School of Fundamental Sciences
Our graduates build careers in many areas of science and technology within New Zealand and overseas. We offer the BSc degree, and our BSc (Hons), MSc and PGDipSci programmes combine taught papers and research and we have a strong PhD programme.
We are a highly productive group carrying out interdisciplinary research at the frontiers of our disciplines. We have extensive international collaborations and an impressive history of commercialising our results.
Head of School
Professor Paul Plieger
Prof Plieger is Head of the School for the School of Fundamental Sciences.
He is a trained inorganic synthetic chemist specialising in ligand design, synthesis and functionality. He has strong research interests in anion encapsulation, supramolecular cages, nanomagnets and beryllium coordination chemistry.
The School of Fundamental Sciences is located on the Manawatū campus in Palmerston North.
Massey University Fundamental Sciences
Science Tower A1.19
Palmerston North 4410
Massey University Fundamental Sciences
PN461 Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North 4442
The Forder Public Lecture Series - The Usefulness of Useless (Mathematical) Knowledge
16 March 2020
The Forder Lectures are an annual series, given by a mathematician from the UK who tours NZ visiting all the universities. The talk is hosted by Massey University's School of Fundamental Sciences.
This year's speaker is Dr Julia Wolf, a university lecturer in the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics at the University of Cambridge.Find out more
Introduction to RStudio
R is a free and powerful software environment for statistical computing, data analysis, and graphics. The R environment is highly flexible and it contains a wealth of functions to carry out standard and non-standard statistical and graphical analyses.
The workshop is designed for data analysts (both statisticians and non-statisticians) with a solid grounding in statistics but with little or no experience with R/RStudio.
Scholarships and jobs
PhD and master's opportunities
At any one time, the School of Fundamental Sciences has PhD and master's scholarship opportunities, both for specific projects, and projects to suit your expertise and interest.
Meet our graduates
My supervisor, Professor Stowell, was brilliant throughout my PhD. She gave me all the support I needed and helped me find solutions for the various problems we ran into during my time at Massey. She had an open door policy and I was always able to discuss issues when needed.Cornelia Roesl
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh
I have always been passionate about numbers so choosing to study a BSc that was numbers-related was an easy decision for me.Emily Hendy
Bachelor of Science (Statistics)
I love detail and complexity. I love pulling apart systems and the underlying logic to see what really makes them tick. I find it absolutely exciting to develop models which emulate real-world behaviours.Jay Ta'ala
Bachelor of Science (Mathematics)
Physics always struck me as the most interesting of the sciences and the majority of scientists who I really look up to are all physicists. Studying at Massey was worthwhile as there was a lot of learning about things that are used in the real world.Motoko Kakubayashi
Press Officer - Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe, University of Tokyo
Master of Science (Physics)
I chose to do my PhD at Massey University because of its international reputation and ranking. Massey undertakes innovative research and I wanted a university where good researchers would surround me.Nurudeen Adegoke
Doctor of Philosophy
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Massey and feel it provided the necessary basis to enter the workforce in my chosen field.Shanna Hickling
Bachelor of Science (Microbiology) (Genetics)
Manawatu statistics consultancy
Statistical consultancy service from the Statistics and Bioinformatics group. We provide advice to researchers within Massey University as well as private organisations.
Manawatū Microscopy and Imaging Centre
The MMIC facility is available for use by organisations such as researchers, Crown Research Institutes, other teaching institutions, hospitals and commercial clients. We offer transmitted light and fluorescence microscopy, electron microscopy and image analysis and have a professional team of specialists to help you with your microscopy needs.
Massey Genome Service
Massey Genome Service provides DNA & RNA sequencing services to New Zealand researchers and students.
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Laboratory
Equipment in this laboratory includes a
- 700 MHz spectrometer with a cryogenically-cooled probe; 60-place sample changer and autotune and match module for high throughput
- 500 MHz spectrometer
- 400 MHz spectrometer
- 200 MHz horizontal widebore spectrometer, with high resolution imaging capabilities.
The Laser Laboratory includes optical tweezers, light scattering, and Raman spectrometer.
This laboratory includes equipment for molecular biology, protein expression and purification.
Solar cell construction and performance
We have solar cell construction and performance testing facilities.
There are a wide range of spectrometers as part of the equipment on the Manawatū campus including
- Applied Photophysics Chirascan CD spectrometer (new in 2008)
- ThermoElectron Nicolet high-resolution FT-MIR/FT-FarIR
- UV-Vis spectrometers
- Raman spectrometers
- Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) spectrometer
Translational Medical Research Laboratory
Our IANZ-accredited research/diagnostic laboratory specialises in DNA testing for Malignant Hyperthermia (MH) and other RYR1-myopathies. We work closely with Dr Terasa Bulger, Consultant Anaesthetist at Palmerston North hospital (Mid Central Health) and other MH specialists within NZ and Australia.
