IRANZ members’ awards and honours

The ASI Burnet Oration medal presented to Franca Ronchese, head of the immune cell biology team at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research. Image: Franca Ronchese, Malaghan Institute.

IRANZ members have received a plethora of awards and honours in the past two months, both in-house and in the wider community.

Franca Ronchese, head of the immune cell biology team at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research gave the prestigious Burnet Oration at the 47th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australasian Society for Immunology - ASI in Perth earlier this month. Congratulations also to Nicole Jones, who recently completed her joint Malaghan Institute of Medical Research and Victoria University of Wellington PhD. Nicole is working with Malaghan's cancer cell biology team. PhD student Olivia Burn, studying breast cancer vaccines at the Malaghan Institute, supervised by Rob Weinkove, Ian Hermans and Brett Delahunt (Otago), was awarded the University of Otago PhD research prize for her work. Rob Weinkove, Clinical Director at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, has been awarded a Clinical Practitioner Research Fellowship worth more than $800,000 over five years, for his clinical and translational research into CAR T-cell therapy.

At MRINZ, Richard Beasley has been appointed as the New Zealand representative on the Human Frontier Science Programme Board. In addition, both he and Alex Semprini will represent MRINZ on the Clinical Research Initiative for Global Health – an initiative which serves as a support structure for international collaboration on clinical research for the benefit of patients, healthcare professionals, and health systems.

At Motu, Isabelle Sin has been made a Senior Fellow and has been appointed to the Government’s Fair Pay Agreement Working Group; Suzi Kerr has been appointed as Chief Economist at Environmental Defense Fund in New York and will start there in April 2019, but will continue her connection with Motu in an advisory role.

In accolades for the research company itself, according to Research Papers in Economics (RePEc) as of November 2018, Motu is among the top ten economic think tanks in the world and is the top-ranked economics organisation in New Zealand. RePEc ranks all economists and economic research organisations in the world based on the quantity and quality of their research publications.

Lincoln Agritech was recognised for its cutting-edge innovations at the annual Canterbury Westpac Champion Business Awards, where the research company won the ChristchurchNZ Champion Innovation award, which honours businesses that have developed products, services or business model innovations to improve commercial performance, effectiveness or customer engagement.

Brian Moorhead from Lincoln Agritech’s Hamilton office, was recently awarded the prestigious NZ Society of Soil Science L.C. Blakemore Award by Dave Houlbrooke, the Society’s immediate past-president. This award is only presented every two years and recognises outstanding achievement and performance in soil science technical support. Brian has made tremendous contributions to various projects on optimising agricultural/horticultural land use and minimising negative environmental effects.

At CRL Energy, Troy Dougherty was a finalist for Wellingtonian of the Year in the Science and Technology Category for his work, as chief technology officer at Nuenz, around developing and commercialising advanced materials and novel polymer and metal composites.

LASRA scientists attended the Asian International Leather Science and Technology Conference for the first time. With Sujay Prabakar presenting his paper ‘New insights into chrome tanning: When structure meets protein chemistry’. Sujay was accompanied by Young International Leather Scientist winner, Yi Zhang, who presented the results of his work funded through the Young Leather Scientist Grant in a poster session.

From TERNZ, John de Pont completed his second and final two-year term as President of the International Forum for Road Transport Technology (IFRTT), at the recent HVTT15 symposium in Rotterdam. John is a member of two OECD-ITF working groups which are currently finalising their reports for publication. These groups are on: “Policies to extend the life of road assets” and “Intelligent Transport Systems for Heavy Goods Vehicles”. He has also recently been commissioned by the Australian National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to lead a review of their Performance-Based Standards (PBS) tyre standards and operations.

At the Cawthron Institute, technician Josh Fitzgerald was the recipient of the QEII technician award. He recently spent seven weeks working at the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) and the University of Technology Sydney where he used SIMS’ liquid chromatography mass spectrometer (LCMS) to screen a selection of microalgae for Ciguatoxins - potent marine toxins produced by some microalgae and found in tropical reef systems.

Date posted: 13 December 2018

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