Explore as a

News

Published 21 October 2005

Royal Society elects 10 scientists to prestigious science academy

2005: The Royal Society of New Zealand has elected nine new Fellows and one Honorary Fellow to its science academy, at a gathering of its Academy Council in Wellington today.

Professor Carolyn Burns, President of the Academy Council of the Royal Society, said “the ten scientists elected this year are already extremely well-respected amongst their peers – they include one of the world’s leading mathematical biologists, the most widely-cited person in the field of international conflict resolution, and a world-renowned clinical trialist in cardiovascular disease. Becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand is the culmination of many years of dedication, exceptional thinking, and hard work. Even with all of those qualities, only a small number from those nominated are ultimately selected.

“But Fellowship is a responsibility as well as an honour. We expect our Fellows to enthusiastically disseminate scientific information to the public, help provide expert advice on a range of topics, and play a leading role in promoting best scientific practice.”

The Fellowship selection process is exhaustive, involving discipline-specific selection panels and independent international review to ensure against local bias.

Full details on each of the Fellows are given after this summary list.

Summary

New Fellows

  • Professor Jacob Bercovitch, Professor of International Relations and Head of the School of Political Science and Communication, University of Canterbury.
  • Professor Roger Bowden, Professor of Economics and Finance, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Dr John Buckleton, Principal Scientist, Environment and Scientific Research (ESR), Auckland
  • Professor Roberta Farrell, Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Waikato, and Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry, in the Institute of Paper Science and Technology, Georgia, USA
  • Professor Graham Le Gros, Director of Research, Malaghan Institute and Professor of Immunology, Department of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Professor Bakhadyr Khoussainov, Department of Computer Science, The University of Auckland
  • Professor Neil Pearce, Professor and Director, Centre for Public Health Research, Massey University, Wellington
  • Dr Norman Sharpe, Medical Director, The National Heart Foundation of New Zealand and Professor Emeritus, The University of Auckland
  • Professor James Sneyd, Professor of Applied Mathematics, The University of Auckland

New Honorary Fellow

  • Professor Paul Cloke, Professor of Geography, University of Bristol, UK, and Adjunct Professor of Geography, University of Canterbury, New Zealand (Professor Cloke, who lives in the UK, was elected as an Honorary Fellow).

Jacob Bercovitch

Professor Jacob Bercovitch is Professor of International Relations and Head of the School of Political Science and Communication, University of Canterbury. He is generally regarded as one of the leading scholars of international relations in the world, and the most influential and widely-cited person in the field of international conflict resolution. His research is interdisciplinary, drawing on concepts and methods from political science, economics, sociology, and psychology to deal with the problem of how best to resolve or mediate social conflicts. He has published extensively in the major journals in international relations and conflict studies and was responsible for developing the most significant model in this field, the Bercovitch Contingency Framework. He is the author or editor of nine books that have influenced a generation of scholars and underpinned the teaching programmes in many universities around the world.

Jacob Bercovitch has received major fellowships from Harvard University, London School of Economics, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is the only person in Australasia to have been a Senior Fellow of the United States Institute of Peace. In 2003 he was elected Vice President of the International Studies Association. He is consulted regularly for advice on international conflict resolution, negotiation and preventive diplomacy. In 2004 he began a Marsden-funded study of internal conflict in the Asia-Pacific region.

Roger J. Bowden

Professor Roger J. Bowden, Professor of Economics and Finance, Victoria University of Wellington, has made a series of significant contributions to scholarship in econometrics, applied finance and microeconomics. His pioneering work has established new research programmes in measures of portfolio performance, selection biases in social statistics, models of market clearing used in the study of labour market dynamics, the currency union debate in New Zealand, and the specification of models of markets in disequilibrium. He employs innovative research methods to tackle new problems and rework existing problems; for example, he developed financial hedging instruments to replace the problematic floor price of wool for the Australian Wool Corporation.

Roger Bowden’s publication record is exceptional in its quality and breadth; he is the author of two text books, two popular books, several research-based monographs and more than 50 articles, many of which are published in the top international journals in economics, econometrics and finance. Through his leadership in creating research-based programmes in Applied Finance at universities in Australia and New Zealand he is lifting an industry of financial analysts and bankers to new intellectual heights, and his expertise is keenly sought after by top international students.

