Faculty of Science - Leading creativity and innovation in the sciences


Connect with us


Connecting with other women in the Faculty of Science and beyond is a great way to access support and information, and to build networks with individuals and organisations working to promote women in science. Our key faculty and departmental contacts are listed below.

Biological Sciences

Dr Jodie Johnston
Dr Jodie Johnston

"I'm a biochemist. I study proteins, probing what they look like, what they do and how they do it at the molecular level. I put what I find into a wider biological context and also use the information in various applied ways, for example, designing new anti-tuberculosis drugs. I mentor and train students to help them learn and develop their own skills in this field

"I have a background in both chemistry and biology, and a passion for understanding biology at the molecular level. It is an utter privilege to be able to 'see' a protein in action at the level of its atoms. I also love to communicate my passion to others that share it, and to teach up-and-coming scientists by fostering their passions, interests and development."

Dr Jodie Johnston
Phone: +64 9 923 7237
Email: jm.johnston@auckland.ac.nz

 

Biological Sciences

Dr Anne Gaskett
Dr Anne Gaskett

"I study, teach and make discoveries about how animals behave in nature. I’m an expert in orchids and their pollinators, a surprisingly complex and fascinating topic!

"I’m a lecturer so I teach classes, do research, and supervise masters and PhD students as they start their careers in Science.

"I’m also a mum with two little kids, and married to another biologist.

"Spending time in nature makes me feel good and I love that I’ve made this into a job that I can share with my family. I also love making discoveries, leading a team and being my own boss.

"My job is diverse, just like nature. I really love that."

Dr Anne Gaskett
Phone: +64 9 923 9505
Email: a.gaskett@auckland.ac.nz

Chemical Sciences

Professor Penny Brothers
Professor Penny Brothers

"I'm engaged in synthetic inorganic chemistry, making new compounds which have weird and wonderful structures and functions.

"Examples include sugars attached to small fluorescent molecules which will enable us to see where sugars are and what they are doing; a molecule containing cobalt that catalyses the light-driven production of hydrogen; and molecules based on the same structure as heme (in hemoglobin) that we are designing to use as gas sensors.

"I love the intellectual freedom to think about interesting problems and then work on solving them.

"I love doing this together with students here in Auckland, and international collaborators from all around the world."

Professor Penny Brothers
Phone: +64 9 923 8281
Email: p.brothers@auckland.ac.nz

Chemical Sciences

Dr Erin Leitao
Dr Erin Leitao

"I'm an inorganic chemist who is researching new ways to link elements together in an effort to create new functional materials.  

"I love that science helps us to explain the world around us. There are so many things that we as humans still do not understand, and doing scientific research helps us to solve these puzzles."

Dr Erin Leitao
Phone: +64 9 923 5567
Email: erin.leitao@auckland.ac.nz

Computer Science

Dr Patricia Riddle
Dr Patricia Riddle

"I'm a senior lecturer in the Deaprtment of Computer Science. My area of research is artificial intelligence, and I do work in search, planning and machine learning.

"It is always interesting trying to get computers to do new and different things that people would have thought were impossible only a few years before.

"I enjoy problem solving so it is interesting to always be trying to tackle something new.

"I worked in research labs at the Boeing Company before coming to Auckland, but I really enjoy working with PhD students. So far I've had seven PhD students successfully graduate!"  

Dr Patricia Riddle
Phone: +64 9 373 7999
Email: p.riddle@auckland.ac.nz

Environment

Dr Karen Fisher
Dr Karen Fisher

"I'm a senior lecturer in the School of Environment. I'm a human geographer and my research and teaching interests focus on society-environment interactions.

"My research investigates how knowledge is produced and subsequently used to inform environmental governance and management in New Zealand.

"My current research themes include transdisciplinary approaches to understanding marine social-ecological systems; accommodating different conceptualisations of, and knowledge about, rivers and river management; and the potential for indigenous knowledge to enable just and sustainable river futures."

Dr Karen Fisher
Phone: +64 9 923 8410
Email: k.fisher@auckland.ac.nz

Exercise Sciences

Shivani Patel
Shivani Patel

"I am an exercise physiology technician in the Department of Exercise Sciences. My job is a combination of both research and teaching.

"My work involves ensuring our equipment is working to a standard where we can collect valid and reliable data, and teaching undergraduate students the process of collecting scientific data.

"My passion lies in attempting to understand how human physiology responds and adapts to physical activity. I love that I can contribute to the novel and innovative Exercise Sciences research which comes out of our department.

"I also enjoy helping undergraduate students develop a passion for Exercise Sciences as they put their knowledge into practice in labs."

Sivani Patel
Phone: +64 9 923 6858
Email: sivani.patel@auckland.ac.nz

Marine Science

Dr Carolyn Lundquist
Dr Carolyn Lundquist

"I'm a part-time faculty member in the Institute of Marine Science, based at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) in Hamilton. I'm a 'jane of all trades' in marine science, working across ecosystems ranging from coasts and estuaries to the deep sea. Buzz words that excite me: socio-ecological systems, connectivity, marine conservation planning, and coastal wetlands.

"In my University role, I love supervising and mentoring students, and enjoy the enthusiasm of graduate students before they get too jaded by the realities of the working world!

"I perpetually need to balance my workload when I expand into exciting and innovative research streams, but reduce effort elsewhere!"