Developed from more than 20 years of research, our diagnostic service includes presymptomatic diagnosis for familial MH-susceptibility for known RYR1 or CACNA1S pathogenic variants, and whole exome screening.
For further information contact:
Director: Professor Kathryn Stowell (ONZM, BSc(hons), PhD)
Quality Manager: Mrs Rowane Lyver (BSc)
X-ray Diffraction Laboratory
The X-ray Diffraction Lab houses a Bruker D8 Venture diffractometer. X-rays are generated by a microfocus diamond (IuS) source with Cu radiation. X-rays are detected by a noiseless Photon III detector. The diffractometer is set up for small molecular and protein crystallography on small and weakly-diffracting samples. Powder X-ray diffraction patterns are also easily measured. An Oxford Cryostream 800 provides cooling down to 80 K. An ISX stage for protein plates, microscopes, cameras and many other accessories are available.
Research centres and groups
Centre for Structural Biology
The Centre combines state-of-the-art crystallographic, NMR, computational, biochemical, and biophysical approaches to study biomolecular structure, dynamics and interactions.
The centre houses New Zealand's finest collection of NMR spectrometers (700, 500, 400 and 200 MHz) along with a a new Xray diffraction suite.
Molecular Plant Pathology Laboratory
Our research seeks to understand the molecular basis of plant-pathogen interactions so that we can better inform disease resistance breeding programmes in crop and tree species of relevance to New Zealand.
Massey University researchers, led by Professor Shane Telfer, have received $1.5 million to explore the potential of a material that could perform tasks like capturing carbon dioxide directly from air to help mitigate global warming.Professor Shane Telfer
$1.5 million funding from Catalyst Strategic Fund
A new model for studying cancer biology and regenerative medicine has been awarded a $150,000 Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) Explorer Grant.Dr Tracy Hale, Associate Professor Vyacheslav Filichev and Professor Geoff Jameson
Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) Explorer Grant
A project led by Associate Professor Jennifer Tate received $929,000 for a project to determine if there are genomic "rules" to successful polyploid speciation.Associate Professor Jennifer Tate
Marsden funding for allopolyploid research
Professor Shane Telfer received $891,000 for his research 'Reinventing Asymmetric Catalysts Using Multicomponent Frameworks' Professor Shane Telfer
Marsden funding for asymmetric catalysis research
Dr David Winter received $300,000 funding for the project 'Treasure from the junk pile: Do transposable elements drive the evolution of gene expression?'
Professor Murray Cox was awarded $925,000 from the Royal Society's Marsden Fund to research what fraction of genetic change actually causes a corresponding change in phenotype.Professor Murray Cox
Marsden funding for genotype research
Dr Helen Fitzsimons was awarded $795,000 from the Royal Society's Marsden Fund for the project 'A new role for HDAC4 in neuronal morphogenesis and memory'.Dr Helen Fitzsimons
Marsden funding for neurone research
Professor Geoff Jameson and Professor Bill Williams were awarded $935,000 from the 2018 Royal Society's Marsden Fund for the research project 'Pectin methylesterases: turning pectin function with complex variations upon a simple theme'.Professor Geoff Jameson and Professor Bill Williams
Marsden funding for pectin research
Dr David Simpson, along with Professor Paul Glendinning of the University of Manchester, received $500,000 for the project 'Organised chaos: Using geometry to explain robust chaotic dynamics in switched dynamical systems'.Dr David Simpson
Marsden funding for switched dynamical systems
Massey University biochemist Kathryn Stowell was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2015 for her discovery of a novel gene variant in the rare genetic disorder Malignant Hyperthermia.Kathryn Stowell
ONZM for life-saving research
Professor Murray Cox has been awarded the Te Rangi Hīroa Medal by the Royal Society Te Apārangi for his work decoding how past societies lived through their genetic data.
The Medal recognises excellence in the social sciences and was established in memory of Sir Peter Buck.Professor Murray Cox
Te Rangi Hīroa Medal
Dr Cami Sawyer was awarded a tertiary teaching award in 2019 from Ako Aotearoa, the National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence.Dr Cami Sawyer
Tertiary Teaching Award for senior mathematics tutor
* The School of Fundamental Sciences was previously known as the Institute of Fundamental Sciences.