Massey’s eminent researchers

Distinguished Professor is Massey University’s highest academic title. It is bestowed on up to 15 professors who have achieved outstanding international eminence in their fields.

Photo by Dave Wiltshire

Distinguished Professor Gaven Martin

Distinguished Professor since 2004

Gaven Martin is a founding director of Massey’s New Zealand Institute for Advanced Study. His PhD is from the University of Michigan, under the supervision of world-renowned mathematician Frederick Gehring. From 1986 to 1988, he was a Gibbs Assistant Professor at Yale University. In 1992, he was awarded a personal chair at the University of Auckland. Professor Martin has been at Massey since 2004.

His research interests are quasiconformal mappings, regularity theory for partial differential equations, and connections between the theory of discrete groups and low-dimensional topology.

Professor Martin is Visiting Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, Visiting Fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford, and Miller Distinguished Professor at Berkeley. He has fellowships from the Swedish and the Finnish Academies, and is Fellow at the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (Los Angeles).

In 2009, he was the first New Zealand academic to deliver the prestigious annual Taft Lectures at the University of Cincinnati, joining the long list of eminent mathematicians who have presented these public lectures since 1931. Professor Martin is a Fellow of the Royal Society Te Apārangi, the American Mathematical Society and the New Zealand Mathematical Society and a Foreign Member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, the first New Zealander to be recognised.

Photo by Kim Sargent Photography

Distinguished Professor Paul Moughan

Distinguished Professor since 2005

Paul Moughan was the co-director of the Riddet Institute — a government-funded Centre of Research Excellence dedicated to research and postgraduate education in food science and human nutrition — from its inception in 2003 until 2018.

In 2012, he and fellow Riddet director and Distinguished Professor, Harjinder Singh, received the Prime Minister’s Science Prize in recognition of their contribution to advancing knowledge in food protein science. Their research has driven both innovation and export earnings in New Zealand’s food and beverage industry.

Professor Moughan is also credited with establishing the role of food peptides in influencing gut protein metabolism. He has made significant contributions to advancing knowledge in the chemical analysis of foods and the development of bioassays of nutrient availability, and he is widely regarded as a world authority on mammalian protein metabolism and food evaluation science.

Professor Moughan, who joined Massey in 1985, was appointed to the Foundation Chair in Monogastric Biology in 1993 and in 1996 was awarded a Personal Chair at Massey. He holds an honorary DSc from the University of Guelph, Canada. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society Te Apārangi and of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the world’s leading chemistry community.

Photo by Dave Wiltshire

Distinguished Professor Peter Schwerdtfeger

Distinguished Professor since 2012

Peter Schwerdtfeger is a world-leading authority in quantum chemistry and physics. His PhD is from the University of Stuttgart. Professor Schwerdtfeger, who is German-born, has held numerous positions as a teaching and research fellow at universities in Germany, Australia and New Zealand. His Marsden-funded projects include experimental and theoretical investigations of the nanostructures of gold for a better understanding of the quantum size effects in nanostructured materials, and understanding and modelling the behaviour of dynamic clusters of atoms and molecules in heavy metal clusters. He collaborates with more than 30 research groups worldwide on topics ranging from computational inorganic and organic chemistry to materials science and high-resolution spectroscopy.

Professor Schwerdtfeger is the director of Massey University’s Theoretical Chemistry and Physics Centre and a member of the New Zealand Institute for Advanced Study. He has earned many awards, among them the Royal Society Te Apārangi Hector (2001) and Rutherford (2014) medals, the Humboldt Research Prize and the Fukui Medal. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society Te Apārangi and a Fellow of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science.

Photo by Dave Wiltshire

Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley

Distinguished Professor since 2013

Paul Spoonley joined the Massey staff in 1979 and became Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences in 2013. He has led numerous research programmes, including the Ministry of Science and Innovation’s Integration of Immigrants Programme, and Capturing the Diversity Dividend of Aotearoa New Zealand (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, $5.5 million, 2014–2020). He has written or edited 27 books. In 2010, he was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of California Berkeley, and in 2013 a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Goettingen.

Professor Spoonley is a Fellow of the Royal Society Te Apārangi and was awarded the Society’s Science and Technology medal in 2009 in recognition of his contribution to cultural understanding. In 2011, an award of a Sociological Association of Aotearoa New Zealand scholarship acknowledged his exceptional service to the discipline. He was made a Fellow of the Auckland War Memorial Museum in 2015, and in 2018 he was elected Chair of Metropolis International, a global network of immigration researchers and policy analysts. He is Chair of the Marsden Fund’s Social Science Panel, and Chair of the Social Science and Other Cultural Studies Panel for the 2018 PBRF round.

Photo by Kim Sargent Photography

Distinguished Professor Harjinder Singh

Distinguished Professor since 2013

Harjinder Singh is a world-renowned food scientist with specific expertise in food colloids, food chemistry, functional foods and food structure-nutrition interface. His research insights have allowed the food industry to solve some major fundamental problems in protein processing and have facilitated several commercial innovations. He is co-inventor of 16 patents and has received over $50 million from New Zealand and international food organisations to support his research.

Professor Singh, who joined Massey University in 1989, is currently the Director of the Riddet Institute, a Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE) hosted by Massey University partnering with AgResearch, Plant and Food Research, the University of Auckland and the University of Otago.

Professor Singh has received several prestigious awards, including the Marschall Rhodia International Dairy Science Award, the International Dairy Foods Association Research Award in Dairy Foods Processing (both by the American Dairy Science Association), the William Haines Dairy Science Award from the California Dairy Research Foundation (US), Massey University Research Medal, JC Andrews Award, Shorland Medal and the Prime Minister’s Science Prize. He is an elected fellow of the United States Institute of Food Technologists, the International Academy of Food Science and Technology, the New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology, and the Royal Society Te Apārangi.

