Seven University academics have been elected as Ngā Ahurei a Te Apārangi Fellows for their distinction in research and advancement of science, technology or the humanities.

Associate Professor Selina Tusitala Marsh: former Poet Laureate.

Being made a Fellow is an honour that recognises distinction in research, scholarship or the advancement of knowledge at the highest international standards. Fellows can use the post-nominal ‘FRSNZ’ after their name to indicate their membership of this elite group. The 19 new Fellows (including one honorary member) were announced by the Royal Society.

University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Jim Metson said these nominations come hard on the heels of five other University academics recognised as among the most cited in the world, emphasising the depth of research across the University.

“As a research-led university, it is gratifying to see our high performing academics recognised by their peers within New Zealand and internationally," Professor Metson said.

“It is a testament to how excellent research not only expands the sum of human knowledge, but can directly and quickly make a real difference in the lives of people here in Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally. It is particularly pleasing to see the very diverse disciplines in which these academics are demonstrating leadership.

“The University is very proud of our newest Ngā Ahurei a Te Apārangi Fellows."

The new Fellows are:

Associate Professor Mark Sagar, CEO Soul Machines Ltd and Auckland Bioengineering Institute (ABI)

Mark Sagar is a pioneer in the computational modelling of the face. His early work simulating facial appearance and movement received two scientific and technical Academy Awards. His later research has gone deeper under the skin, simulating facial musculature, behavioural circuits, and the motivating cognitive processes. Mark is re-imagining how people interact with technology, humanising it in appearance and in the way it processes information. By creating interactive models of human cognition and emotion, he aims to (1) give new insights into human nature, exploring how interconnected neural processing models give rise to intelligent and emotional behaviour; (2) build the foundation for future human-intelligent machine co-operation; and (3) democratise artificial intelligence by making it intuitive to use in a face-to-face manner by millions.

Professor Caroline Crowther, Liggins Institute

Caroline Crowther is a maternal fetal medicine subspecialist recognised internationally for her landmark, large, multicentre clinical trials and translation of research findings into guidelines, practice and policy change, leading to improved maternal and perinatal health worldwide. Her work has changed care for women before preterm birth and for diabetes in pregnancy, and has led to substantially reduced death, disability and cerebral palsy in their newborn babies. Caroline has led significant development of evidence-based health care within New Zealand and Australia and beyond, including establishing the Australian and New Zealand Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Satellite and has been an advisor to the World Health Organisation on maternal and perinatal research priorities and care recommendations.

Professor Tim Mulgan, Humanities, Faculty of Arts

Tim Mulgan is a significant international scholar in moral philosophy and philosophy of religion. He is the author of five books and numerous journal articles and book chapters. He has made original contributions to discussions about the demands of morality, our obligations to future people, the moral significance of climate change, the purpose of the universe, and our place in the cosmos. Tim’s work has influenced other scholars in philosophy, and also in related disciplines including theology, development studies, environmental studies, political theory, institutional design and public health.

Associate Professor Selina Tusitala Marsh
, Humanities, Faculty of Arts

Poet Laureate and scholar Selina Tusitala Marsh ONZM is renowned for her outstanding creative and scholarly contribution to Pacific literature and Pacific Literary Studies. A prolific author and award-winning poet, she has published widely. Her poetry has appeared on the Top 5 NZ Best Seller List and NZ Listener’s Best 100 Books, in Best New Zealand Poems, in the prestigious The Poetry Archive (UK), and on the renowned US Poetry Foundation website. The Commonwealth Poet for 2016, she composed and performed a poem for Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on behalf of the Commonwealth member states. She was appointed New Zealand Poet Laureate (2017-2019). A notable scholar and teacher, and hailing from the islands of Samoa and Tuvalu on her mother's side, Selina has produced a distinctive style of Pacific literary criticism, developed Pacific pedagogies for teaching literature, and mentors Māori and Pacific students. She was awarded the 2019 Humanities Aronui Medal by Royal Society Te Apārangi in recognition of her contribution.

Professor Jillian Cornish, School of Medicine, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

Jillian Cornish is an international leader and educator in bone biology and its application to orthopaedic research. She has identified a series of key bone regulatory molecules, thus elucidating important pathways in normal bone biology such as the close relationship between fat cells and bone cells as well as providing bone growth factors for potential use in orthopaedics. This work has been recognised by research awards from the International Combined Orthopaedic Research Societies, the Faculty of Science of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia, the New Zealand Society of Endocrinology, the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research, and the Australia and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society. Her current orthopaedic collaborations have the potential to alter clinical outcomes for patients with severe skeletal injuries and bone cancers.

Professor Merryn Gott, Nursing, Faculty of Medical Health Sciences

Merryn Gott is internationally recognised for the critical social science lens she brings to addressing what the World Health Organisation describes as “one of the most significant public health challenges of the 21st century”, namely the need to reduce suffering at the end of life. Her evidence has informed practice and policy in Aotearoa New Zealand, the UK, the United States and Canada, ultimately leading to positive impact for patients and whānau. Her work has also led to theoretical and methodological advances in palliative care research internationally. She directs the only bicultural palliative care research group internationally, recognised as world-leading for its equity focus.

Professor Nicola Dalbeth, School of Medicine. Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences/Auckland District Health Board

Nicola Dalbeth is a rheumatologist and professor of medicine who leads a research programme in gout, an arthritis of major relevance to Aotearoa New Zealand. Her work has identified novel mechanisms of disease and defined treatment approaches for gout. In addition, she has led international initiatives to define central concepts of gout, including nomenclature of disease, disease staging, and outcome measures. Her research in both pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments has been incorporated into international gout management guidelines.

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