Highlights //

Honouring excellence

MWC investigators received several national and international awards in 2017, celebrating and honouring their contributions to science.

At the 2017 Royal Society Te Apārangi Annual Awards Gala Dinner, two MWC investigators, Professors Peter Tyler and Peter Shepherd, received highly prestigious awards. Professor Tyler, an MWC Associate Investigator based at Victoria University’s Ferrier Institute, received the MacDiarmid Medal for his outstanding research in medicinal chemistry that has led to human benefit, especially the 2017 clinical approval of the anti-cancer drug Mundesine. “I’m very pleased to receive the award,” said Peter. “I have been privileged to work with outstanding collaborators and fellow chemists.”MWC

Deputy Director Professor Peter Shepherd, from the University of Auckland, received the Callaghan Medal for his pioneering work to raise the level of understanding of science by the New Zealand public through schools-based initiatives and public events linked to scientific conferences. "In our rush to find better ways to communicate science we have sometimes undervalued the most obvious way of doing this, which is through schools,” said Peter.

MWC Associate Investigators Professors Vic Arcus and Richard Furneaux also received prestigious New Zealand awards in 2017 for their outstanding research. Professor Vic Arcus, from the University of Waikato, was awarded a James Cook Research Fellowship to support his work on ‘Macromolecular Rate Theory (MMRT): The temperature dependence of biological rates from enzymes to ecosystems’. The James Cook Fellowship allows Professor Arcus to concentrate on his research full time for two years without the additional burden of administrative and teaching duties. Meanwhile, Professor Richard Furneaux of the Ferrier Institute, Victoria University of Wellington, won the BNZ Supreme Award at the 2017 KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards, for a range of chemistry projects over the past 25 years that have had successful commercial outcomes.

Professor Margaret Brimble, MWC Principal Investigator from the University of Auckland, received an Appreciation of Service Award at the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) 2017 Conference held in São Paulo, Brazil, recognising her outstanding contribution to the global advancement of chemistry over the period that she chaired IUPAC. “This award was particularly exciting for us,” said Margaret, “showing that chemists here in New Zealand are contributing to a big international organisation like IUPAC and to advancing chemistry worldwide.”

MWC Founding Principal Investigator Professor Garth Cooper from the University of Auckland was conferred a Doctor of Science (DSc) degree by the University of Oxford’s Medical Sciences Division. Professor Cooper received the Oxford DSc following an extensive independent examination of his scholarly output – “a formal examination of your life’s work,” he says – more than 200 publications over 30 years, mainly in the area of diabetes and metabolic disease.

 2017 Success stories

 Professer Peter Shepherd (left) and Professer Peter Tyler (right)