News //

Investigator receives New Year Honour

1 January 2012

The Maurice Wilkins Centre is delighted that one of its principal investigators, Distinguished Professor Margaret Brimble, was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to services in the 2012 New Year Honours.

The following profile was published in The University of Auckland magazine UniNews on the occasion of Margaret’s appointment as a Distinguished Professor.

Distinguished Professor Margaret Brimble

The natural world is a treasure-trove of chemical compounds that have the potential to treat human disease. Margaret is a renowned chemist who creates synthetic copies of promising compounds from nature, so that they may be produced in large quantities and modified for therapeutic use.

Her laboratory works on bioactive compounds that have been isolated from plants, animal tissue, microbes or marine and soil organisms which are rare or hard to isolate in abundance from nature. She has led the development of many medicinal compounds, such as new antibiotics, agents to treat diabetes and cancer, and a drug candidate in the final stage of human clinical trials for the treatment of traumatic brain injury.

Her work has been recognised with numerous national and international awards, including the 2011 Adrien Albert Award from the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, the 2010 Royal Society of Chemistry UK Natural Products Chemistry Award and a 2008 World Class New Zealand Award. She was named the 2007 L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Asia-Pacific Laureate in Materials Science and was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for services to science in the 2012 New Year’s Honours.

Margaret studied for her undergraduate and MSc degrees at The University of Auckland before travelling to the University of Southampton for her PhD. She currently holds the Chair of Organic and Medicinal Chemistry and leads a large research group in the School of Chemical Sciences. She is chair of the board of trustees of the Rutherford Foundation, a past-member of the Marsden Fund Council, past-president of the International Society of Heterocyclic Chemistry, a titular member of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry Organic and Biomolecular Division and a principal investigator of the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery and the Centre for Brain Research.