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ECR Forum Committee Members


Committee members of the ECR Forum generally commit to serving a three-year term. Committee members will be selected with concern for the ECR Forum’s representativeness regarding gender, ethnicity, geographic location, occupational sector, and disciplinary affiliation. Two co-chairs will be sourced from current committee members. Co-chairs will generally serve for two years and their terms will overlap with each other by one year to enable continuity.

Sarah Moss - Co-Chair (Plant & Food Research)

Sarah is a Scientist at Plant and Food Research, based in Palmerston North. She is a plant molecular biologist, specialising in plant development. Sarah received her BSc in Science (majoring in plant biology) from Massey University in Palmerston North, her Masters from the University of Auckland and she completed her PhD at the University of Adelaide, which was awarded in 2018. After returning to New Zealand, Sarah completed a post-doctoral scientist position at Plant and Food Research, before taking up her current role as an objective leader.

She has worked on kiwifruit flowering, grape berry development, flower colour patterning, and now works on kiwifruit colour. Sarah is passionate about conducting research that will help to boost the New Zealand horticultural industry.

Sarah has been involved with Plant and Food Research’s Emerging Career Researchers group, which holds yearly two-day workshops encouraging networking and empowering emerging researchers. 

Sereana Naepi - Co-Chair (University of Auckland)

Sereana Naepi is a lecturer in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Auckland. Sereana examines higher education systems in both Aotearoa and internationally. Sereana utilises a mixture of methods and methodologies including Pacific research methodologies and quantitative measurements to explore how higher education systems can deliver on their promise of success for all. Sereana completed her PhD at the University of British Columbia in Canada where she was a Public Scholar. Sereana went on to be the Associate Director of All My Relations, an Indigenous research centre at Thompson Rivers University in Canada where she coordinated national and international Indigenous research development projects including Knowledge Makers, which was recipient of the national Alan Blizzard university teaching award before returning home to lecture in Sociology at the University of Auckland. 

Tom Baker – (University of Auckland)

Tom Baker is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Environment at the University of Auckland. He is a human geographer whose research examines the social and spatial dimensions of policy and policy-making. Using primarily qualitative approaches, Tom’s research focuses on the ways in which elected representatives, experts, and the public conceive of, and act upon, economically and socially marginalised populations. He completed his PhD at the University of Newcastle, Australia, and before coming to Auckland, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Geography at Simon Fraser University, Canada. Tom has also worked in the public sector at local and national levels, most recently at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Lucy Stewart – (GNS Wellington)

Lucy currently works as a Senior Scientist at Toha NZ developing roadmaps and frameworks for Toha Science to carry out its core strategies.  Prior to this role she was a postdoctoral researcher in the Marine Geosciences department at GNS Science, based in Wellington. She is an environmental microbiologist and specialises in the microbiology of high-temperature environments such as deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Her research aims to understand the interface between the biosphere and geosphere by characterising and cultivating microorganisms that grow using inorganic substrates such as metals, sulfur compounds, methane, and hydrogen. Lucy received a B.A. in History and a B.Sc.(Hons) in Microbiology from the University of Canterbury. She completed a PhD at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), supported by a Fulbright scholarship. Upon returning to New Zealand in 2015 she was awarded a Rutherford Postdoctoral Fellowship to characterise the microbial diversity of high-temperature environments along the offshore Kermadec volcanic arc. She is also an investigator on a recently-funded MBIE Endeavour Fund project to study the potential impacts of gas hydrate mining in New Zealand's offshore waters. Lucy sits on the Wellington Early Career Researchers committee.

