2007 Technicians Awards

These awards provide for an annual salary of up to $35,000 to be paid for two years to provide technical support and assistance for a specific research project undertaken by the recipients. This year's recipients are:

Gareth Rowlands

Gareth Rowlands of the Institute of Fundamental Sciences receives a technician's award for research that aims to study alternative forms of chirality in the development of novel organocatalysts, with a goal to improve the efficacy of these catalysts.

Organocatalysts is the pre-eminent method to achieve enantioselective synthesis due to its numerous advantages over its metal-based counterparts, particularly in the area of waste control.

The first stage of the current project will be to complete preliminary studies; synthesis of the catalysts by a technician, to resynthesize catalysts first prepared in Britain.

Dr Jan Schmid

A senior lecturer from the Institute of Molecular Biosciences, Dr Jan Schmid receives a technician's award for a project on candida contingency genes.

Dr Schmid, working in collaboration with Dr Barbara Holland from the Allan Wilson Centre, Dr Mark Patchett from the Institute of Molecular Biosciences and an Otago researcher, has discovered that two hypermutable surface proteins in Candida albicans, the most important fungal pathogen of humans, are pathogenicity determinants and that more such proteins may exist. The finding resulted in a hypothesis, which will now be tested.

Professor Neil Pearce

Professor Neil Pearce, director of the Centre for Public Health Research receives an award for the centre's project Balancing Innate Immunity in Asthma.

The funding for a full-time technician will allow establishment of a research programme into the immunological mechanisms of asthma, which will be developed in collaboration with the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research.

This study will be the first of its kind to examine interaction of different cells derived directly from the airways. Eighty asthmatic children and 40 control children will be recruited.

Professor Pearce also receives the individual research medal


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