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We offer an education that combines rigorous academic study and the excitement of discovery with the support and intellectual stimulation of a diverse community in a unique interdisciplinary atmosphere. We are located on Massey’s Auckland campus.
We teach into programmes within biological sciences, computer science and information technology, mathematics, statistics, the physical sciences and wildlife ecology.
The Natural and Computational Sciences group at Massey University is comprised of some of the world’s leading scientists. Recent recruits have come from Harvard, Cambridge, Max Planck and other leading institutions. They continue their research in New Zealand at Massey, while collaborating with colleagues across the globe.
Our areas of specialisation cross the mathematical and natural sciences disciplines. We disseminate and generate scientific knowledge of the highest quality in our areas of specialisation, producing relevant, globally-influential research.
Lead investigator Dr Heather Hendrickson was awarded $884,000 for the project 'It’s complicated: experimentally tracking the evolution of endosymbiosis in real time.'Royal Society Te Apārangi - 2018
Marsden funding for the evolution of endosymbiosis
Associate Professor Karen Stockin was appointed to the role of strandings coordinator within the Strandings Initiative at the International Whaling Commission.International Whaling Commission - 2018
Appointment to International Whaling Commission
Drs Elke Pahl, Krista Steenbergen, Lukas Pasteka and Distinguished Professor Peter Schwerdtfeger have been selected fellows and join eight international scientists from Europe as fellows at the Centre for Advanced Study at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters - 2017
Fellows of the Centre for Advanced Study in Norway
Professor Carlo Laing was awarded $415,000 from the Royal Society's Marsden Fund for the research project 'Function from structure: accurate reduced models of neuronal networks'.Royal Society Te Apārangi - 2017
Marsden funding for neural network research
Professor Thomas Pfeiffer was awarded $735,000 from the Royal Society's Marsden Fund for the project 'Predict to decide: Investigating decision markets in theory, experiments and practical applications'.Royal Society Te Apārangi - 2017
Marsden funding for decision theory research
Professor Mick Roberts was awarded $415,000 from the Royal Society's Marsden Fund for the research project 'Biodiversity and the ecology of emerging infectious diseases '.Royal Society Te Apārangi - 2017
Marsden funding for ecology of infectious diseases research
Dr Olin Silander was awarded $895,000 from the Royal Society's Marsden Fund for the project 'Stuff Memories Are Made Of: How Bacteria Remember and Learn from Environmental Signals'.Royal Society Te Apārangi - 2017
Marsden funding for bacteria research
Professor Joachim Brand was awarded $870,000 from the Royal Society's Marsden Fund for the research project 'Playing dice with Fermi: Full configuration interaction quantum Monte Carlo for fermionic superfluids'.Royal Society Te Apārangi - 2016
Marsden funding for superfluids research
Come and hear from some of the leading minds in science today. Massey University Auckland scientists take you into the fascinating world of scientific discoveries.
I chose Massey University because of the dynamic range of papers and programmes offered, which I could mould to suit my interests.Amy Palamountain - GitHub, Developer
Bachelor of Science (Double major in Genetics and Computer Science)
Returning from fishing near Whangarei one day, I spotted a large pod of dolphins and a mother-calf pair of whales. It was then I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to working with whales and dolphins.Blair Outhwaite - Master's student at Massey
Bachelor of Science (Marine Ecology)
I knew about the great work the marine ecology group led by Professor Marti Anderson at Massey University was doing and their renowned expertise in statistics and data analysis, among other things, was exactly what I needed.David Acuna Marrero - PhD student (Ecology)
Doctor of Philosophy
My time at Massey was really worthwhile and I picked up a number of life skills including time management, people skills, research techniques and study skills, all of which are still useful to me in my everyday work.David Lasike
Bachelor of Information Sciences (Double major in Computer Science and Information Technology)
I believe Massey set me up very well to succeed in my chosen field of computer science.Dion Shepherd
Master of Information Sciences
The most satisfying part of this programme was the chance to create original knowledge or progress beyond what is currently known in that field.Gemma Phillips - Load Scheduling Specialist, Coca Cola Amatil
Master of Science (Mathematics)
I’ve always had a keen interest in technology so when it came time to choose a university, Massey in Auckland appealed to me for a number of reasons.Georgia Barnett - Developer at Xero
Bachelor of Information Sciences (Software Engineering)
In addition to the knowledge gained from the degree, a biochemistry major provides a large skill set, such as time management, verbal skills and laboratory techniques.Georgia Richardson - Food Safety - Ministry for Primary Industries
Bachelor of Science (Biochemistry)
One of the best things about IT is that you can take it anywhere. Whether you’re interested in food, fashion or health care, every industry needs IT specialists.Helen Durrant - Senior Software Engineer - Leafnode
Bachelor of Information Sciences with Honours
During my second year, I came across the genetic counselling profession and knew straight away this was the career I wanted to pursue.Kirsty Mann - Genetic counsellor - Royal Melbourne Hospital
Bachelor of Science (Biological Sciences)
My degree taught me the foundations of programming and how to be able to pick up any language/area efficiently.Nicole Wilcox - Graduate Software Engineer, ASB
Bachelor of Science (Computer Science)
I really enjoyed the software papers I took and principles that I learnt I apply in my current job. The top IT graduate jobs are highly competitive and I am glad that I studied with Massey University, I felt it prepared me well for the workplace.Reece Hewitt - Developer at IAG NZ
Bachelor of Information Science (Information Technology)
Professor Brunton is the head of School of Natural and Computational Sciences
Her research expertise is in social behaviour and the evolution and ecology of animal communication with her main research interest in the evolution of song.
