News //

MWC community gathers in Dunedin for 2023 Symposium

15 March 2023

MWC Investigators from across the country gathered in Dunedin for the return of the 2023 Maurice Wilkins Centre Symposium. Over 220 leading and emerging biologists, chemists, geneticists, and clinical researchers attended the three-day event, in-person and online, to present research updates and form new collaborations on the core themes of metabolic health, cancer, and infectious diseases.



Group photo of the Maurice Wilkins Centre outside of the Otago Museum. 


The MWC Symposium formally opened with a mihi whakatau to welcome the attendees to this event and encourage sharing and collaboration within the MWC community.

The first session began with updates from Greg Cook (MWC Director) and Mr Conor Watene O’Sullivan (MWC Kaiārahi) on the Centre’s strategy and progress on our Māori Strategic Framework. Exemplars of each theme’s research and discussions of topical issues were presented throughout the day and the successful first day wrapped up with lightning talks of the innovative technology platforms available to MWC investigators.

Following the presentations a selection of Early Career Researchers (ECRs) presented their research at the 2023 MWC Symposium Poster session in the evening. The event was a great chance for people to make connections and learn more about some of the research being done within the MWC community.

The second day was dedicated to the contributions of the Centre’s early career researchers in the rebranded Emerging Researchers’ Showcase. Organised by the MWC Early Career Steering Committee, 71 ECRs were given the opportunity to present their research as either talks or posters.

Included in the programme were presentations by the four winners of the inaugural Early Career Researcher Award, recognising their exceptional community engagement and mahi. This award recognised the extra work MWC ECRs do to make a positive impact in their communities, alongside their cutting-edge research. The inaugural winners were Dr Natalie Netzler (University of Auckland), Dr Petr Tomek (University of Auckland), Dr Mak Sarwar (University of Otago, Christchurch) and Mr Christopher Puliuvea (University of Auckland).



 Awardees of the Early Career Researcher Award Recognising Science Excellence and Community Engagement: Dr Mak Sarwar, Dr Petr Tomek, Dr Natalie Netzler, and Mr Christopher Puliuvea (Left to Right)


Closing the Emerging Researchers’ Showcase, three research talks and four poster presentations were recognised for their outstanding delivery and scientific excellence. The winners for the research talks were Dr Alistair Richardson (Victoria University of Wellington), Mr Hossein Jahedi (University of Auckland), and Miss Jessica Permain (University of Otago, Christchurch). The poster presentation awardees were Miss Olivia Paxie (University of Otago), Ms Lauren Carlton (University of Auckland), and Mr Francis Middleton (University of Auckland). The People’s Choice Award for the poster presentation was awarded to Ms Dennise Palpal-latoc (University of Auckland).

The MWC Symposium successfully closed with a productive korero in each research theme, with investigators presenting research and discussing strategies to progress their respective themes.

The MWC thanks everyone who contributed to the programme, attended the event or worked behind the scenes to make the 2023 Symposium a huge success.

If you like the sound of our events but are not a member? Contact our admin team and find out how to join MWC at