Massey University’s School of Fundamental Sciences* leads study and research into the basic sciences on the Palmerston North campus. Our multi and interdisciplinary research and teaching span the biological and physical sciences, mathematics and statistics.


Institute of Fundamental Sciences - study

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.


Mathematical formulae

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. 

Staff contacts and expertise

The School Fundamental Sciences is one of six interconnected schools within the College of Sciences.

Find out more about staff and their research expertise and the College of Sciences.

All School staff

College of Sciences


The School of Fundamental Sciences is located on the Manawatū campus in Palmerston North.

School address


Massey University Fundamental Sciences
Science Tower A1.19
Colombo Road
Palmerston North 4410
New Zealand
Attn xxxxxx


Massey University Fundamental Sciences
PN461 Private Bag 11222
Palmerston North 4442
New Zealand
Attn xxxxxx

Manawatū campus

Short courses

Scholarships and jobs

Molecular scientist looking into microscope

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.

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Meet our graduates


    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.

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    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.

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    Massey Genome Service

    Massey Genome Service provides DNA & RNA sequencing services to New Zealand researchers and students.

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      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.

      Optical Laboratory

      The Laser Laboratory includes optical tweezers, light scattering, and Raman spectrometer.

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      PC2-certified Laboratory

      This laboratory includes equipment for molecular biology, protein expression and purification.

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      Solar cell construction and performance

      We have solar cell construction and performance testing facilities.

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      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
      • Fluorimeter
      • Polarimeter

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      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.

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      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.

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        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.

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        Find out more about the Massey University study programmes, research, facilities, services and people working in the School of Fundamental Sciences' areas of specialisation.

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        * The School of Fundamental Sciences was previously known as the Institute of Fundamental Sciences.