Alona is the deputy head of the School of Natural and Computational Sciences. Her research interests currently focus on the cardio-respiratory system of mammals.
Shaun Cooper teaches mathematics courses at all levels at Massey, including algebra and calculus, discrete mathematics, analysis and theoretical mathematics. His research expertise is in number theory, especially in relation to the work of the Indian mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan.
Tim work focuses on understanding the dynamics of microbial adaptation. His work focuses on the genetics of adaptation, especially on how interactions among genetic mutations and the environment influence evolutionary outcomes.
James’ research focuses on evolutionary ecology, such as the function of elaborate coloration in animals. He also teaches first year zoology and third year ornithology courses.
John is a physical chemist with a particular interest in chemical dynamics and spectroscopy. He is also a founder and director of the Massey startup Lifeonics Ltd.
Barry’s research focuses on creating statistical methods to give insight into real-life problems in medicine, nutrition, informatics, industry, and social research.
Chris is the programme leader for the Bachelor of Information Sciences. His research interests are in design and implementation of agent-based simulations in the areas of computational science, artificial life and military studies.
Examples of research projects from School scientists.
A European/New Zealand collaboration has resulted in a theory around the physical characteristics of Chladni solitons, proposing experiments to observe them in ultra-cold atomic superfluids.
The work, between Professor Joachim Brand and Antonio Muñoz Mateo from the University of Barcelona resulted in the paper: 'Chladni solitons and the onset of the snaking instability for dark solitons in confined superfluids' published in Physical Review Letters.
Associate Professor Alona Ben-Tal led a project that developed mathematical equations to describe how the avian respiratory system works. In birds, air flows in one direction during both inspiration and expiration, in an area of the lungs where gas exchange occurs. The project provides a new explanation on the way in which this unidirectional flow is generated.
Dr David Aguirre, a Massey marine ecologist is helping to uncover the ways the world’s coral reefs could survive in the face of rising global temperatures. Coral bleaching is having devastating effects on coral reefs around the world. The study, led by the Australian Museum is hoping to understand how reefs will respond to climate change and show us where our best efforts to preserve reefs lie.
Horizontal gene transfer is a powerful source of change in bacteria that can significantly aid their ability to survive. These rules are governed by architecture imparting sequences (AIMS), which are in all bacterial chromosomes. A team of international researchers including Massey’s Dr Heather Hendrickson discovered that if sets of AIMS are well matched between a donor and recipient genome, then the DNA moving between those genomes can be maintained. The opposite is true if they are not well matched, effectively establishing the rules of transfer.
In the atmospheres of certain stellar objects such as rotating white dwarfs and neutron stars, extreme magnetic fields exist that cannot be generated on Earth. Knowledge about chemistry and physics under such conditions is indispensable for understanding astronomical observations. Dr Elke Pahl and Prof Peter Schwerdtfeger as well as post-doctoral fellow and PhD students of the Centre of Theoretical Chemistry and Physics joined European scientists at the Centre for Advanced Study at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in 2017/18 to work towards understanding how the chemistry we know on Earth changes under extreme conditions. Exciting new research ideas resulted - one example is a new highly collaborative research project on the study of melting processes in high magnetic fields.
Massey University has developed a real-time gross domestic product (GDP) tracker, believed to be the first of its kind in the world. Called GDPLive, the online portal was developed by Dr Teo Susnjak of the College of Sciences and Professor Christoph Schumacher from the Massey Business School. It uses machine learning algorithms and the most up-to-date data possible, including live data sources to allow users to instantly see estimates of how the New Zealand economy is performing on a daily basis, and provides GDP forecasts.
Massey scientists in natural, mathematical sciences and engineering have developed what is thought to be the first-ever ‘smart’ cell density sensing tool. The SMODTM (Smart Measuring Optical Device) was launched by Lifeonics in 2015 and since then has signed a number of international distributors,.
Nothing is known about the genomic correlate or genetic mechanisms for inter-island diversification of Galapagos mockingbirds. Massey scientist Dr Luis Ortiz-Catedral worked with American scientists to investigate the genomic correlates of phenotypic diversification of this endangered bird.
One of the enduring paradoxes of evolutionary biology is: how do high levels of genetic diversity persist within a population? Massey scientists, led by Dr James Dale, working with American researchers, are addressing this major question through detailed genetic and behavioural research on the dramatic colour variation occurring in an abundant, endemic and poorly known marine isopod, Isocladus armatus. The outputs of this project promise to greatly improve our understanding of both evolution and gene flow in marine environments, and will provide hard insight into the processes that maintain biological diversity.
Phages target specific bacterial strains in nature and as a primary parasite of bacteria they are responsible both for bacterial mortality and for transferring genes between bacterial strains. A team led by Heather Hendrickson are investigating, characterising and sequencing these entities in order to learn more about the role they play in the microbial world and their diversity. The group currently study Pseudomonas phages, Lactococcus phages, Paenibacillus phages and Mycobacterium phages.
We love to get students, parents and educators involved in the science we’re doing at the School of Natural and Computational Sciences.
The School of Natural and Computational Sciences is one of six interconnected schools within the College of Sciences.
*The School name changed on 1 January 2019 from the Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences.