Five new professors appointed

11 February 2011

Five associate professors from the Faculty of Science have been promoted to professor. Promotion to professor is a mark of distinction, recognising professional and academic eminence at an international level.

Professor Winston Byblow (Department of Sport and Exercise Science) has achieved scholarly eminence as a neuroscientist. He investigates how the brain controls movement, and the brain’s capacity for recovery after disease or injury that impairs movement. He is optimistic that his research will improve motor rehabilitation for stroke sufferers by providing clinicians and therapists with better tools. Professor Byblow has produced 95 peer-reviewed publications including 85 journal articles. He is an investigator within the University's Centre for Brain Research and Director of the Movement Neuroscience Laboratory.

Professor Rod Dunbar (School of Biological Sciences) is Director of the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery, a national network of scientists and doctors developing new therapies, vaccines and diagnostics. His primary research field is human cellular immunology, especially developing therapies for cancer that exploit the immune system; his lab is also working with other human cells that have therapeutic potential, such as stem cells. Professor Dunbar has contributed 98 publications to peer-reviewed journals including top biomedical journals such as Science and Nature Medicine.

Professor Ian Kirk (Department of Psychology) is co-director of the Research Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, and investigates the neural systems involved in mnemonic and attentional processes. He also has interests in neurogenetics, in cerebral asymmetries, in music perception and production, as well as in cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia and Asperger’s Syndrome. His work has been supported by grants from the NZ Royal Society (Marsden), the Health Research Council, and the US National Institutes of Health.

Professor Suzanne Purdy (Department of Psychology) is Head of Speech Science which she established as a discipline at the University in 2003. Speech Science’s Master of Speech Language Therapy Practice, a first for New Zealand, was accredited in 2005. Her research on hearing loss, cochlear implants, auditory electrophysiology, treatment of auditory processing disorder, language disorders in children, brain injury, stuttering and noise in the workplace spans many aspects of speech science and communication disorders and has appeared in leading journals. Her research on identification and management of hearing and auditory processing in children has had considerable international and national impact on clinical practice.

Professor John Read (Department of Psychology) worked for 20 years as a clinical psychologist and manager of mental health services before joining the University. His main research interests are: the psycho-social causes of psychosis, primary prevention, attitudes towards “mental illness”, and the role of the pharmaceutical industry in clinical research and practice. He is editor of the international peer-reviewed journal Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches.

The new professors in the Faculty of Science are joined by colleagues from across the university who have also been promoted to professor. They are Professor Matthias Ehrgott (Department of Engineering Science), Professor Annie Goldson (Department of Film, Television and Media Studies), Professor Thegn Ladefoged (Department of Anthropology), Professor Robert Scragg (School of Population Health), Professor Peter Sheppard (Department of Anthropology), Professor Bruce Smaill (Auckland Bioengineering Institute), and Professor Xun Xu (Department of Mechanical Engineering).