Tia Dawes - (University of Auckland) 


Ko Whakarongorua te maunga

Ko Utakura te awa

Ko Ngātokimatawhaorua te waka

Ko Ngāpuhi te iwi

Ko Ngāti Toro te hapū

Ko Joyce tōku whānau

Ko Tia Dawes tōku ingoa 

Tia is a Research Fellow with both the James Henare Māori Research Centre and the Centre for Learning and Research in Higher Education. Tia studied the oratory of the Late Roman Republic with a particular emphasis on the political writings of Cicero before becoming increasingly interested in issues that involve Māori. As a James Henare Māori Research Fellow he is part of a multi-disciplinary team that has recently been awarded a NSC grant to conduct a study addressing the health-care needs of kaumātua in Te Tai Tokerau. He has also been appointed a Clear Research Fellow at the Centre of Learning and Research in Higher Education for 2018 to evaluate how career development and employability programmes have influenced Māori academic and career decision-making processes. This study will ensure future programming remain relevant to these student groups over coming years.

Gradon Diprose – Committee Member (Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research - Wellington)

Gradon is a Researcher Environmental Social Science at Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research. He has a background in human geography, completing his PhD at Victoria University of Wellington in 2015. His PhD research explored how people come together to contest disempowering processes that threaten their livelihoods and cultural survival, and how they collectively enact alternatives. He is a member of the Community Economies Collective, a group of scholars drawing on the work of J.K. Gibson-Graham to rethink the economy and build more sustainable socio-economic alternatives to support life. Gradon currently works across a range of areas, including; citizen science, community adaptation to climate change, and urban wellbeing initiatives. Prior to completing his PhD, Gradon worked as a planner in local government at various councils in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Amy Osborne – Committee Member (Canterbury University, Christchurch)

Amy is a Lecturer in genomics within the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch.  Originally from the UK, Amy completed a BSc(Hons) in Biomedical Science at King’s College London and followed this by working as a research associate at the Medical Research Council (Imperial College London) studying the genomics of complex disease.  After moving to New Zealand in 2006, Amy spent two years working as a research associate, first with the Wakefield Gastroenterology Research group in Wellington, and then in the Molecular Ecology Research group at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch.  Amy undertook her PhD in population genomics at the University of Otago and completed this in 2011 (Dean’s list of Exceptional Theses).  Amy has worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Colorado Denver (Anschutz Medical Campus), at the University of Otago in Dunedin and also at the University of Otago, Christchurch, with research interests spanning developmental genomics, evolution and development, and epigenetics.  Amy’s current research focuses on the interaction between the genome and the environment, via epigenetics.   

Jordis Tradowsky - Committee Member (Bodeker Scientific)

Jordis Tradowsky is an ECR working at Bodeker Scientific which is located in Alexandra, Central Otago. Bodeker Scientific is a scientist-owned atmospheric research company specialized in the science of stratospheric ozone depletion, stratospheric composition, and climate change. She has currently finished her doctoral degree for which she was enrolled at the Freie Universitaet Berlin, Germany, while also working at Bodeker Scientific and at the National institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) at Lauder. The title of her doctoral thesis was Enhancing the Upper-Air Observational Temperature Record to Improve Satellite Validation and Weather Forecasts. Jordis has experience in performing atmospheric measurements with balloon-borne instruments, combining measurements from different instruments into best-estimate data products, and  estimating and propagating measurement uncertainties. Furthermore she has developed of a method to correct radiosonde temperature biases prior to assimilation into a numerical weather prediction system by using radio occultation measurements as a reference. She is part of the Global Climate Observing System Reference Upper-Air Network (GRUAN) and of the International Radio Occultation Working Group (IROWG).

Shannon Davis - (Lincoln University)

Shannon is a Lecturer in the School of Landscape Architecture at Lincoln University. Having worked on urban design and landscape planning projects as a professional Landscape Architect in the UK, she returned to New Zealand and completed her PhD investigating Euro-western tourist experience of the post-genocide memoryscapes of Cambodia and Rwanda, in 2010. She currently lectures in the areas of landscape planning, design theory, and food landscapes. Her current research interests focus on productive landscapes and spatial design, particularly exploring the rural – urban transect and how it relates spatially to regenerative food production, urban form, and community wellbeing. She is a Theme Leader within the Designing Future Productive Landscapes Centre of Excellence, a multi-disciplinary research team seeking to conceptualise, design, create, implement and test alternative agroecosystems and other productive landscape systems that improve ecosystem-societal services.