John S. Buckleton

Dr John S. Buckleton, Principal Scientist, Environment and Scientific Research (ESR), has an outstanding international reputation in the analysis and interpretation of forensic evidence. He is an author of more than 100 significant publications or patents, largely in the forensic field (shoeprints, firearms, DNA, blood grouping, tool marks, fire debris analysis, glass and paint). His monograph, The forensic interpretation of glass evidence (2000) has been adopted as the standard text by many countries.

John Buckleton has been a key scientist in establishing New Zealand’s reputation at the forefront internationally of the application of DNA-based methods for the matching of forensic samples to archived records in databases. In collaboration with statistician Professor C. M. Triggs and others, he developed, applied and refined analytical methods for DNA profiling used in New Zealand from the 1980s to the present. His co-authored monograph, Forensic DNA evidence interpretation, was published this year (2005).

John Buckleton is regularly called upon to appear as an expert witness in New Zealand courts and has appeared as an expert witness in several courts overseas. He is a research consultant to advisory bodies in several countries and is in wide demand as a leader of training workshops on evidence interpretation in New Zealand, Australia, England, Europe, Asia and the USA.

Roberta L. Farrell

Professor Roberta L. Farrell, Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Waikato, and Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry, in the Institute of Paper Science and Technology, Georgia, USA, has an international reputation for her fundamental and applied research on wood. She was the first to identify, clone and characterise several new ligninase enzymes and develop these discoveries in innovative directions, including industrial applications to the processing of wood products, and fundamental studies of the degradative processes themselves and the fungi that mediate them. Her work has resulted in 28 US patents. Recent initiatives include her development of a new gene expression system based on a fungus, and the application of innovative methods to preserve historic huts in the Ross Dependency, Antarctica.

Roberta Farrell founded and managed a biotechnology company in the USA before coming to New Zealand in 1996. Here, she has developed several national and international consultancies and led many commercial contracts that apply basic microbiological processes to industry. Her scholarly contributions to our knowledge of fungal biology, biochemistry and molecular genetics include more than 75 research papers and book chapters. In 1990 she was elected to the International Academy of Wood Science and subsequently to its Board.

Graham S. Le Gros

Professor Graham S. Le Gros, Director of Research, Malaghan Institute and Professor of Immunology, Department of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, has been engaged in research into the nature of immunity and causes of immune mediated diseases for more than 25 years. He is recognised internationally for his immunological research on the fundamental molecular processes involved in asthma, allergies and related health problems, and on the function of the immune system in cancer and other diseases. He was the first to describe the role of cytokine IL-4 in Th2 cell development which has had a major impact on the field of allergy. His innovative research is published in the foremost journals in the field including the Journal of Experimental Medicine, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Science and Nature.

Since his appointment as Director in 1994, Graham Le Gros has developed the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research into a premier research establishment with a staff of 56 and research programmes in asthma, cancer, infectious disease and multiple sclerosis. His excellence in research has been acknowledged in the awards of a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellowship and a James Cook Research Fellowship.

Bakhadyr M. Khoussainov

Professor Bakhadyr M. Khoussainov, Department of Computer Science, The University of Auckland, is a leading expert in the area of logic and theoretical computer science. His work involves deep and exceptionally broad studies into computability and complexity theory. Computability theory is concerned with the extent to which mathematics can be implemented on a machine, and complexity theory is concerned with delineating the resources (running time, memory, etc) needed for processes that can be implemented. He works with world leaders in logic in the USA, Russia and New Zealand and has received international acclaim for his ideas, ingenuity and exceptional technical brilliance, particularly in the area of “automatic structures” – mathematical structures where the basic operations are implemented by finite state automata.

Bakhadyr Khoussainov’s research has been supported by Fellowships from the von Humboldt Foundation, the Japan Society for Promotion of Science, and the Marsden Fund. His research publications include one book and more than 90 papers. Since his arrival in New Zealand in 1996, he has given more than 75 seminars and invited talks at prestigious international gatherings including the European Logic Colloquium (2002) and Asian Logic Symposium (2002). His excellence in teaching and research has been recognised by a University of Auckland Distinguished Teaching Award, and the New Zealand Mathematical Society’s Research Award (2002).

