THE PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS
Nigel French 

THE DIRECTOR
NIGEL FRENCH

  • Professor of Food Safety and Veterinary Public Health
  • Executive Director of mEpiLab (the Molecular Epidemiology and Public Health Laboratory)
  • Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences
  • Palmerston North Campus

Nigel's mEpiLab research team comprises scientists with multidisciplinary expertise in the following fields: epidemiology and the control of infectious disease, microbiology, molecular biology, bioinformatics/computational biology, mathematical modelling, veterinary science and public health. They apply an array of molecular and modelling tools to advance our understanding of the biology and transmission of bacterial pathogens. By working closely with collaborators in AgResearch, ESR, MidCentral Public Health Services and other groups across Massey University, the team are able to provide research outcomes that address many complex and diverse issues that arise in food safety and public health - both in New Zealand and overseas. Their work has led to the development of new surveillance and disease control tools, and informed national policy for the control of some of the most important infectious diseases related to food and food production in New Zealand.

The mEpiLab website is available here.

Paul Rainey

THE PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS
PAUL RAINEY

  • Professor of Evolutionary Genetics
  • New Zealand Institute for Advanced Study
  • Albany Campus

Paul is a Principal Investigator in the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology & Evolution, a Visiting Professor at Stanford (where he is co-director of the Hopkins Microbial Diversity Programme), a James Cook Research Fellow, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of NZ. In 2011, he was appointed Member of the Max Planck Society and External Scientific Member (Honorary Director) at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Ploen, Germany.Paul is also identified as one of Massey University's defining people.

Paul's team focus on evolutionary process, particularly evolution by natural selection, and they use microbial populations to observe and dissect evolution in real time. They are currently unravelling the evolutionary origins of multicellularity; the ecological significance of diversity in natural microbial populations; the evolutionary processes determining patterns of diversity in space and time; and the genetics and fitness consequences of traits that enhance ecological performance in populations of plant-colonizing bacteria.

The Rainey Lab Website is available here.

Martin Hazelton

MARTIN HAZELTON

  • Professor of Statistics
  • Chair of the Statistics and Bioinformatics Group
  • Institute of Fundamental Sciences 
  • Palmerston North Campus

Martin has interests in a wide range of topics in pure and applied statistics. Of particular relevance to infectious disease research, Martin's group develop and apply statistical methods for epidemiological analyses, with a particular focus on modelling patterns of disease in space and time. This involves theoretical and methodological work in the areas of nonparametric smoothing, spatial statistics, and computational statistics. Methods developed by Martin and his collaborators have been applied to a variety of human and animal diseases.

Martin's website is available here.

Jeroen.jpg 

JEROEN DOUWES

  • Professor of Public Health
  • Director of the Centre for Public Health Research
  • Wellington Campus

Jeroen's team are active in all aspects of public health research, such as non-communicable diseases (respiratory disease, cancer, diabetes, dermatitis and neurotoxicity), occupational and environmental health, socio-economic determinants of health, Maori health and Pacific health research. Jeroen's particular interests are around the causation, mechanisms and prevention of asthma. His work involves studies in children and adults focusing on protective and risk factors associated with the development of allergies and asthma, and the role of non-allergic airway inflammation in asthma. He is particularly interested in the links between the lower incidence of asthma and the farm environment and exposures to microbial and infectious agents. As part of this work, Jeroen's team are also developing novel and innovative methods for sampling the microbial load present in environment's such as farms and abattoirs. The centre for Public Health Research is also involved in an international study of modifiable risk factors of motor neuron disease and they hold a $5.6M HRC-funded Programme Grant on occupational health. The Centre for Public Health Research has also partnered with the Epicentre to develop on-line training in the area of One Health in Asia with a particular emphasis on zoonotic diseases.

The Centre for Public Health Research website is available here.

Mick Roberts

MICK ROBERTS

  • Professor in Mathematical Biology
  • Chair of Mathematics
  • Albany Campus

Mick is a Professor in the New Zealand Institute for Advanced Study, a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications. He specialises in using modern methods of mathematical analysis to help to understand the epidemiology of infectious diseases and allow for optimising strategies for their control. He is currently engaged in modelling the evolution and transmission of a virus; determining strategies for minimising the risk of importing exotic diseases and vaccination strategies for the control of infectious diseases; and modelling the spread of emerging infectious diseases on networks.

Mick's website is available here.