Our new Royal Society Fellows

University of Auckland academics make up nearly half of the 20 new Fellows elected to New Zealand Royal Society Te Apārangi last week.

Professor Merryn Tawhai

Bioengineers Merryn Tawhai and Simon Malpas; scientist Cather Simpson; philosopher Gillian Brock; Professor of Indigenous Studies Linda Waimarie Nikora and Professor of Law David Williams; Ophthalmologist Charles McGhee and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Cynthia Farquhar were elected to the Academy for their international distinction in research, scholarship and the advancement of knowledge.

They will be inducted early next year, 100 years after the first 20 Fellows were inducted in 1919, and will be able use the post-nominal ‘FRSNZ’ after their name to acknowledge this honour.

Our new fellows

Professor Merryn Tawhai is deputy director of the Auckland Bioengineering Institute and director of the MedTech CoRE. Her research is at the international forefront of computational physiology of the respiratory system. It is unique for its potential to address significant gaps in current clinical tools for diagnosis of lung disease and testing interventional strategies before patient treatment.

Professor Simon Malpas is a principal investigator for Auckland Bioengineering Institute’s Implantable Devices Group and is at the leading edge of the development of the next generation of medical devices utilising IP in the areas of wireless power, communication and sensing of pressure.

Professor David Williams is recognised internationally for his originality of thinking in the areas of constitutional law, colonial legal history and the Treaty of Waitangi. He has combined his expertise in history and law to produce ground-breaking studies which have challenged previous conventional wisdom and recast the body of knowledge on Treaty of Waitangi jurisprudence.

Professor Gillian Brock is one of the most significant scholars currently working in the field of global justice. Her scholarship spans ethics, political and social philosophy, several applied ethics fields and various interdisciplinary areas, including those at the intersection of philosophy and public policy. She was a recent Fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and joint winner of the Amartya Sen Prize from Yale University.

Professor Linda Waimaire Nikora is an outstanding Māori scholar and leader whose research has been positively transformative for Māori and for the discipline of psychology. With colleagues, she has led important research investigations into Māori health, culture change and resilience, death, Indigenous psychology and Māori sexuality. Professor Nikora has contributed fundamental research instrumental to the return of Te Urewera National Park to her iwi, Tuhoe.

Professor Cather Simpson
is internationally-renowned for her contributions to fundamental new knowledge about how light interacts with matter. Her research in physics and chemistry has achieved seminal insight into multi-disciplinary areas ranging from ultrafast dynamics of heme proteins, laser-generated force on sperm, and laser beam-shaping to transform materials at the microscale. She is founding inventor in two science startup companies, including Silicon Valley award-winner Engender.

Professor Gillian Brock

Professor Charles McGhee is a corneal and cataract surgeon and Head of Ophthalmology at the University of Auckland. He has grown the ophthalmology group from five to more than 60 staff and doctoral students, spanning clinical and laboratory eye research. He is also founding Director of the New Zealand National Eye Centre, bringing together more than 120 ophthalmologists, optometrists and visual scientists in an internationally-recognised centre and has been key to developing a new generation of New Zealand ophthalmic clinicians and visual scientists.

Professor Cynthia Farquhar is a Postgraduate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and a consultant clinician with the Auckland District Health Board. She has initiated and led many clinical trials and Cochrane systematic reviews in the field of gynaecology and fertility. In 2014 she became a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to women’s health and received the 2018 Liley Medal from the Health Research Council of New Zealand for her research into the fertility treatment and intrauterine insemination.

For more information

Tess Redgrave |Media Adviser
Tel: 09 923 7383  Mob:027 562 5868
Email: t.redgrave@auckland.ac.nz

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