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Massey University Electronic Newsletter

Massey University Electronic Newsletter

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Issue: 11. 14 July, 2003 News Briefs

The opening of a unique Molecular Ecology Laboratory at the Albany campus cements the University's position as the leader in evolutionary ecology research in New Zealand. The custom-built laboratory is part of the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution. It will be home to Professor David Lambert and his staff, and one of only two ABI3730 DNA Sequencers in New Zealand. Professor Lambert and his team will continue their internationally-recognised work into the evolution of moa, Adelie penguins and other natural treasures using the latest DNA technologies.

An expert in new materials for emerging technologies has been appointed Professor and Head of the University-wide Institute of Information Sciences and Technology. Dr Janina Mazierska is currently Associate Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. She is a world expert in measurements of microwave parameters of dielectrics and high temperature superconductors for wireless communication.

A new national centre of music excellence in Wellington, uniting the resources of Massey and Victoria universities, is set to start up next year. During consultation, the proposal has been enthusiastically endorsed by the music sector and other external groups as well as staff and students.

The All Blacks have been at the Palmerston North campus using the custom-built Institute of Rugby to prepare for the Bledisloe and Tri-Nations. With only four tests before the World Cup campaign, the week-long camp was an important factor in the drive for success.

The University's Council will set fees for the 2004 year at its October meeting. The University, meantime, has lodged a submission to the Government on aspects of the fees maxima regime. Final regulations are due out in late July.

Two directors from the Research School of Public Health have been appointed to key positions within a new five-member National Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Committee announced by Labour Minister Margaret Wilson. The committee will be chaired by Professor Neil Pearce, director of the Centre for Public Health Research. Professor Philippa Gander, who directs the University's Sleep/Wake Research Centre, is also a member.

Not everyone is totally won over by the Wellywood concept, according to cultural studies lecturer Dr Jenny Lawn. She has made a case study of the economic and cultural impact of The Lord of the Rings on Wellington's self-representation. The study, which was presented at a conference in London, says at a national level, there could be both economic and cultural reservations over such 'packaging' of New Zealand for international consumption.

A hui to examine the commercial and business opportunities of the Maori potato or was held at the Palmerston North campus recently, bringing together marae groups already growing taewa on a commercial or semi-commercial basis. About 40 Maori growers from Kaikohe, Otorohanga, Ruatoki, Hastings, Ruatoria, Auckland, Lincoln, Te Kuiti, Patea and the Rangitikei, as well as representatives of the horticulture industry, including Heinz-Wattie, VegFed, NZ Crop and Food, attended.

A conference on 'Malay-Mäori Affinity' will be held on the Albany campus later this month. It will trace similarities and differences as both cultures evolved and adapted under globalisation and Western culture.

A professional Masters degree in property is to be offered at the Albany campus from next year, to meet the needs of the $420 billion property industry. Professor Bob Hargreaves from the Department of Finance, Banking and Property says the programme is expected to attract professionals in the fields of real estate, law, valuation, property management, finance, planning, architecture and engineering, who can study full-time at Albany or extramurally.

An annual conference of world evolution authorities will be hosted by the Allan Wilson Centre at the Aotea Centre in Auckland in 2007. 'Evolution 2007' will bring around 1200 members of the international science community to New Zealand and is being held outside North America for the first time. In 2005 the Centre will also host about 400 in Auckland for an international conference on molecular biology in evolution'.

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