researcher in the area of chronic metabolic diseases,
including diabetes, has won the Otago School of Medical
Sciences' top award.
Associate Prof Tony Merriman, whose recent work included
finding a new way sugary drinks increased the risks of
developing gout, was last week named the school's
distinguished researcher of the year.
Prof Merriman's research focuses on the genetic basis of
chronic metabolic diseases including diabetes, gout and
He has been a key leader in the widespread application of
genetic analysis to these conditions in New Zealand and has
received accolades from external organisations, including the
''Best Science Paper'' award from the Australian Rheumatology
Association last year.
He has been a principal investigator on research grants
totalling nearly $14 million.
Prof Merriman said receiving the award was nice, but being
able to carry out the research he did was reward enough.
''I quite enjoy research, so I consider myself lucky to be
paid for what I really enjoy to do,'' he said.
The reward also acknowledged the work of his collaborators,
support staff and research participants, he said.
Prof Frank Griffin, who has led a research team devoted to
solving animal health problems in the deer industry and also
held leading positions in the school, was given the
''prestige'' award for service to the school.
Like Prof Merriman, Prof Griffin said being able to do what
he loved was reward enough.
Being recognised by your peer group was a special accolade,
because they were the people you had worked with for a long
time, he said.
''It has been an absolute joy to work in such a collegial
environment. I would happily work at the university for no
money, if one could afford to,'' Prof Griffin said.
He believed he had taught about 70,000 students in the more
than 40 years he had been at the university.
The other recipients were. - Prof Parry Guilford (commercial
research award), Dr Anita Dunbier (emerging researcher
award), Dr Christine Jasoni (distinguished academic teacher),
Dr Judith Bateup (distinguished teaching fellow), Amanda
Wyatt (research support staff award), Ross Marshall-Seeley
(distinguished research support staff award), Ellena Whelan
(sustained research support staff award), Catherine McCaughan
(sustained research support staff award), Prof Ian McLennan
(excellence in postgraduate supervision) and Dr Richard
Macknight (best paper award).