Two senior University of Otago academics, Associate Prof
Craig Rodger and Dr Sarah Young, have won Fulbright awards,
enabling them to undertake research for about five months in
the United States.
The Fulbright New Zealand Scholar Awards will enable Prof
Rodger, a physicist, and Dr Young, who heads the Otago
pathology department, to travel to the US to pursue their
respective research interests, mainly in 2015.
Prof Rodger plans to study the loss of electrons from the Van
Allen radiation belt into the atmosphere, at the University
of Iowa, in the middle of next year.
He was also recently named as one of nine international space
research leaders who will co-ordinate scientific projects for
the Scientific Committee on Solar Terrestrial Physics over
the next five years.
Prof Rodger was ''thrilled'' to receive the award, which
provided about $25,000. He said he would be able to spend ''a
whole lot of time'' with some of the world's top space
scientists at Iowa University, which was deeply involved in
Van Allen belt research.
Prof James Van Allen, who discovered the radiation belt which
bears his name, was previously based at the American
Prof Rodger said it was also ''really nice'' to be following
in the footsteps of the late and eminent New Zealand space
scientist Dr Bill Pickering.
Dr Pickering, who had long headed Nasa's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory (JPL) in California, had earlier also received a
Dr Young said her award, involving about $30,000, would
enable her to work with some of the world's top research
scientists and to use ''the most amazing [research]
technology'' in the United States.
Dr Young is going to Texas Children's Hospital Baylor College
of Medicine, in Houston, and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester,
Minnesota, to work on development of a vaccine and immune
therapies for cancer.
Late this year she will initially travel to Texas, where she
will undertake research with Prof Helen Heslop, a
distinguished University of Otago medical graduate who is
interim head of the Centre for Cell and Gene Therapy at
She will undertake research at the Mayo Clinic on a separate
visit later next year.
The Fulbright award, and other funding from Otago University,
would also enable her to take her husband, Chris Scott, and
their two children to the United States, she said.