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Dirk De Ridder was awarded the Dean's Medal at the event held at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, though he was overseas so could not attend.
The medal, one of more than 30 awards announced at the function, is given for significant and long-standing research achievement.
Dunedin School of Medicine dean Barry Taylor said Prof De Ridder, who holds the Neurological Foundation Chair in Neurosurgery, is a leader in neuromodulation, or the application of magnetic and electric stimuli to modify brain function.
''His research opens the way to understanding how you might change brain function to deal with some of the chronic problems we are facing in the country at the moment.''
Prof de Ridder (52) divides his time between Dunedin and his native Belgium.
Other winners were. -
Research development investment award: Dr Michael Tatley; health service delivery grant: Dr Carol Atmore and team; best collaboration: Lisa Kremer, Assoc Prof David Reith, Assoc Prof Roland Broadbent, Dr Liza Edmonds, Assoc Prof Natalie Medlicott, Frances McCaffrey and Dr Mary-Jane Sime; best published paper by a masters or PhD student: Sarada Ketharnathan; research publication awards: Dr Andrew Reynolds,Prof Robert Walker, Dr Charlene Rapsey; research support person award: Janelle Tangney; Dunedin School of Medicine prizes and scholarships: Gil Barbezat Summer; studentship award: Vaughn Ticar; clinical research scholarship: Dr Carol Atmore, Ibtihalat Mohamed; Emily Johnston scholarship: Gianna Salis; Lauren Weaver; Frances G. Cotter scholarship: Ibtihalat Mohamed; Dunbar scholarship: Shelley Mitchell; Lady King scholarship: Annika Sjoeholm; Dunedin Jan Breward award research excellence in general practice: Dr Sharon Leitch (general practice and rural health); excellence in research support: Prof John McMillan (bioethics centre), Susan Bell (preventive and social medicine), Jacqueline Ludgate (pathology), Ali Cameron (office of the dean), Rachel Sayers (women's and children's health); early career research award: Dr Sarah Donald (preventive and social medicine); departmental support person: Willemijn De Bruin (medicine); new researcher start up awards: Dr Sean Coffey, Dr Sharon Pattison, Dr Megan Anakin, Dr Adele Woolley, Dr Helen Harcombe, Dr Susan Jack, Associate Prof Sue Crengle.