Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences News

Latest news 

PhD scholarships awarded to INMS students

20 October 2017. Three PhD students within INMS have secured Massey University Doctoral Research Dissemination Grants. Congratulations to Ivan Welsh, Jayson Cosme and Sophie Shamailov.

Immense oganesson projected to have no electron shells

09 October 2017. From Chemistry World: On paper, oganesson [element 118] has the closed-subshell rare-gas electronic configuration, ending with a filled 7p shell. But theoretical chemist Peter Schwerdtfeger of Massey University in New Zealand, nuclear physicist Witold Nazarewicz of Michigan State University in the US, and their co-workers predict that perturbations of electrons orbiting such an immense nucleus cause them to more or less lose their shell structure entirely and to become smeared out into a diffuse ‘gas’ of charge. Read the full Chemistry World article here and a summary by New Zealand Herald here.

Student funding for international research

06 October 2017. INMS PhD student Azadeh Izadi has been awarded a Massey University Foundation Grant to visit the University of Leeds, UK and work with Professor Tony Cohn and his group. Azadeh’s research focuses on 3D topological reasoning that extends a model originally developed by Professor Cohn.


National Geographic funding for student research

06 October 2017. PhD student Jessica Patiño Pérez has received funding from the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration to support her project, "Do vocal dialects exist in New Zealand bottlenose dolphins? The role of geographic isolation and social associations in driving diversity of signature whistles".

Metagenomics day

30 September 2017. INMS staff and postgraduate students hosted 120 high school students for the 2017 Metagenomics day. Visiting students participated in a project that uses microbes to assess soil health. Students extracted DNA from soils, performed a PCR, ran a gel, and did some bioinformatics work in the computer labs. Students were also able to see a demonstration of nanopore DNA sequencing using the MinION device. Students came away with a better understanding of several scientific techniques.

Massey researcher with Smart Ideas

22 September 2017. Senior Lecturer Dr Jane Allison is part of a team of researchers awarded an MBIE Smart Ideas grant entitled “Development of a simple, general and novel assay platform for detecting and quantifying analytes in nonlaboratory settings”, which is worth $1,000,000 over 3 years. The work will entail the development of stimuli-responsive gel filtration matrices based on the reversible assembly of polyethylene-glycol conjugated peptides tagged with DNA aptamers that specifically bind to the target analyte.


Success with MBIE Research Programme

22 September 2017. Senior Lecturer Dr Kristin Stock is part of a team that has been awarded $2,870,000 for an MBIE Research Programme entitled He Tātai Whenua: A Te Ao Māori landscape classification. The team involves researchers from across Massey, including the Institute of Agriculture and Environment, COCA and the School of Maori Art, Knowledge and Education, as well as Landcare Research, Tiaho Ltd and Tipa and Associates. The project will synthesise a Te Ao Māori landscape classification that can be directly integrated with existing geographical information systems (GIS).

Queenstown Research Week

08 September 2017. Senior Lecturer Dr Heather Hendrickson was the convener for the main Queenstown Molecular Biology meeting as part of the Queenstown Research Week event. Over 1,700 participants attended the Queenstown Research Week event and INMS was well represented in the satellite and main meetings. Massey University sponsored the main meeting and contributed to bringing keynote speaker Professor David Relman over from Stanford through the Distinguished Visitor Fund.


Massey Molecular Methods Day 2017

08 September 2017. INMS hosted the annual Massey Molecular Methods Day outreach for senior schools. Over a six day period, 165 Year 13 students from seven schools participated in a one-day laboratory program where they gained experience in the use of automatic pipettes, setting up restriction digests, gel electrophoresis and plasmid mapping.


New professor for INMS

08 September 2017. Dr Ruili Wang has been promoted to Professor of Information Sciences in recognition of his research leadership and other significant contributions to Massey University and his field of expertise. Professor Ruili Wang joined Massey in 2003 and has since demonstrated sustained excellence and leadership in research, teaching, and service. As a world class researcher, he has been awarded significant research grants in excess of $2 million, including a prestigious Marsden grant and the NSC Science of Technology Innovation Seed Project grant. Professor Wang has more than 100 peer reviewed publications, with 65 journal publications in the fields of Artificial Intelligence and Complex Systems.

Invited committee member

25 August 2017. Associate Professor Evelyn Sattlegger served as an invited member on one of the Biomedical Grant Assessment Committees of the Health Research Council (HRC) of New Zealand. The 2017 Annual Funding Round allocated grants with a total value of $89 Million. 


Latest 10  publications

i) Fallon T, Meek T. 2017. Simplified “No-D” NMR methods for routine analysis and organometallic reagent concentration determination. Organic Letters doi: 10.1021/acs.orglett.7b02665

ii) Hill SD, Pawley MDM, Anderson MG, Ji W. 2017. Higher song complexity and intruder pressure at dawn in a vocally complex songbird. Emu: Austral Ornithology. doi:10.1080/01584197.2017.1380503

iii) Hill SD, Brunton DH, Anderson MG, Ji W. 2017. Fighting talk: complex song elicits more aggressive responses in a vocally complex songbird. Ibis: International Journal of Avian Science doi: 10.1111/ibi.12542

iv) Laing CR. 2017. Phase oscillator network models of brain dynamics. Pp. 505-517 in Moustafa A. (Ed.) Computational Models of Brain and Behavior, Wiley-Blackwell.

v) Freed NE. 2017. Creation of a dense transposon insertion library using bacterial conjugation in enterobacterial strains such as Escherichia Coli or Shigella flexneri. Journal of Visualized Experiments 127: e56216

vi) Piggot TJ, Allison JR, Sessions RB, Essex JW (2017). On the calculation of acyl chain order parameters from lipid simulations. Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation doi: 10.1021/acs.jctc.7b00643

vii) Purcell RV, Visnovska M, Biggs PJ, Schmeier S, Frizelle FA (2017). Distinct gut microbiome patterns associate with consensus molecular subtypes of colorectal cancer. Scientific Reports doi:

viii) Yu Y, Gao Y, Wang H, Wang R (2017). Joint user knowledge and matrix factorization for recommender systems. World Wide Web doi: 10.1007/s11280-017-0476-7

ix) Tirumal SS, Shahamiri SR, Garhwal AS, Wang R (2017). Speaker identification features extraction methods: A systematic review. Expert Systems with Applications doi: 10.1016/j.eswa.2017.08.015 

x) Acuña-Marrero D, Smith ANH, Hammerschlag N, Hearn A, Anderson MJ, Calich H, Pawley MDM, Fischer C, Salinas-de-León P (2017). Residency and movement patterns of an apex predatory shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) at the Galapagos Marine Reserve. PLOS ONE 12:e0183669.

Massey news releases

Fascination Science – Ken Ono
The tenth instalment of a free lecture series at Massey University will be given by a man so fascinated by a Mathematician that he would later help...
Fascination Sciences: the legions of organisms within you
Your body is full of microbes and viruses that affect your everyday health and understanding that world will be the focus of the eighth instalment of...
Funding for computer bugs, birds calls and speech recognition
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Bryde’s whales share secrets with their fins
Research into the long-term survival and abundance of the Hauraki Gulf's Bryde's whale population has used photographs of their fins to aid efforts...
No definitive cause of orca death
The investigation into the death of an orca washed up on Whatipu Beach has found no evidence of boat strike or live stranding.
Massey marine biologists investigate orca death
A Massey University marine conservation team is mobilising to investigate the death of a killer whale, or orca, washed up on Auckland's west coast at...

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