Rainey appointed to prestigious Max Planck Society

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Professor Paul Rainey

Professor Paul Rainey has been appointed a Member of Germany’s most prestigious academic institution, the Max Planck Society.

A professor of evolutionary genetics at the New Zealand Institute for Advanced Study and at the Institute of Natural Sciences at the University’s Albany campus, Professor Rainey has a distinguished research background.

He is a fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and a James Cook Research Fellow. He is also principle investigator at the Allan Wilson Centre for Ecology and Evolution, and Visiting Professor at Stanford University in the United States, where he is co-director of the Hopkins Microbial Diversity programme.

His appointment as External Scientific Member – and Honorary Director – of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön, Germany is testament to the high regard in which he is held internationally, according to College of Sciences Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Anderson.

“Paul has proven over a number of years that he is at the forefront of scientific research,” Professor Anderson says. “This appointment is recognition of his work and that being carried out at the New Zealand Institute for Advance Study. The opportunities to further our understanding of the natural sciences through collaboration with other researchers at the Max Planck Institute are immense. The success and innovation that comes from clusters of elite scientists working together, as at the Max Planck Institute, is for the betterment of us all.”

Since it started in 1948, the society has produced 17 Nobel laureates. It is made up of 80 institutes that conduct research into natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences and humanities.

The society describes Professor Rainey as one of the world’s most prominent representatives of experimental evolutionary biology. “His scientific work overlaps with the research at the Max Planck Institute in Plön. He has contributed many seminal publications in a field which is of particular interest for the Institute and which optimally complements its scientific focus."

Professor Rainey says the appointment is a huge honour and opportunity. “It will allow me to spend regular time at the Institute in Germany, which is home to some of the best minds in the field of evolutionary biology. It expands the range of science that my colleagues and I do at the New Zealand Institute for Advanced Study. It also provides enhanced opportunity for the University to collaborate with the leading scientists at Max Planck Institutes.”

Professor Rainey says his research interests in evolutionary genetics are complementary to the work being carried out by his colleagues in Germany. “Experimental evolution – in which we are skilled – is an area that the Institute for Evolutionary Biology seeks to build. Our work aligns well with the directions the institute wishes to take.”

Caption: Professor .

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