Dr Htin Lin Aung (University of Otago) 

Dr Htin Lin Aung is a Sir Charles Hercus Health Research Fellow at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Otago, Dunedin. Dr Aung obtained his BSc (Hons) in Genetics and then PhD in Microbiology from the University of Otago. A molecular biologist by training, Dr Aung is a firm believer in making a difference to society using a multi-sectoral approach assisted by innovative technologies. Dr Aung leads a multi-disciplinary research programme that is focused on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and health inequality using tuberculosis (TB) as an exemplar. Dr Aung’s research integrates molecular biology, clinical microbiology, molecular epidemiology, public health and social science disciplines. Dr Aung’s team work closely with key stakeholders such as communities and policymakers to translate their research into tangible health benefits.    

Lydia Liew - Committee Member (Auckland Cancer Research Centre)

Lydia Liew is a research fellow at the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre. She is a medicinal chemist contributing to a multidisciplinary research environment in cancer drug discovery. She uses molecular modelling approaches for pharmacophore development, virtual screening, ligand and structure based drug design, as well as to generate new hypotheses for novel drug targets. To date, Lydia has worked on a number of drug targets in infectious diseases and cancer including GPCRs, kinases and other targets within the tumour microenvironment. She obtained her BSc (Hons) and then PhD in chemistry from The University of Auckland and has recently completed a Masters in Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship at The University of Auckland. During this programme, Lydia has been working alongside scientists and commercial partners across New Zealand to develop early-stage science and technologies with the aim of bringing them to market. Lydia is passionate about connecting scientist to the wider entrepreneurial ecosystem in New Zealand and would love to hear from you! 

Darren Powell - Committee Member (University of Auckland)

Darren Powell is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland. He uses critical ethnographic methods and critical social theory to interrogate the privatisation of public health and public education. Darren completed his PhD at Charles Sturt University, Australia, where he examined the ‘childhood obesity epidemic' and the ways in which corporations and charities are re-inventing themselves as 'part of the solution' to obesity. He is currently the Principal Investigator on a Royal Society Te Apārangi Marsden Fund Fast-Start Grant to study how the marketing of ‘health’ shapes children’s health knowledge, actions, and identities. 

Annette Bolton - Committee Member (ESR)

Annette Bolton is a Senior Scientist at ESR based in Ōtautahi. She is an interdisciplinary scientist working in cross-cutting areas of climate science, environmental science and health. She started her career as an environmental scientist working in occupational and environmental health at the University of Manchester in the UK. A commonwealth scholarship took her to Victoria University of Wellington where she studied palaeo-oceanography and developed the first surface ocean temperature calibration using foraminifera geochemical techniques. Foraminifera are tiny marine organisms that are used to reconstruct climate variability in the past. She then took off to complete a post-doc at The University of Hong Kong and The Earth Observatory of Singapore applying her geochemistry knowledge to tropical corals in the South China Sea. Most of her time was spent working on one of the longest coral records recovered in that region. Annette returned to Aotearoa in 2016, became a graduate of the science-policy exchange at the office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor and now works in the climate, environment and health space at ESR. She also has a soft spot for stygobites, which are important ecological critters that live in groundwater and have no eyes!

Sylvia Nissen - Committee Member (Lincoln University)

Sylvia Nissen is a Lecturer in Environmental Policy in the Department of Environmental Management at Lincoln University. Trained in political science, sociology and human geography, her research centres on youth political participation, social movements and sustainable transitions. She holds a Master of Environmental Science from Monash University in Australia and a PhD in political science from the University of Canterbury, for which she was awarded the Kate Sheppard Memorial Prize. Sylvia is the Primary Investigator of a Marsden Fast-Start funded project that examines the political legacies of the student mobilisation following the Christchurch earthquakes. She is also a Research Fellow in an international project examining young people’s everyday lives in seven diverse cities, coordinated by the University of Canterbury and the University of Surrey, UK.