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Weevils, weasels and tumours win top awards

27 Sep, 2010

Source: Kudos awards

Research on clover root weevil, weasels and pituitary tumours have won top Waikato scientists over $20,000 in awards at the 2010 KuDos Awards.

The 6 winners confirmed that science research and development is thriving in the Waikato region. Their research ranges from discovering a biocontrol agent for New Zealand's worst clover pest, to initiating a national survey of large rivers to assess river health, to identifying the genes involved in the development of pituitary (a gland found in human brains) tumours.

The winners were acknowledged for their contribution to innovative and exciting discoveries in the fields of medical, agricultural and environmental science. The region’s emerging scientists and science educators were also recognised.

The Lifetime Achievement prize was awarded to Dr Carolyn King of the University of Waikato, who is an international authority on all aspects of the biology of small mustelids (stoats, ferrets and weasels). She has done extensive and well documented research on stoats in New Zealand.

The main awards were sponsored by the Hamilton City Council, University of Waikato, WINTEC, WEL Networks, Waikato District Health Board and ORBIT – Calder & Lawson.

The winners were:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: Dr Carolyn King of the University of Waikato – for her research into small mustelids and developing footprint tracking tunnels that are now routinely used to monitor stoat and rat densities on protected lands.
  • Environmental Science Award: Dr Kevin Collier of Environment Waikato and the University of Waikato – for his work on many aspects of freshwater science and management in New Zealand, including current research on the ecology of large rivers.
  • Medical Science Award: Dr Martyn Harvey of the Waikato District Health Board – for bringing intravenous lipid emulsion (used to manage severe local anaesthetic toxicity) from the laboratory benchtop into the clinical area.
  • Secondary School Science Teacher/Educator/Communicator Award: Peter Hampton, Head of Science at Hamilton's Fraser High School – for introducing new areas of science, such as geology and astronomy, to the classroom with a focus on practical investigation, scientific reasoning and having fun.
  • Emerging Scientist Award: Dr Marianne Susan Elston of Waikato District Health Board – for her work concerning the identification of genes involved in the development of pituitary tumours.
  • Agricultural Science Award: Ruakura Clover Root Weevil Biocontrol Team of AgResearch – for discovering a biocontrol agent, the Irish wasp, to control one of New Zealand's worst clover pests, the clover root weevil.

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