Christchurch, New Zealand

University of Canterbury
Christchurch, New Zealand

The University of Canterbury in Christchurch is New Zealand's second oldest university. Founded in 1873 by professors Charles Cook , Alexander Bickerton , and John Macmillan Brown , it operates its main campus in the suburb of Ilam. The university offers degrees in Arts, Commerce, Education , Engineering, Fine Arts, Forestry, Health science, Law, Music, Social Work, Speech and Language Pathology, Science, Sports Coaching and Teaching. Wikipedia.

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News Article | May 17, 2017

Twice a week, postdoc Phil Auckland leaves the lab at 5:30 p.m. and drives an hour out of Coventry, UK, to a mountain-bike racing track and hills. Here, he finds diversion and distraction from his research programme in a cell-biology lab at the University of Warwick. “It requires so much focus and concentration, doing tricks and jumps, that you are not thinking about anything else,” he says. It helps that Auckland's friends, who hail mainly from his days of professional mountain biking, have all manner of careers. “We don't talk about work — it's a complete escape.” His other hobby, skydiving, also gives him a mental and physical break from lab work. “When you've just thrown yourself out of a plane, work is the last thing that enters your mind.” As Auckland finds with extreme sports, participation in hobbies and activities outside the lab offers important, even crucial, time away from the research environment. Taking breaks, experts say, is key to fighting burn-out, which can easily arise in research careers that require long hours of intense mental activity for weeks or months on end. Although burn-out is not considered a medical diagnosis, researchers have described it as a combination of overwhelming fatigue and loss of motivation caused by chronic stress or frustration. Graduate students and postdocs, who may equate 'working longer' with 'working better', are particularly prone to working themselves into the ground, says Simon Davy, head of the School of Biological Sciences at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. Davy, who since his days as a PhD student has vowed not to work on Saturdays, says that he sees students slide easily into working seven-day weeks. Some institutions and career-development offices have begun to recognize the importance of addressing mental health in the research workforce. Using an assessment of 12 mental-health symptoms, one team showed in a study published this year that one-third of more than 3,600 doctoral students surveyed in Belgium were at risk of developing mental-health problems, especially depression, as measured by having four or more clinical symptoms ( et al. Res. Policy 46, 868–879; 2017). Fewer than half as many people in comparable highly educated groups were at risk. Burn-out among researchers can lead to more serious issues, such as depression, which should be diagnosed and treated by a professional. But by recognizing work patterns and warning signs of chronic stress in the lab or field, researchers can adjust their routines to avoid reaching the burn-out stage in the first place (see 'Signs of burn-out ahead'). Institutions also need to identify when early-career researchers are hitting a wall, says Kay Guccione, manager of researcher mentoring and coaching at the University of Sheffield, UK. “Your well-being is not only your problem — there is an organizational responsibility as well,” she said in a video chat in March sponsored by Vitae, a researcher-advocacy group in Cambridge, UK. She urges junior researchers to learn about their workplace policies and rights, as well as the institutional resources available should they or their peers need mental-health support. Guccione, who trained as a molecular biologist before switching to researcher development, started the Twitter hashtag #takebreaksmakebreakthroughs as a way to remind herself when it's quitting time, and to set expectations at her institution that graduate students shouldn't work themselves into the ground. An initiative by the Academy of Medical Sciences in London uses #MedSciLife to feature examples of how researchers switch off from work, for example, by taking hikes or acting classes. The type of break doesn't matter. “Knit, play computer games, build chainmail — anything that is completely different from thinking about research questions,” says Guccione. Researchers, she adds, should also pursue an extracurricular activity that gives them a sense of success and worth that is not tied to work. PhD student Juan Pablo Ruiz, who studies blood stem cells in a joint programme between the University of Oxford, UK, and the US National Institutes of Health, founded, a website with articles on mental-health struggles experienced by junior researchers. People who are happy and satisfied perform more creatively and productively at work, he notes — an idea that is well supported by research. A 2015 study by a team at the University of Warwick found that workers were 10% more productive after watching a comedy video than a control group that did not watch it — and conversely, people who had experienced a major life shock from a family death or illness in the previous two years, and so reported lower happiness, were 10% less productive ( et al. J. Labor Econ. 33, 789–822; 2015). By boosting overall happiness, taking time off from the job could thus improve one's work, too. Bench scientists should incorporate daily breaks into their routines, says Ben Mead, a PhD candidate in the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology programme in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He tries to maintain the mindset that graduate training is similar to a marathon, not a short race. As such, he doesn't take lengthy holidays, but takes daily