Recently, ESR was fortunate to host two esteemed scientists who spoke to their interests in two videos now available on ESR’s Vimeo channel.
Sir Peter Gluckman, ONZ, KNZM, FRS, FMedSci, FRSNZ, is currently the inaugural Chief Science Advisor to the New Zealand Prime Minister. He originally trained as a paediatrician with an interest in endocrinology, but after two years as a doctor he entered the research track. His distinguished career includes setting up the Liggins Institute and one of the seven new Centres of Research Excellence in New Zealand, the Gravida National Centre for Growth and Development. He is responsible for developing LENScience — a programme to involve school children in science.
Sir Peter spoke(external link) to ESR to staff about his belief that science has a central role in New Zealand’s future, and can help transform the country into a stronger nation — socially, environmentally and economically.
Professor Robert Webster BSc, MSc, PHD, is a world-renowned virologist and leading influenza expert. His team identified the avian strain of influenza known as H5N1, the causative agent of avian influenza or ‘bird flu’ that emerged in Hong Kong in 1997.
Born in Balclutha, Professor Webster studied microbiology at the University of Otago which led to a position with the New Zealand Department of Agriculture as a virologist. After receiving his PhD he moved to the USA where he established one of the world’s leading centres of influenza research at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.
Professor Webster spoke(external link) at a public lecture about the reservoir of influenza viruses in wild birds and their role in the evolution of new pandemic strains for humans. This continues to be a major focus of his work, along with the development of a universal vaccine.