Genetic and environmental causes of obesity and metabolic disease

Date: Thursday 28 April 2016, at 6:00pm
Venue: Lecture Theatre 1, EIT, Taradale
Admission: Gold coin donation

Tony Merriman

A presentation by Dr Tony Merriman,
Professor of Biochemistry, University of Otago

One in three New Zealand adults are obese. But the belief that people are fat because they eat too much and exercise too little has become eroded by scientific understanding of other factors.

Tony Merriman is a Professor in the Biochemistry Department, School of Medical Sciences, University of Otago, and an associate investigator at the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiversity. In 1993 he completed a PhD in bacterial genetics at Otago followed by Post-Doctoral training in the genetics of complex disease at the University of Oxford, UK. His research takes a genetic approach to understanding the biology of human disease, and currently gout in particular.

As there is currently a lot of debate in the media about sugar in the diet, particularly consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, and its effect on health, we have asked Tony to also comment on this topic.

To listen to Tony’s recent interview on Kim Hill, click here

This lecture is generously supported by the Maurice Wilkins Centre and jointly hosted with the NZ Institute of Food Science & Technology.

Maurice Wilkins Centre nzifst-home


Pluto: Once a Point of Light, Now a World

Date: Sunday 22 May 2016, at 4pm
Venue: MTG, Tennyson Street, Napier
Admission: Free to members; $5 for non-members

michele bannister

A presentation by Dr Michele Bannister
(Postdoctoral fellow at Victoria University, British Columbia, Canada)

The images returning from the New Horizons spacecraft following its flyby of Pluto show a remarkable world: mountains soaring higher than the Southern Alps, smooth plains bubbling like a slow-boiling pot, glaciers of nitrogen ice, dark ancient terrain. Not to be outdone, its big moon Charon is rifted by chasms and canyons. What was predicted? What did we discover? Many new puzzles await. Come find out!

Dr Michele Bannister is an expert in searching for icy worlds in the outer Solar System and works on the Outer Solar System Origins Survey trying to understand the formation and evolution of the Solar System.  Originally from Taranaki, Michele undertook her PhD searching for bright icy worlds in the southern sky at Mt Stromlo and currently lives in Canada.

Michele is in Napier to take part in the Royal Astronomical Society of NZ’s annual conference on May 21-22, and this meeting is jointly held with RASNZ and the Hawke’s Bay Astronomical Society

HB Astronomical SocietyRASNZ logo

Birds New Zealand 2016 Conference

Birds NZ

Birds New Zealand 2016 Conference

MTG building, Marine Parade Napier

4-6 June 2016 (Queen’s Birthday Weekend)

Join us for a weekend of interesting lectures and presentations focusing on the study of birds.

Take part in workshops and go out on field trips

Register before 31st March 2016 for early bird discount

Register at – go to latest news

Any enquiries contact Bernie Kelly, Conference Convener:

Ph 06 870 0837- 0274 461 538

Mysteries of Human Walking

Date: Tuesday 5 April 2016, at 7:30pm
Venue: Holt Planetarium, Napier
Admission: Gold coin donation

Todd Pataky

A presentation by Dr Todd Pataky,
Associate Professor in Bioengineering at Shinshu University (Japan)

The answer to the seemingly simple question “How do humans walk?” – in what way and by what means – is surprisingly complex and variable. Todd, a recognised expert in this field, and visiting from Japan, will explain some of the key mysteries of human walking, and how scientists are attempting to solve them.

Walking analysisPataky modelling

Todd Pataky earned a Ph.D. in Kinesiology and Mechanical Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University in 2004 and pursued postdoctoral research positions in neuroimaging and biomechanics in Japan and the UK. He is currently an Associate Professor in Bioengineering at Shinshu University (Japan) where his research focuses on the biomechanical applications of continuum statistics. He was a William Evans Fellow at the University of Otago in 2014 and currently collaborates with the Auckland Bioengineering Institute on a Japan Strategic Partnership in Neuro-robotics awarded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment