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Asthma Study Wins Zonta/Building Research Award

Asthma Study Wins Joint Zonta/Building Research Award

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Zonta/Building Research Award

Asthma Study Wins Joint Zonta/Building Research Award

Last night, Christchurch scientist Caroline Shorter was declared the winner of the 2006 Zonta/Building Research Award . The Prime Minister, Helen Clark presented Caroline with her prestigious prize. The biennial Award worth $75,000 provides the means for a woman scientist to become a PhD. Caroline is studying for her doctorate in conjunction with Canesis Network Ltd and the Asthma Research Group at Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Otago University.

Sharon Nelson-Kelly, Convenor of the Zonta Science Awards says, "We look for an exceptional woman who not only contributes to science but also helps others in the wider community. Caroline is a worthy recipient who more than fills the Award criteria."

The Award, which was established in 2004, is to encourage women to pursue a career in science and to provide positive acknowledgment of the valuable contribution they make. Preference is given to studies applicable to the building and construction industry.

Caroline works at Canesis Network Ltd in Lincoln as a Research Scientist in the Built Environments and Public Health Group and her PhD study concerns the levels and characteristics of fungi (moulds) that influence air quality in New Zealand homes. Winning the award will enable her to pursue her studies on a full-time basis.

She attended Hutt Valley High School before gaining a BSc in Zoology and Ecology and MSc in Ecology (Animal Behaviour) with first class honours from Victoria University of Wellington. She already acts as an ambassador in the Canterbury area for Futureintech, a government funded initiative, which aims to encourage young people into careers in science, engineering and technology. Caroline has a wide range of interests outside work including the Biomimetics Society of New Zealand, Civil Defence, dance, history classes, house design, rock climbing and abseiling.

Dr John Duncan of Building Research was delighted with the quality and number of applications for this year's Zonta/Building Research Award. He was equally impressed with the research topic and says, "Researching the air quality in our homes is particularly relevant to New Zealanders. Whilst it is estimated that one in twenty people worldwide are affected by asthma, the New Zealand statistics tell a very different story. Here it is estimated that as many as one in six are affected, and one in three preschoolers.

"This research will help us to understand the contribution of mould growth to these statistics, and give us reliable means of assessing levels of mould spores in household environments. It relates directly to Building Research's purpose to invest in research which delivers a built environment that is highly valued by New Zealanders and results in a better quality of life."

Dr Duncan acknowledged Zonta's contribution and went on to say, "Building Research is now investing some $200,000 a year in scholarships and study awards to meet the needs of the building and construction sector. We are proud to sponsor and partner with the Zonta Club of Wellington. Helping students like Caroline complete their studies is an investment in the next generation of New Zealand scientists. We congratulate Caroline and look forward to following her progress."


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