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Our People

The Maurice Wilkins Centre has six non-management Principal Investigators, each leaders of a Maurice Wilkins Centre research flagship programme.

Principal Investigators (non-management)

Professor Vic Arcus
BSc, MSc, PhD varcus@waikato.ac.nz

Professor Vic Arcus is a leader of the 'Protein and Peptide Engineering' flagship research programme.

Professor Arcus is a Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Waikato. His research group focuses on structural and functional biology of microbial toxin-antitoxin networks; protein engineering to produce artificial antibodies; and enzyme engineering and thermodynamics. Professor Arcus did his undergraduate science degree at the University of Waikato before completing a PhD at Cambridge University in the UK. He spent eight years at the University of Auckland before returning to the University of Waikato in 2006.

Professor Michael Eccles
BSc(Hons), PhD michael.eccles@otago.ac.nz

Professor Michael Eccles is a leader of the 'Genomic Approaches to Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment' flagship research programme.

Professor Eccles heads the Developmental Genetics Group within the Dunedin School of Medicine at the University of Otago. The group aims to identify key developmental mechanisms associated with cancer progression, resistance to treatment, and metastasis.

Professor Eccles holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Otago. He is presently the Chair in Cancer Pathology at the University of Otago and is a science adviser to ANZNET, Neuroendocrine Tumour Research Group.

Professor Gary Evans
BSc (1st class Hons), PhD, MNZM, FNZIC, MRSNZ gary.evans@vuw.ac.nz

Professor Gary Evans is deputy director of the Ferrier Research Institute at Victoria University. His research involves designing and synthesising enzyme inhibitors for treating disease. He invented Ulodesine which completed Phase II clinical trials for the treatment of gout. Currently his work is focussed on the development of new antibiotic and antiviral drugs.

Professor Evans did his PhD at Otago University, a postdoc at Oxford University and then worked in the biotechnology sector within the United Kingdom. He was appointed a Member of NZ Order of Merit in 2014 and has received several awards, including the 2014 Janssen Best Innovation Award and the 2011 MacDiarmid Medal from the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Associate Professor Shaun Lott
BSc(Hons), PhD s.lott@auckland.ac.nz

Associate Professor Shaun Lott is a leader of the 'Tuberculosis' flagship research programme.

Associate Professor Lott is based in the School of Biological Sciences at The University of Auckland. His lab uses structural analysis and a range of biochemical and biophysical tools to address important biological systems in human health and agriculture. His research interests include the discovery of new antibiotics with novel modes of action and the structural analysis of insecticidal bacterial toxins and related proteins.

Associate Professor Lott holds a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Leeds.  In 2006 he was the recipient of the Queenstown Molecular Biology/Invitrogen Life Science Award.

Associate Professor Adam Patterson
BA(Hons), PhD a.patterson@auckland.ac.nz

Associate Professor Adam Patterson is a leader of the ‘Targeting Tumour Hypoxia and the Vasculature to Treat Cancer’ flagship research programme.

Associate Professor Patterson is head of the Translational Therapeutics Team at the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre. He has a broad interest in exploiting the tumour microenvironment as a therapeutic target, including both small molecules and biological agent based platforms. He is co-inventor of tarloxotinib (TH-4000), a first in class hypoxia-activated tyrosine kinase inhibitor currently in Phase 2 clinical trials.

Associate Professor Patterson obtained his degree in Biochemistry from the University of Oxford, before completing a PhD jointly at the Institute of Molecular Medicine (John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford) and the MRC Radiobiology Unit (Harwell, Oxford). He is also a scientific consultant to Threshold Pharmaceuticals Inc., a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in San Francisco, California.

Professor Debbie Hay
BSc(Hons), PhD dl.hay@auckland.ac.nz

Professor Debbie Hay is a leader of the 'Therapeutics for metabolic disease' flagship research programme.

Debbie Hay is Professor of Biochemistry and Pharmacology in the School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland. She is a current James Cook Research Fellow (Royal Society of New Zealand). Her lab has a particular interest in class B (peptide) G protein-coupled receptors and their potential as drug targets for metabolic disease, migraine, pain and cancer.

Professor Hay obtained her BSc in pharmacology from Sheffield University, followed by her PhD from Imperial College London. Debbie is an Editor of the British Journal of Pharmacology, an NC-IUPHAR corresponding member, and is Chair of the NC-IUPHAR subcommittee on calcitonin family receptors. She has won awards for research, teaching and service to her discipline. These include the Novartis Prize for published work from the British Pharmacological Society.

Professor Cris Print
BHB, MBChB, PhD c.print@auckland.ac.nz

Professor Cris Print is a leader of the 'Genomic Approaches to Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment' flagship research programme.

Professor Cris Print is Director of the Bioinformatics Institute at The University of Auckland. His research interests centre around the combination of pathology  bioinformatics and laboratory science to improve our understanding of disease. He is especially keen on work that brings bioinformatic information together with clinicopathological information and traditional cell biology/transgenic studies.

Professor Print holds a medical degree (MBChB) from the Auckland Medical School and a PhD from the University of Auckland. He was co-founder of Japanese biotech company, GNI Ltd, immediate past President of The New Zealand Society for Oncology and Chairs the Scientific Advisory Board of the Auckland Regional Tissue Bank.

Dr Nikki Moreland
BSc, PhD n.moreland@auckland.ac.nz

Dr Nikki Moreland is a leader of the Maurice Wilkins Centre's 'Group A Streptococcus' flagship research programme.

Dr Nikki Moreland is a senior lecturer in immunology based in the School of Medical Sciences, University of Auckland. Dr Moreland has research expertise in humoral immunology and infectious diseases and her research group uses a broad range of techniques to study antibody-antigen interactions at the molecular level. The laboratory’s main focus is Group A Streptococcus and the serious sequalae rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease.

Dr Moreland did an undergraduate biology degree at the University of Waikato followed by a PhD at the University of Auckland. She spent several years in the pharmaceutical industry in the United Kingdom before transitioning back into academic research via postdoctoral training in Auckland and at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore. Dr Moreland returned to New Zealand in 2012 to start her research on rheumatic fever with fellowship funding from National Heart Foundation.