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Announcing the professional staff awards, vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne said the expanded list of awards reflected a remarkable year in which all university staff had "gone above and beyond the call of duty" to meet the challenges of Covid-19.
In 2013 the university got its first containment laboratory with physical containment level 3 status (PC3) for working with the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Ms Coleman undertook oversight of the laboratory, writing its operating manual and training staff.
In March this year she took on additional responsibilities with the PC3 lab as researchers had to grow clinical samples of Sars-Cov-2 in order to prepare standards for Southern Community Laboratories as part of New Zealand's Covid-19 response.
She had shown exceptional leadership, having helped write the standard operating procedures for working with this virus, oversaw the refresher training of the scientist working with the material and helped him throughout the lockdown period, university officials said.
Awards for exceptional performance by professional staff: Cate Bardwell, library, outstanding leadership and humanity; Communications Office, a key contributor to the university community; e-conferencing team, guided hundreds of staff and students to move teaching and learning online in response to Covid-19 pandemic; Health, Safety and WellBeing Award (team) University of Otago Wellington Leisure and Sport, contributed to mental and physical wellbeing on Wellington campus; Health, Safety and WellBeing Award, Jenine Upritchard, Sir John Walsh Research Institute, responsible for health and safety planning and implementation for Faculty of Dentistry Clinical Services Building; Award for Sustainable Practice by Staff (team): University Union food and retail outlets, had saved more than 100,000 paper cups from going to landfill.