Dr Carolyn Lundquist
Phone: +64 7 859 1866
Email: carolyn.lundquist@auckland.ac.nz

Mathematics

Associate Professor Vivien Kirk
Associate Professor Vivien Kirk

"I am an applied mathematician; I use mathematics to help explain phenomena in the world around us.

"My specialist area of research is dynamical systems, which is the study of processes that change with time. I'm particularly interested in applying dynamical systems ideas to models of biological systems, especially models of cell biochemistry. I also teach Mathematics to undergraduate and postgraduate students, and supervise student research.

"I love discovering new mathematics and using mathematics to create new ideas in science; the creativity of research is great fun. I also love interacting with students and colleagues, and working together to solve problems."

Associate Professor Vivien Kirk
Phone: +64 9 923 8812
Email: v.kirk@auckland.ac.nz

Mathematics

Associate Professor Claire Postlethwaite
Associate Professor Claire Postlethwaite

"I'm an associate professor of Applied Mathematics. My job is a mixture of research, teaching and service. My research uses mathematics to answer questions in a range of applications: from animal navigation to cognitive neuroscience and fluid dynamics.

"I've always found mathematics fascinating. Although I really enjoyed the puzzles and abstract ideas that come with some areas of pure mathematics, I think my general interest in science is part of what has made me an applied, rather than a pure mathematician.

"I really love that I’m able to dabble in lots of different areas of science by being able to use mathematics to try and understand it."

Associate Professor Claire Postlethwaite
Phone: +64 9 923 8817
Email: c.postlethwaite@auckland.ac.nz

Physics

Dr Nicolette Rattenbury
Dr Nicolette Rattenbury

"I run the Science Scholars Programme. This is a programme for gifted and talented students who are doing a BSc at the University of Auckland.

"I'm also involved in a variety of activities outside the University, including being the Auckland convenor for the Association for Women in the Sciences, one of the team behind Maths Craft NZ, and helping to organise the annual MOTAT Science Street Fair.

"I get to interact with a fantastic group of students on a weekly basis. These students never cease to amaze me. As well as being very intelligent they are so critically engaged, curious and open-minded. They give up their spare time to come and learn about exciting ideas that are happening in Science. They ask very deep questions and are genuinely interested about such a broad range of ideas. I have no doubt that these students will be leading the next generation of scientists and I know they will do a great job. It is a real privilege to work with them."

Dr Nicolette Rattenbury
Contact for Association for Women in the Sciences (AWIS)
Phone: +64 9 923 3720
Email: nicolette.rattenbury@auckland.ac.nz

Physics

Dr Frédérique Vanholsbeeck
Dr Frédérique Vanholsbeeck

"I do biomedical optics – I use light to image or sense biological processes. In particular, I work on finding ways to detect early signs of ageing of the eye and cartilage. I also try to detect, in near-real-time, bacteria in food. On the more fundamental side, I work on extracting as much information as possible from the light that has interacted with my sample.

"I love that I can do very fundamental science as well as very applied research. And I can work with a wide range of professionals such as microbiologists, doctors, and people from various industries around the country, and get to engage in ‘outreach’ projects. I am really pleased I can offer to the students I supervised a well-rounded experience."

Dr Fred Vanholsbeeck
Phone: +64 9 923 8881
Email: f.vanholsbeeck@auckland.ac.nz

Psychology

Professor Virginia Braun
Professor Virginia Braun

"I'm a critical social scientist. My scholarship examines relationships between the social, the scientific and the individual, in relation to gendered bodies, sexuality and health. I explore the intersections of culture and society (and often popular culture), individual choices, thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and broader factors like public health policy and practice. I also explore and write about qualitative research as a practice.

"A student recently described me (in an essay) as a 'social detective' and I love that idea of myself as a scholar! I love that my research gives me the opportunity to be 'critic and conscience' through unpacking taken-for-granted or normative ideas in society that impact (often negatively) on people's lives and choices.

"I also love that I get the opportunity to foster creative and engaged minds through teaching and supervision. It’s a joy and an honour. And in my Associate Dean Equity role, I get to promote equity and inclusiveness within the faculty and University. I’m passionate about all these different elements of what I do; the diversity of the job is one of the aspects I cherish most."

Professor Virginia Braun
Associate Dean Equity

Phone: +64 9 923 7561
Email: v.braun@auckland.ac.nz

Statistics

Associate Professor Ilze Ziedins
Associate Professor Ilze Ziedins

"For the last little while I have been head of department, which has been challenging and interesting, and very busy!  

"My research is on stochastic networks, that is, networks that have some form of randomness in their behaviour.   

"I started working in this area as a student, because I loved the idea that we can build mathematical models of systems that have randomness in them, use those models to say something about how the system evolves over time, and then improve the performance of the system. Mostly I work on networks that have some form of queueing in them.

"I started by looking at models with applications to telecommunication and transportation networks. Recently I've concentrated on healthcare systems, modelling patient pathways through treatment, and suggesting ways in which delays could be reduced. 

"As well as the work itself, one of the most enjoyable things about working in science is that people are so enthusiastic about what they do, and you find out new things all the time!"

Associate Professor Ilze Ziedins
Phone: +64 9 923 5051
Email: i.ziedins@auckland.ac.nz