breaks and brief holidays throughout the year. Short breaks should be true time outs from the activity that is dominating a researcher's day and from thinking about any science, says Guccione. A coffee break with labmates while discussing the latest piece of lab equipment, or eating lunch while answering work e-mails or reading a research paper doesn't count. Ruiz's hospital workplace has a waiting room with an aquarium, and he often eats lunch there to gaze at the fish and give his eyes a break from staring at cells under the microscope or at spreadsheet data. It also helps to look at landscapes, a cityscape or an urban river walk. When struggling with a lack of motivation, Mead uses the 'pomodoro' technique to advance his work. The method, named after a tomato-shaped timer that its developer used, sections off tasks into 4 sets of 25-minute intervals, split up by breaks of 3–5 minutes and then punctuated by a longer one of 15–30 minutes. Mead sets his lab timer for 20 minutes of work, then gives himself a 2–3-minute break for social media or another distraction. Lab supervisors recommend structuring the day so that hard, critical-thinking or technically challenging tasks happen during the hours of peak productivity, and easier, more-mindless work is done when focus wanes. Many researchers recognize their daily patterns and dash to the gym when they are drooping, often in the late afternoon. As a university student, Yuxuan Wang found that the best way for her to stick to a weekly exercise routine was by becoming an instructor for kickboxing and step-aerobics classes. She found similar work when she moved to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, for MD-PhD studies in oncology. “The second I walk in the exercise room, I forget all my experiments that did not work or the paper that got rejected,” says Wang. Weekly breaks can also involve a switch up in research routines rather than time out entirely, and are important for giving scientists the stamina to face intense bouts of research or writing. When Auckland faces a particularly tricky line of experiments in his research on how chromosomes move around the cell, he does experiments in parallel that are easier and likely to yield positive results. “Then I'm not completely demoralized by having months go by without any data,” he says. Even small successes, such as stitching together a needed piece of a DNA probe, can lift his spirits and help him to feel productive. Postdoc Jenna Kropp often has 12-hour days doing multiple, back-to-back in vitro fertilization surgeries at the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center in Madison — work that allows no do-overs. When Kropp knows that such a day is coming, she'll often take the day off beforehand to ride her horse. Time spent outside is the best antidote to stress, she says; she often comes into work by 7 a.m. and leaves lab in the late afternoon to help with daily barn chores. “You have to listen to your body, rather than think, 'I have to be here from this hour to this hour',” she says. The farm chores are mundane, but she still feels that she has accomplished something, she says. Such solitary hobbies are great for letting off steam, but researchers should also make time for socializing outside the lab to get a regular reprieve from research questions. As the sole graduate student starting in her reproductive-physiology programme at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2015, Sydney Nguyen knew that she would need to find a group off-campus for socializing. She participated in a roller-derby camp during the summer after her first year, and loved it. She finds support and encouragement from her teammates, both on and off the track, and the sport's aggressive tactics gives her an outlet for frustrations. Practising and perfecting a difficult move lets Nguyen feel successful even if the week's lab work hasn't gone well. Supervisors can support healthy work–life balance by fostering conversations about well-being and by being a good role model. Tammy Steeves, a conservation geneticist at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, sets clear expectations in her group for taking time off. She encourages supportive lab interactions over competition, and says that this style helps young scientists to admit when they are struggling with balance. Her group has a simple motto: “Everyone here is smart and kind — don't distinguish yourself by being otherwise.” Steeves, who is also a postgraduate coordinator for the School of Biological Sciences at Canterbury, emphasizes to students the importance of managing their well-being and incorporating self-care. She's found that an easy way for international students (and herself) to visit family abroad each year is to tack extra time on to conference travels. She and one of her students reached an agreement this year that he could telecommute temporarily from the United States, where he has family and friends, while analysing and writing up his data. Her mentoring style, she says, helps students to feel comfortable about proposing such arrangements. Many young scientists say that they value efficiency in their work more than total time put in — a key part of self-awareness that prevents burn-out. Wang says that colleagues may find her staring out her fifth-floor window with a cup of tea when she needs to decompress and recall the bigger picture. “I'm working with patient samples, and those are patients with cancer,” she says. Aside from their own mental health and well-being, researchers who take care to avoid burn-out and reset their minds and bodies regularly might see better returns in their data, too. “The science we generate is richer,” says Steeves. “Lots of people come to the science table from different places, and we all need to take care of their well-being to keep them there.”

