Health & Sci­ence

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DR ME­LANIE CHE­UNG Neu­ro­bi­ol­o­gist

A re­search fel­low at Auck­land Univer­sity’s Cen­tre for Brain Re­search, Me­lanie leads the world-first re­search project ‘FightHD’ for peo­ple at risk of neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­or­der Huntington’s dis­ease, which is es­pe­cially preva­lent in New Zealand. Fight HD aims to de­lay and po­ten­tially re­verse cog­ni­tive de­cline us­ing neu­ro­plas­tic­ity: the brain’s abil­ity to ‘re­wire’ it­self. Early re­sults show a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of in­di­vid­u­als with broadly re­stored abil­i­ties. Me­lanie’s jour­ney is also a per­sonal tri­umph; she re­turned to uni four years af­ter be­ing kicked out for fail­ing her pa­pers two years in a row.

DR SIOUXSIE WILES Mi­cro­bi­ol­o­gist

Siouxsie is tack­ling the cri­sis of an­tibi­otic re­sis­tance by search­ing for new an­tibi­otics from New Zealand fungi. As head of the Bi­o­lu­mi­nes­cent Su­per­bugs Lab at the Univer­sity of Auck­land, the work she and her team are do­ing is in­flu­enc­ing re­searchers worldwide. Siouxsie has also pi­o­neered a new way to study how in­fec­tious bac­te­ria evolve, earn­ing a spot on an in­ter­na­tional team awarded US$3.4m by the US Na­tional In­sti­tute of Health to look at ways to iden­tify dis­ease out­breaks. Her book An­tibi­otic Re­sis­tance: The End of Mod­ern Medicine? has won praise for draw­ing the pub­lic’s at­ten­tion to the is­sue.

DR SU­SAN MOR­TON Epi­demi­ol­o­gist

Su­san is chang­ing lives as the founder/ di­rec­tor of Grow­ing Up in New Zealand: the most com­pre­hen­sive study about the lives of New Zealand chil­dren and their fam­i­lies ever un­der­taken. The study tracks the de­vel­op­ment of al­most 7000 chil­dren born eight years ago and its find­ings into how child­hood fac­tors in­flu­ence later out­comes are help­ing to shape pub­lic pol­icy. Su­san’s work has played a large part in bring­ing about change such as more paid parental leave, work­ing smoke alarms in rental homes, and more sup­port for the most vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren in their first 1000 days of life.

DR ROBYN TOOMATH En­docri­nol­o­gist

Robyn is clin­i­cal di­rec­tor of Gen­eral Medicine at Auck­land City Hos­pi­tal and has had a prom­i­nent ca­reer as a diabetes spe­cial­ist. In 2001, the ris­ing num­bers of peo­ple, es­pe­cially younger pa­tients, in her diabetes clinic led her to found ad­vo­cacy group Fight the Obe­sity Epi­demic. For 14 years she was a vo­cal cam­paigner for pub­lic health mea­sures to pro­tect peo­ple (in par­tic­u­lar chil­dren) from an obe­sity-in­duc­ing en­vi­ron­ment. Now she has writ­ten a book ti­tled Fat Sci­ence ex­plain­ing why in­di­vid­u­als are not to blame for obe­sity, what is re­spon­si­ble, and how we can bring about change.

DR ROS­ALIND ARCHER Pro­fes­sor

As Auck­land Univer­sity’s first‐ever fe­male En­gi­neer­ing De­part­ment head, Ros­alind is at the helm of a fac­ulty ranked in the top 20 aca­demic units in New Zealand. The Deloitte En­ergy En­gi­neer of the Year for 2016, in­ter­na­tional key­note speaker and in­ter­na­tion­ally‐re­spected con­sul­tant, she also works with in­dus­try to turn her aca­demic find­ings into real-world re­sults. Her re­search de­vel­ops tools to in­te­grate knowl­edge and fore­cast the be­hav­iour of oil, gas and geo­ther­mal reser­voirs. She also men­tors women via the univer­sity’s Women in Lead­er­ship pro­gramme.

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