Photo by Jeff McEwan

Distinguished Professor Anne Noble

Distinguished Professor since 2013

Anne Noble ONZM is an influential figure in New Zealand photography, whose work ranges from an exploration of the Whanganui River and photographs of her daughter to an exploration of the notion of the Antarctic. Her contribution to international contemporary photography is recognised with representation in gallery collections such as the Musée du Quai Branley in Paris, the National Gallery of Australia and the Queensland Art Gallery. Her work has been exhibited in all major New Zealand museum collections.

In 2000, the exhibition Anne Noble: States of Grace, and accompanying book, reflected on 20 years of her work. In the decade to 2010 she researched and photographed in Antarctica, and in 2008 was the only international recipient of a United States National Science Foundation Polar Artists and Writers Award. She was made a New Zealand Arts Foundation Laureate in 2006. In 2014 a Fulbright scholarship funded her residency at Columbia College, Chicago, where she researched,photographed and lectured about the decline of the honey bee. Her current research and practice continues her focus on bees and what they reveal about ecosystem damage. It is based on her vision of the role of the artist in society’s major debates and her belief in the value of the connection artists can make with scientists. In 2015 Professor Noble won the Higashikawa Overseas Photographer Award. She is the chair of the TEC’s Creative and Performing Arts PBRF peer review panel.

Photo by Jane Ussher

Distinguished Professor Robert McLachlan

Distinguished Professor since 2016

Robert McLachlan is a world leader in geometric integration, a new approach to simulating the motion of large systems. His research transcends pure and applied mathematics through his development of new understanding and theories for tackling real-world problems. Examples include his seminal work on symplectic splitting methods and his work on diffusion and fluid flow.

Professor McLachlan was one of the founders of geometric numerical integration. One of his innovations became part of the solar system simulation that led to the realignment of the geophysical epochs by several million years; another became the standard method for handling systems of rigid molecules in molecular dynamics.

He has been a research fellow at the Isaac Newton Institute, Cambridge; the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, Berkeley; and the Center for Advanced Study, Oslo. He joined Massey in 1994, becoming Professor of Applied Mathematics in 2002. From 2008 to 2012, his Marsdenfunded research project on geometric integration explored the geometric or structural features of systems, the implications for their long-time dynamics, and designing efficient numerical integrators that preserve these geometric properties. Professor McLachlan is a Fellow of the Royal Society Te Apārangi and the New Zealand Mathematical Society.

Photo by Dave Wiltshire

Distinguished Professor Sally J. Morgan

Distinguished Professor since 2016

Sally J. Morgan is an internationally exhibited conceptual artist, cultural theorist and historian. Her work has been included in a number of prestigious international festivals, such as the National Review of Live Art at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), the Belluard/Bollwerk International in Switzerland, and the IN>TIME Chicago performance art triennial.

Her work is held in a number of collections and she is an acknowledged authority on contextual (socially engaged) art practices, particularly in the areas of public, community and live art. She has been a persistent lobbyist for the understanding of creative art as both a research process and a research outcome, influencing the debate on art as research in a range of countries.

Professor Morgan was also at the forefront of the international development of practice-based PhDs in art and design, helping to lead and shape the debate on methodologies and approach, as well as the delivery of doctorates for the creative disciplines. She has been a visiting professor at major international universities and art schools including MIT in Boston (Cambridge-MIT Partnership Programme), Berlin University of the Arts, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Syracuse University in New York State, and Glasgow School of Art.

Photo by Jane Ussher

Distinguished Professor Nigel French

Distinguished Professor since 2018

Nigel French is a world leader in molecular epidemiology and public health research. He is Director of the New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre, and the founder and Executive Director of Massey University’s Infectious Disease Research Centre and the Molecular Epidemiology and Public Health laboratory at Hopkirk Research Institute. He has led research programmes that have informed the control of infectious diseases in New Zealand, with a focus on reducing the public health impact of food- and water-borne pathogens.

He is a graduate of the University of Bristol (BVSc and MRCVS in 1987 and PhD in 1993) and was appointed Professor of Food Safety and Veterinary Public Health at Massey in 2004. In 2014 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society Te Apārangi in recognition of his contribution to the control of food-borne disease, both in New Zealand and overseas. Professor French is also a member of the professoriate of the New Zealand Institute for Advanced Studies, Visiting Professor at the Universities of Liverpool and Surrey, an Honorary Professor at the University of Otago, a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Public Health, and a Fellow of Food Standards Australia New Zealand.

Photo by Dave Wiltshire

Distinguished Professor Marti Anderson

Distinguished Professor since 2018

Marti Anderson is an ecological statistician whose work spans several disciplines, from basic biology and ecology through to mathematical and applied statistics. Her core research is in community ecology, biodiversity, multivariate analysis, experimental design and resampling methods, and is focused on developing novel statistical methods for the analysis of ecological communities. Her research is expanding into new areas of statistical modelling for species’ abundance data.

Following a BA in Biology from Occidental (Los Angeles), she pursued graduate study at the University of Sydney, completing a Graduate Diploma in Zoology and a PhD in Marine Ecology, followed by a Masters in Mathematical Statistics. After a post-doctoral fellowship with the Institute of Marine Ecology in Sydney, she became a lecturer in statistics at the University of Auckland. She came to Massey University as Professorial Chair in Statistics in 2009. She joined the New Zealand Institute for Advanced Study in 2011. Professor Anderson is the Deputy Head of Massey’s Institute of Natural and Mathematical Science, its Head of Statistics, and co-director of its Coastal-Marine Research Group. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society Te Apārangi.