Eleven top researchers and scholars elected as Fellows of the Royal Society of New Zealand

Eleven top New Zealand researchers and scholars in basic and applied science and the humanities have been elected as Fellows of the Royal Society of New Zealand at the Annual General Meeting of the Society’s Academy in Wellington today. The Society also announced the election of two Honorary Fellows.

Academy Chairperson Professor Le Heron said: “Being elected as a Fellow is an honour given to our top researchers for showing exceptional distinction in research or in the advancement of science, technology or the humanities.

“These newly elected Fellows, from Universities and Crown Research Institutes, are leaders in fields as diverse as linguistics, criminology, immunology and nanotechnology. They reflect the wide range of work being undertaken by researchers in science, the social sciences and humanities in New Zealand. I am very pleased to announce their election today.”

The new Fellows are:

  • Professor Tony Ballantyne, Dept of History, University of Otago, whose work has generated new analytical models for the study of British imperial history and has offered substantial insights into the operation of British imperial culture.
  • Professor Laurie Bauer, Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, who is best known for his pioneering descriptive work in international varieties of English, with a particular focus on the description of New Zealand English, and linguistic morphology.
  • Professor Brett Delahunt, Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago, who is acknowledged as an international authority in the field of urological pathology including prostate cancer.
  • Professor Juliet Gerrard, School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury/Industrial Research Ltd whose research interests are focussed on proteins and how they assemble and have been applied to the design of novel therapeutics, the assembly of novel materials and the alteration of food texture.
  • Professor Keith Gordon, Dept of Chemistry, University of Otago, who is internationally recognised for his scholarship and scientific achievements in the area of molecular electronic materials, particularly on new materials that can be used in solar cells or as displays.
  • Professor Frank Griffin, Dept of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Otago, who has inspired and led the development of diagnostic tests and a vaccine to combat three major bacterial diseases of deer, Tuberculosis, Yersiniosis and Johne’s disease.
  • Professor Shaun Hendy, Industrial Research Ltd/Victoria University of Wellington, who has made a significant, sustained contribution in the application of mathematical and computational techniques to the chemical and physical sciences, with a particular focus on nanotechnology. 
  • Professor Tony Kettle, Dept of Pathology, University of Otago Christchurch, who  is internationally recognised for his research on myeloperoxidase, an enzyme in white blood cells (neutrophils) that produces free radicals and chlorine bleach (hypochlorous acid) to kill micro-organisms. 
  • Professor Reinhard Klette, University of Auckland, who is a world leader in computer vision, and who with his students, has improved the performance of computer vision algorithms by newly designed ways of data pre-processing.
  • Professor John Pratt, Institute of Criminology, Victoria University of Wellington, who is internationally acclaimed for his research concentrating on the study of why penal policies change in modern societies and why the punishment of offenders takes particular forms at different times.
  • Dr David Whitehead, Landcare Research Lincoln, whose research contribution on plant and soil processes and climate change are acknowledged internationally.

The new Honorary Fellows elected are: 

  • Professor Jon Altman from the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University, who is a world authority on indigenous economic development.
  • Dr Michael Murphy from the Mitochondrial Biology Unit, Cambridge, United Kingdom who has pioneered the targeting of antioxidants and other bioactive molecules to mitochondria.

Honorary Fellowships are aimed at encouraging liaison and collaboration between outstanding scientists and scholars of different nations with established and new initiatives in the New Zealand knowledge community.

The Royal Society of New Zealand now has 382 Fellows and 58 Honorary Fellows. Fellows are involved in providing expert advice, promoting best and innovative research practice and disseminating information on the sciences and humanities.