News Article | April 27, 2017

Bloomington, IN - April 27, 2017 - The Midwest Political Science Association announced fourteen award recipients at its annual MPSA Business Meeting earlier this month at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. Awards committees select the winners from among nominations made by chairs, discussants and section heads at the previous year's conference. Best Paper by an Emerging Scholar - Honoring the best paper, regardless of field or topic, by a scholar or scholars who has or have received the terminal degree(s) within six years of the year in which the paper was presented. Javier Osorio, City University of New York Livia I. Schubiger, London School of Economics Michael Weintraub, Binghamton University, SUNY Best Paper in International Relations - Honoring the best paper on the topic of international relations. Award Committee: Vesna Danilovic, University at Buffalo (Chair); David Cunningham, University of Maryland; Karl Kalenthaler, University of Akron Best Paper Presented by a Graduate Student - Honoring the best paper delivered by a graduate student. Can New Procedures Improve the Quality of Policing? The Case of 'Stop, Question and Frisk' in New York City Best Paper Presented in a Poster Format - Honoring the best paper presented in a poster format. Best Undergraduate Paper Presented in a Poster Format - Honoring the best paper presented in a poster format by an undergraduate. The Effect of Nationality on Grass-root Volunteer and Donors Support for Nongovernmental Organizations Kellogg/Notre Dame Award - Honoring the best paper in comparative politics. Anti-Identities in Latin America: Chavismo, Fujimorismo, and Uribismo in Comparative Perspective Award Committee: Sarah Brooks, The Ohio State University (Chair); Alex Tan, University of Canterbury; Zeynep Somer-Topcu, The University of Texas at Austin Kenneth J. Meier Award - Honoring the best paper in bureaucratic politics, public administration, or public policy. Slow-Rolling, Fast-Tracking, and the Pace of Bureaucratic Decisions in Rulemaking Lucius Barker Award - Honoring the best paper on a topic investigating race or ethnicity and politics and honoring the spirit and work of Professor Barker. Saved from a Second Slavery: Black Voter Registration in Louisiana from Reconstruction to the Voting Rights Act Review of Politics Award (co-winners) - Honoring the best paper in normative political theory. Reparative Justice and the Moral Limits of Discretionary Philanthropy Chiara Cordelli, University of Chicago Edmund Burke and the Deliberative Sublime Rob Goodman, Columbia University Robert H. Durr Award - Honoring the best paper applying quantitative methods to a substantive problem. Of Rents and Rumors: Government Competence and Media Freedom in Authoritarian Countries Sophonisba Breckinridge Award - Honoring the best paper on the topic of women and politics. Making Space for Women: Explaining Citizen Support for Legislative Gender Quotas in Latin America Pi Sigma Alpha Award - Honoring the best paper presented at the MPSA Annual National Conference. Sponsored by Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society. AJPS Best Article Award - Honoring the best article appearing in the volume of the American Journal of Political Science published in the year preceding the conference. The Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) is an international organization with a membership of approximately 7,000 political science faculty, researchers and graduate students representing more than 100 countries. Founded in 1939, the MPSA is dedicated to the advancement of scholarship in all areas of political science. MPSA publishes the American Journal of Political Science the top research journal in the discipline.

