The University of
Otago will award an honorary doctorate of science degree to
one of its most distinguished graduates, Prof Sir Peter
Gluckman, this weekend.
Sir Peter is one of the world's leading medical researchers,
focusing on human growth and development, and has served as
the first Prime Minister's Chief Science Adviser since 2009.
He will receive his honorary degree at the first of two Otago
graduation ceremonies at the Dunedin Town Hall, at 1pm on
Saturday, and also give the graduation address. Otago
vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne said Sir Peter was a
leading researcher internationally and was ''passionate about
translating scientific discoveries into real-world benefits
for health and wellbeing''.
After his schooling in Auckland, Sir Peter studied medicine
at Otago University in 1967, gaining MBChB qualifications in
He has made many contributions to international medical
research, and is the co-inventor of a ''cooling cap'' that
has played a key role throughout the world in limiting brain
damage in newborns.
Sir Peter has also been awarded the Sir Charles Hercus Medal,
has become a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order
of Merit for services to medicine, and has been elected a
Fellow of the Royal Society of London.
After graduating from Otago and training as a paediatrician,
he undertook further studies, including as a staff member, at
the University of California, San Francisco, on how foetal
hormone systems developed and foetal growth was controlled.
Sir Peter returned to Auckland in 1980 to establish a
perinatal physiology group funded by the then Medical
Research Council of New Zealand.
He also held several senior administrative positions at
Auckland University, including executive dean of the Faculty
of Medical and Health Sciences.
Sir Peter was appointed foundation director of the Liggins
Institute in 2001, also receiving New Zealand's top science
award, the Rutherford Medal, that year.
In 2003, he led the establishment of the National Research
Centre for Growth and Development, now known as Gravida, an
interinstitutional, interdisciplinary research network which
includes some Otago researchers.