Academics get 'well deserved' promotions

The University of Otago has promoted 24 of its leading academics to full professorships.

The new professors specialise in a diverse range of subjects, from dolphins and whales to cancer treatments.

Otago University vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne said promotions were ''hard earned'' and ''well deserved''.

''These appointments reflect the breadth and depth of the talent we enjoy here at Otago. The work of these individuals is of enormous value to the university and is often of considerable international significance,'' Prof Hayne said.

The following academics were promoted to full professorships, most being effective from February next year. -

• Michael Albert (department of computer science), whose research helps with the modelling of phenomena such as symmetry, genome rearrangement and data processing.

• Michael Baker (public health, in Wellington), who has researched New Zealand's unusually high rates of many infectious diseases.

• Chris Charles (medicine), a senior member of the Christchurch Heart Institute, which develops improved diagnostic tests for cardiovascular conditions.

• Steve Dawson (marine science), who studies the ecology and behaviour of dolphins and whales.

• Susan Dovey (general practice), whose research includes patient safety in general practice.

• Julian Eaton-Rye (biochemistry), who studies how plants harvest light, using Photosystem II.

• John Evans (obstetrics and gynaecology), who studies how cells in the human body are stimulated and inhibited, causing the body to operate the way it does.

• Sean Fitzsimons (geography), who studies glaciers and the processes of erosion beneath them.

• Liz Franz (psychology), who explores the psychological and neural processes underlying actions of the left and right hands in humans.

• Russell Frew (chemistry), who studies connections in the natural environment, which includes tracing the origin of illicit drug batches to a common source.

• Parry Guilford (biochemistry), who uses new-generation genetic technologies to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

• Jamin Halberstadt (psychology), who studies a diverse range of subjects including decision making, emotion, facial attractiveness, and social categorisation.

• Gary Hooper (orthopaedic surgery and musculoskeletal medicine), whose interests include running clinical trials investigating improving outcomes after joint replacement.

• Richard Jackson (National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies), who researches a range of topics bound together by an overall interest in the nature, causes, and resolution of political violence.

• Ian Jamieson (zoology), who studies avian conservation biology and molecular ecology.

• Etienne Nel (geography), who studies economic and urban geography, including urban livelihood and survival strategies in Africa.

• Elaine Reese (psychology), who studies how parents talk and read with their children in ways that help children's and adolescents' learning, memory, literacy, and wellbeing.

• Alison Rich (oral diagnostic and surgical sciences), who studies the causes of oral cancer, which accounts for about 2% of malignant tumours in New Zealand.

• Anthony Robins (computer science), who studies computational models of memory using artificial neural networks.

• Jae Jung Song (English and linguistics), who studies linguistic typology, syntax and language policy.

• Rachel Spronken-Smith (higher education development centre), whose two main areas of research are in the fields of higher education and geography.

• Lisa Stamp (medicine), who is director of the Canterbury rheumatology immunology research group and the University of Otago arthritis research theme.

• Margreet Vissers (pathology), who is a biochemist and cell biologist whose research focuses on acute infection and inflammation.

• David Wharton (zoology), who is interested in how organisms survive extreme environmental stress, including frogs and insects that survive ice forming within their bodies.

The following academics have been promoted to associate professor.-

Dr Simon Adamson (psychological medicine, Christchurch), Dr Greg Anderson (anatomy), Dr Ian Barber (anthropology and archaeology), Dr David Bell (College of Education), Judy Bellingham (music), Dr Hallie Buckley (anatomy), Dr Jim Cotter (physical education), Dr Jacob Edmond (English, linguistics), Shelley Griffiths (law), Dr Caroline Horwath (human nutrition), Dr Zhiyi Huang (computer science), Alan King (economics), Dr Jan McKenzie (psychological medicine, Christchurch), Dr Igor Meglinski (physics), Ross Notman (College of Education), Dr Nancy Rehrer (physical education), Dr Brian Roper (politics), Jacinta Ruru (law), Dr Diana Sarfati (public health, Wellington), Dr Michael Schultz (medicine), Dr Andrew Trotman (computer science), Dr Erika Wolf (history and art history).

The following academics have been promoted to research associate professor.-

Dr Haxby Abbott (surgical sciences), Dr Joseph Boden (psychological medicine, Christchurch), Dr Barbara Galland (women's and children's health), Dr Bev Lawton (primary healthcare and general practice, Wellington), Dr Chris Pemberton (medicine, Christchurch), Dr George Thomson (public health, Wellington).