Prof Mark Thomas, Dr Michael Baker, Prof John Fraser
Thesis Title: Staphylococcus aureus infections in New Zealand: A clinical and molecular epidemiological study

Fiona Crichton from the School of Medicine
Supervisors: Prof Keith Petrie, Prof Timothy Cundy
Thesis Title: Tilting at Windmills: The power of expectations to influence symptom reporting by people exposed to wind turbine sound

Bonnie Gardner from the School of Medical Sciences
Supervisor: Assoc Prof Maurice Curtis
Thesis Title: Cell proliferation and metal accumulation in the subventricular zone and olfactory bulb in Parkinson’s disease

Miss Amy Chan from the School of Medicine
Supervisors: Dr Jeff Harrison, Prof Edwin Mitchell
Thesis Title: Improving adherence and asthma outcomes in school aged children with asthma

Nicki Jackson from the School of Population Health
Supervisor: Prof Shanti Ameratunga, AP Simon Denney
Thesis title: The role of the neighbourhood in adolescent alcohol use

Ivana Nakarada Kordic from the School of Medicine
Supervisors: AP Jennifer Weller, Prof Alan Merry, Dr Craig Webster
Thesis Title: Team mental models, team coordination processes, and team performance in the multidisciplinary operating theatre



Call for VC’s Prize applications

Vice Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon

Calls for nominations for the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Best Doctoral Thesis will be going out in the week commencing 16 January 2017.

In 2015, two of our Doctoral Students won the Vice Chancellors Best Thesis Awards. Our new graduates, Dr Sarah Bristow in the School of Medicine and Dr Ankita Umapathy in the School of Optometry, proudly secured two of these prizes for FMHS. 

At the end of each calendar year, the best doctoral theses from all faculties are nominated for one of five university-wide prizes that are awarded for the doctoral theses of most outstanding quality. 

Nominations should be forwarded through Academic Heads (Heads of Department/School) to Associate Dean (Postgraduate). Nominations can only be for those candidates who have fully completed (RQMT) between January-December 2016 (i.e. the hard-bound copy of the thesis handed in and a digital copy deposited in ResearchSpace).

This early announcement is to allow supervisors and Academic Heads to prepare the submissions. The closing date for submissions will be announced in the New Year.


Best Publication recognition

I am pleased to announce the launch of an annual prize that will be awarded by the FMHS for the best publication by a doctoral student in the calendar year. A call for nominations will be sent out in the New Year.

First author papers by a doctoral student that have reached publication stage online or in print during 2016 are eligible for consideration. Criteria to be taken into account will include importance of the publication and the impact in the field.


HealtheX 10th Birthday

2013-09-12 HealtheX 009

In 2016, the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences celebrated the 10th anniversary of HealtheX. Once again we were treated to our doctoral, masters and honours students presenting their world class research at a conference of international standing, organized by no-other than the students themselves.

My hearty congratulations go to the HealtheX Co-chairs Yukti Vyas and Brittney Black along with the whole team for running a superb event.


Success at Exposure

Exposure pamphlet flexi

The high expectations of achievement set at HealtheX within our Faculty have translated across to the Exposure Postgraduate Research Exposition, the University wide showcase for postgraduate research.

Two of our students achieved success in the main presentation category with students Himanshu Wadhwa and Samuel Blanchett taking out first and third place for the Oral Competition category at the recent Exposure event. This was particularly pleasing for the members of my own Lab where Himanshu completed his Honours thesis this year.


Success at 3MT

Kate Riegle van West presenting her 3MT

The University of Auckland Doctoral 3 Minute Thesis Competition winner, Kate Riegle van West went on to win the Universitas 21 3MT Virtual Competition with her presentation titled "Poi for your health: A spin on ageing'.  This is the first time that a University of Auckland student has won this 3MT Competition! Kate is co-supervised by Cathy Stinear from our faculty. Congratulations to Kate on her achievement.


Success to come

Maori and Pacific Health Career Pathways 2017 23 Cover

So far this year our doctoral enrolment headcount stands at 85 which is higher than any of the previous 5 years and up 15% on 2015. Pleasingly, 8 of these students are Maori and 3 more from the Pacific Island community.

I am keen to see that our increase in doctoral student numbers is mirrored by a healthy increase in the quality of doctoral experience which will see our students competing for prizes and positions in the future.


Doctoral Workshop Series 2017

The faculty is offering workshops in 2017 for new and current Doctoral supervisors in the following topics:

1. Faculty Doctoral briefing
2. Preliminary and Full thesis proposal
3. FindaThesis
4. Application for Admission (AFA)
5. Provisional year review




FMHS Doctoral briefing

A faculty specific version of the ORIDOC which is an accredited two-hour introduction to the policy and process environment governing the supervision and the examination of doctoral students at the University of Auckland. The ORIDOC is mandatory for those new to supervision with recommendation that all supervisors refresh their institutional knowledge every five years.

More information on Supervision accreditation and development as well as additional dates for ORIDOC sessions are available at CLeaR.

Facilitator: Caroline Daley, Dean of Graduate Studies

Mon 13 Feb 10.30am-12.30pm



Wed 15 Feb




Preliminary and Full thesis proposal

This session will cover the new FMHS form that links the preliminary thesis proposal and full thesis proposal processes and will also cover the content and requirements of the full thesis proposal.

Facilitator: Trevor Sherwin

Tue 7 Mar





An overview followed by a practical session using the FindaThesis site.

Facilitator: Marleena Holmberg

Tue 11 Apr




Preliminary and Full thesis proposal/FindaThesis

Combined session

Facilitator: Trevor Sherwin and Marleena Holmberg

Tue 4 Apr




Application for Admission (AFA)

This session will provide on overview of how the AFA system works and how to facilitate applications through the process.

Facilitator: Trevor Sherwin

Wed 10 May




Provisional year review

University standard provisional year review process will be explained and open to questions.

Facilitator: Trevor Sherwin

Wed 14 Jun




Application for Admission (AFA)/Provisional year review

Combined session

Facilitator: Rob McNeill


Tue 13 Jun




To register please contact Marleena Holmberg with details of which session/s you would like to attend:

Marleena Holmberg 
Executive Assistant, FMHS
DDI +64 9 923 2402 Internal (82402)