Health & Science
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.