Neil E. Pearce

Professor Neil E. Pearce, Professor and Director, Centre for Public Health Research, Massey University, Wellington, has made pioneering contributions to the development, acceptance and practical application of epidemiology as a science in New Zealand, and he is widely regarded internationally as one of world’s most broadly-based epidemiologists. His outstanding and original contributions on the epidemiology of cancer, asthma, occupational health and the inequalities of health are published in 14 books, 37 chapters and over 260 original research articles, many in prestigious international journals (e.g., International Journal of Cancer, American Journal of Epidemiology, British Medical Journal, Thorax). His interest in epidemiological methods and occupational epidemiology resulted in a textbook in 1989 that is still the hallmark textbook in this field; he is also the principal author of a leading textbook on asthma epidemiology (1998).

Neil Pearce co-founded the Wellington Asthma Research Group in 1987 and subsequently directed the unit. As Director of the Centre for Public Health Research, he has promoted the establishment of a broadly-based programme of public health research with a focus in non-communicable diseases (including asthma, diabetes and cancer), occupational health, Māori and Pacific health, and the socio-economic determinants of health. He continues to play a leadership role in applying high quality epidemiological research to many of the most urgent health issues facing New Zealand today.

Norman D. Sharpe

Dr Norman D. Sharpe, Medical Director, The National Heart Foundation of New Zealand and Professor Emeritus, University of Auckland, is a world-renowned clinical trialist in cardiovascular disease. He has played a major role in understanding the pathophysiology of heart failure, a major cause of death and debility, and in developing novel therapies for treating it. His work led to the introduction of the neurohormonal blocking agents, ACE-inhibitors and -blockers, for the management of this problem, both of which are now standard therapies around the world.

Since his return to New Zealand in 1977, Norman Sharpe has established a highly successful research group in the field of clinical pathophysiology and pharmacological therapy of congestive heart failure, with numerous publications in the top international journals including the most prestigious medical journals (Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, British Medical Journal). He established a Clinical Trials Research Unit that has a leadership role throughout the Asia-Pacific region, and beyond, in the investigation of cardiological therapeutics. His outstanding achievements in cardiology are reflected in his membership of editorial boards of the principal international cardiology journals, invited keynote lectures at major international meetings, and leadership in providing expert advice to the New Zealand Ministry of Health.

A. James Sneyd

Professor A. James Sneyd, Professor of Applied Mathematics, The University of Auckland, is one of the world’s leading mathematical biologists. His substantial international reputation rests on his basic research into pattern formation and self-organisation in biological systems and a study of the sub-cellular calcium dynamics involved in cell signalling in a variety of cell types. With over 50 research publications, many in top-ranked journals in mathematical biology, he has established himself as a world leader in these fields. For example, in elegant mathematical models he has shown how the formation of the complex patterns in honey and pollen observed in honeycomb can be explained by some very simple rules; his research has also led the development of control strategies for the tropical disease, leishmaniasis. However, he is probably most widely known for his influential research-based textbooks, Self-organisation in Biological Systems (2001) and Mathematical Physiology (1998), both of which have won Best Book awards from the American Association of Publishers.

James Sneyd is one of the very few mathematicians to have won research grants from the American National Institute of Health. His modelling is characterised by ingenuity, technical prowess and a clear understanding of biological phenomena at an appropriate level of detail.

Honorary Fellow: Paul J. Cloke

Professor Paul J. Cloke, Professor of Geography, University of Bristol, UK, and Adjunct Professor of Geography, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, has achieved international eminence in the fields of human geography, rural studies and rural policy and planning. He set and shaped the international theoretical agenda in rural studies for over two decades and has been an effective advocate of the desirability of understanding policy and planning contexts as a basis for ensuring that socio-scientific research influences government, business and community decision-makers. He has consistently provided extraordinary leadership and vision in developing theoretically informed research practice in geography, planning and the social sciences through his two influential textbooks, Approaching Human Geography (1991) and Introducing Human Geographies (1999).

Paul Cloke has nearly 25 years of research links with geographers and social scientists at all New Zealand universities. In his landmark work on interpreting and extending understandings of nature-society relationships he drew on field work in New Zealand on agriculture, rural change, and tourism. He is a frequent international, distinguished keynote speaker, and an outstandingly prolific author and editor of 21 books, 94 chapters and 68 internationally refereed articles in prestigious journals. He is the Foundation Editor of the Journal of Rural Studies, now the top-ranked planning journal in the world. (Professor Cloke, who lives in the UK, was elected as an Honorary Fellow).