About Us // Our People //

Our People

The MWC has four Emeritus Principal Investigators who were all founding members of the centre and have a wealth of experience in managing large collaborative research programmes. They are recognised internationally as leaders in their respective fields. 

Emeritus Principal Investigators

Distinguished Professor Ted Baker
CNZM, MSc, PhD, FRSNZ, FNZIC en.baker@auckland.ac.nz

Distinguished Professor Ted Baker established structural biology in New Zealand with his pioneering work at Massey University on the proteins actinidin and lactoferrin.

Among Ted's national and international honours are an International Research Scholar award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and election as President of the International Union of Crystallography. He has received the 2006 Rutherford Medal, the highest accolade from the Royal Society of New Zealand, and the 2008 Liley Medal for Health Research, and has been appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. 

Professor Baker now leads a group of researchers at the University of Auckland who combine the analysis of protein structure and function by X-ray crystallography with elements of structural genomics, molecular biology, bioinformatics, protein engineering and structure-based drug design. His current interests focus primarily on infectious disease, in particular tuberculosis and streptococcal disease.

Professor Garth Cooper
DSc (Oxon), DPhil (Oxon), MB, ChB, FRCPA, FRSNZ, FMedSci (London) g.cooper@auckland.ac.nz

Professor Garth Cooper, professor of Biochemistry & Clinical Biochemistry, School of Biological Sciences, and Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, is distinguished by his contributions to the molecular pathophysiology and experimental therapeutics of diabetes mellitus for which he was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (UK) in 2013, based on exceptional contributions to the medical sciences.

Professor Cooper discovered amylin, the pancreatic islet β-cell hormone that constitutes islet amyloid in type-2 diabetes, and invented amylin replacement therapy (the amylin agonist, ‘pramlintide’) as a new treatment for this disease, registered by the USFDA in 2005 for the treatment of both major types of diabetes. He is also Director and Professor of Discovery & Experimental Medicine, Centre for Advanced Discovery & Experimental Therapeutics (CADET), University of Manchester, UK. His teams work in parallel in both nonclinical models and human clinical trials, applying powerful techniques aimed at understanding the molecular basis of ageing-related diseases, particularly diabetes, heart failure, and dementia.

Distinguished Professor Peter Hunter
ME, DPhil, FRSNZ, FRS, MNZM p.hunter@auckland.ac.nz

Distinguished Professor Peter Hunter is Director of the Bioengineering Institute at the University of Auckland and Director of Computational Physiology at Oxford University. He received the 2009 Rutherford Medal of the Royal Society of New Zealand and was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2010.

As co-Chair of the Physiome and Bioengineering Committee of the International Union of Physiological Sciences he is helping to lead the Physiome Project which is using computational methods for understanding the integrated physiological function of the body in terms of the structure and function of tissues, cells and proteins. His major research interests are in developing anatomically and biophysically based approaches to modelling the interrelated electrical, mechanical and biochemical functions of the heart and other organs.

Professor John Fraser
BSc, PhD, FRSNZ j.fraser@auckland.ac.nz

Professor John Fraser, a graduate of Victoria and Auckland Universities, did postdoctoral research with Jack Strominger at Harvard before returning to New Zealand in 1988 to the first NZ Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship. He is currently Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland.

John’s research has focused on the modus operandi of bacterial superantigens, beginning with a seminal Nature paper in 1989, in particular the structural features of superantigens that make them so potent. With the advent of microbial genomics and the DNA sequencing of multiple bacterial genomes, his work has broadened to examine other potent pathogenicity and virulence factors whose genes are clustered in pathogenicity islands.