Ready Steady Learn

Academic staff from the University feature on a sponsored weekly slot on 95bFM, where they discuss various aspects of their research.

About Ready Steady Learn

The Ready Steady Learn slot on 95bFM is sponsored by the University of Auckland and gives us a chance to showcase the work of some of our academic staff.

This page will highlight the more recent episodes of the show. For a more comprehensive list of podcasts, please visit bFMs page for Ready Steady Learn.


Distinguished Professor Stephen Davies - The philosophy of art

Professor Stephen Davies is a leading scholar in the philosophy of art, particularly music. His expertise is diverse though - he has also written extensively on birds, Balinese dance, ethics and political philosophy. On the philosophy of music, Davies is particularly well known for his writings on the expression of emotion in music.

His current research looks at evolution and art. He is writing a book on aesthetics, art, and evolution in which he critically reviews proposals by evolutionary psychologists, ethologists, and philosophers about connections between our evolved human nature and our aesthetic tastes and predilection for art.

Associate Professor Cameron Grant, Influenza study

Dr Cameron Grant is an Associate Professor at The University of Auckland and a consultant paediatrician at the Starship Children’s Hospital. He is the Associate Director of Growing Up in New Zealand.

Cameron’s research focuses on the prevention of disease and improvement in health by immunisation or by improved nutrition. Together with Nikki Turner, Director of the Immunisation Advisory Centre, Cameron is a lead investigator for the Southern Hemisphere Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Research and Surveilllance (SHIVERS) study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control in the United States, is investigating influenza and serious chest infections such pneumonia as well as other lower respiratory tract infections.

The study began surveillance in 2012 on all people who are hospitalised with pneumonia and other serious respiratory infections at North Shore, Waitakere, Starship, Middlemore, Kidz First, and Auckland Hospital and will continue over the next five years. It looks at how the bacteria or viruses interact with each other and the host as well as assessing influenza vaccines: how well the vaccine has protected people against getting influenza or getting more severe disease and ended up in hospital; and also how well the health care system is doing in delivering vaccines to those most at risk.

Dr Trecia Wouldes, P and pregnancy

Trecia Wouldes is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Psychological Medicine in the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. She is a developmental psychologist. Her main research and teaching interests are the early development of infants at risk from prenatal drug exposure and infant mental health.

For the past 10 years she have been involved in research that explores the development of infants and young children born to women who have used psychoactive drugs during their pregnancy. During this time she completed the first and to date the only systematic study in New Zealand on the effect of maternal methadone maintenance treatment on the physiological and psychological development of the fetus, the neonate and the infant.

This research has been extended to include two collaborative research projects: The first is a collaborative study with Associate Professor Lianne Woodward at Canterbury University and Dr Carl Kuschel, Clinical Director of National Women's Health. This study is currently investigating the neurological outcomes of infants exposed antenatally to methadone using MRI.

The second is a collaborative research project with Professor Barry Lester and Dr Lyn LaGasse at the Brown Center for the Study of Children at Risk at Brown University in the United States. This study is a five-site, multi-disciplinary study that is currently investigating the developmental outcomes of infants and young children who were exposed antenatally to methamphetamine (P, Pure, Ecstasy, BZP). Through this research she has come to understand the challenges for families where the mothers and often the fathers are both dependent on drugs - lives often full of chaos due to the illicit nature of the drugs they are using, and the psychological problems of depression and anxiety that often go along with their addictions.

Dr Leonard Bell, Jewish lives in New Zealand

Dr Leonard Bell of the Art History Department has co-edited a book with Dr Diana Morrow, a professional historian, on Jewish Lives in New Zealand. It encapsulates the immense impact of Jewish people in NZ. Jewish Lives in New Zealand is a compelling look at the disproportionately profound impact Jewish people have had in New Zealand since the 1840s, when just 20 citizens were registered as being Jewish.

Today, the total number is probably more than 20,000. The roll call for New Zealanders of Jewish decent is impressive - John Barnett, Vincent Ward, Marti Friedlander, Sir Peter Gluckman, Dove-Myer Robinson, John Goldwater, Frank Hofmann, and, stretching right back into New Zealand’s history, eminent founding families such as the Myers, Nathans, Fishers, Paykels and Hallensteins. They are people who have given — and continue to give — so much to New Zealand society, across many fields of endeavour: politics, business, academia, journalism, medicine, science, arts and culture.

Dr Rochelle Constantine, Whale researchers call for speed limits

Dr Rochelle Constantine from the School of Biological Sciences studies the behaviour and ecology of whales and dolphins. She leads a long-term project studying endangered Bryde’s whales in Auckland and Northland, and recently published a report revealing why so many of the whales are killed by ships in the Hauraki Gulf.

The research team found that the whales have an unusual behaviour pattern, spending the majority of their time in the top 12 meters of water in the Hauraki Gulf, and are particularly close to the surface at night time when they are resting and likely to be less vigilant.

This makes them extremely vulnerable to being hit by vessels of all kinds, especially large ships that are highly likely to kill the whales when they do collide. Over the years, examination of Bryde’s whales found dead in the Hauraki Gulf has shown that most were killed by ship-strike. The new research helps to explain this and based on the results Rochelle and colleagues are calling for speed restrictions on vessels in the Hauraki Gulf.