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Our People

The Maurice Wilkins Centre has nine 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 ‘Antimicrobial Resistance’ flagship research programme.

He is a Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Waikato. His research group is interested in the structural and functional biology of microbial toxin-antitoxin networks, with particular focus on Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The group are also interested in developing transition state analogues as enzyme inhibitors. These inhibitors can be the launching pad for new antibiotics.  

Prof Arcus earned his Bachelor and Master’s degrees 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.

In 2017, he received the prestigious James Cook Research Fellowship to support his work in ‘Macromolecular Rate Theory (MMRT): The temperature dependence of biological rates from enzymes to ecosystems’. 

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ORCID ID:0000-0001-5082-2414

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.

 

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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.

 

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ORCID ID: 0000-0002-6973-2002

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

Professor Hay is a leader of the 'Therapeutics for metabolic disease' flagship research programme, and is a Professor of Biochemistry and Pharmacology at University of Auckland. Her lab is interested in class B (peptide) G protein-coupled receptors, and how these can be exploited as drug targets in metabolic disease, migraine, pain and cancer.

Professor Hay obtained her BSc in pharmacology from Sheffield University, followed by her PhD from Imperial College London. She has held a James Cook Research Fellowship (Royal Society of New Zealand) and is a Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society. Professor Hay is currently 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 (2013) and the British Journal of Pharmacology Editor Performance Award (2016).

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ORCID ID:0000-0002-9558-5122

Professor Kurt Krause
MA PhD MD kurt.krause@otago.ac.nz

Professor Kurt Krause is a Professor in the Biochemistry at the University of Otago in Dunedin. He was the founding Director of the Webster Centre for Infectious Diseases at the University of Otago, until stepping down in 2016.He is a clinical specialist in infectious diseases and a structural biologist.

He graduated summa cum laude from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas majoring in chemistry.  In Houston, he completed an M.D. cum laude from Baylor College of Medicine. He next joined the laboratory of Professor William N. Lipscomb, Jr. at Harvard University and in 1983 and 1986 respectively he received an M.A. and a Ph. D. in Chemistry. Following a short period of postdoctoral work, also at Harvard, he completed a Fellowship in Internal Medicine and a Fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Baylor in Houston. He served on the faculty of the University of Houston and Baylor College of Medicine and on the medical attending staff of Ben Taub General Hospital, The Methodist Hospital and St. Luke’s Hospital before moving to New Zealand in 2006.

He has a longstanding interest in the structure and function of enzymes and proteins important in infectious diseases, such as bacterial pathogenesis factors, antibiotic targets, viral immunomodulatory proteins, and bioluminescence related proteins.

 

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ORCID ID: 0000-0002-3525-1112

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.

 

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ORCID ID: 0000-0003-3660-452X

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.

 

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ORCID ID: 0000-0001-5138-1227

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

Professor Cris Print is a Professor in the University of Auckland’s Department of Molecular Medicine and Pathology. He holds a medical degree and PhD from the University of Auckland and his current work centres around the use of genomics and bioinformatics to understand cancer.

His research team apply cutting-edge techniques in these fields to the Maurice Wilkins Centre’s ‘Immuno-oncology' flagship programme. He leads the Genomics Into Medicine Strategic Research Initiative in Auckland and Chairs the Auckland Regional Tissue Bank Scientific Advisory Board.

He is a Director of the NZ Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR), Vice President of the Auckland branch of the Royal Society of NZ (The Auckland Museum Institute) and is a member of the Science Leadership Team of New Zealand’s 'Healthier Lives' National Science Challenge. Previously, he served as President of the NZ Society for Oncology and was Director of the Bioinformatics Institute at the University of Auckland.

 

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ORCID ID: 0000-0001-8345-7812

Professor Tony Merriman
BSc(Hons) PhD(Otago) tony.merriman@otago.ac.nz

Professor Merriman's profile is currently being updated. Email maurice-wilkins-centre@auckland.ac.nz for further information.

 

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ORCID ID:0000-0003-0844-8726

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.

 

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ORCID ID: 0000-0001-6548-637X