News Article | April 18, 2017

Gravitational microlensing is an invaluable method of detecting new extrasolar planets circling their parent stars relatively closely. This technique is sensitive to low-mass planets orbiting beyond the so-called "snow line" around relatively faint host stars like M dwarfs or brown dwarfs. Such planets are of special interest for astronomers, as just beyond this line, the most active planet formation occurs. Hence, understanding the distribution of exoplanets in this region could offer important clues to how planets form. The microlensing event MOA-2016-BLG-227 was detected on May 5, 2016 by the Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics (MOA) group using the 1.8 m MOA-II telescope at the University of Canterbury Mt. John Observatory in New Zealand. Afterward, this event was the target of follow-up observations employing three telescopes located on Mauna Kea, Hawaii: the United Kingdom Infra-Red Telescope (UKIRT) 3.8m telescope, the Canada France Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) and the Keck II telescope. VLT Survey Telescope (VST) at ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile and the Jay Baum Rich 0.71m Telescope (C28) at the Wise Observatory in Israel were also used for these observations. This subsequent observational campaign allowed the research team led by Naoki Koshimoto of the Osaka University in Japan to detect the new planet and to determine its basic parameters. "The event and planetary signal were discovered by the MOA collaboration, but much of the planetary signal is covered by the Wise, UKIRT, CFHT and VST telescopes, which were observing the event as part of the K2 C9 program (Campaign 9 of the Kepler telescope's prolonged mission)," the paper reads. The team found that MOA-2016-BLG-227Lb is a super-Jupiter planet with the mass of about 2.8 Jupiter masses. The parent star is most probably an M or K dwarf located in the galactic bulge. The mass of the star is estimated to be around 0.29 solar masses. MOA-2016-BLG-227Lb orbits its host at a distance of approximately 1.67 AU. Other main parameters like the radius of both objects and orbital period of the planet are yet to be determined. "Our analysis excludes the possibility that the host star is a G-dwarf, leading us to a robust conclusion that the planet MOA-2016-BLG-227Lb is a super-Jupiter mass planet orbiting an M or K-dwarf star likely located in the Galactic bulge," the researchers concluded. The authors call for further investigation of the MOA-2016-BLG-227 event, which could deliver essential more detailed information about the newly found planetary system. They noted that this event should be revisited with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and Keck adaptive optics (AO) system. Promising results could also come from future space and ground based telescopes like the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), the Thirty Meter Telescope and the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT). Explore further: Astronomers discover new substellar companion using microlensing More information: MOA-2016-BLG-227Lb: A Massive Planet Characterized by Combining Lightcurve Analysis and Keck AO Imaging, arXiv:1704.01724 [astro-ph.EP] Abstract We report the discovery of a microlensing planet —- MOA-2016-BLG-227Lb —- with a massive planet/host mass ratio of q≃9×10−3. This event was fortunately observed by several telescopes as the event location was very close to the area of the sky surveyed by Campaign 9 of the K2 Mission. Consequently, the planetary deviation is well covered and allows a full characterization of the lensing system. High angular resolution images by the Keck telescope show excess flux other than the source flux at the target position, and this excess flux could originate from the lens star. We combined the excess flux and the observed angular Einstein radius in a Bayesian analysis which considers various possible origins of the measured excess flux as priors, in addition to a standard Galactic model. Our analysis indicates that it is unlikely that a large fraction of the excess flux comes from the lens. We compare the results of the Bayesian analysis using different priors for the probability of hosting planets with respect to host mass and find the planet is likely a gas-giant around an M/K dwarf likely located in the Galactic bulge. This is the first application of a Bayesian analysis considering several different contamination scenarios for a newly discovered event. Our approach for considering different contamination scenarios is crucial for all microlensing events which have evidence for excess flux irrespective of the quality of observation conditions, such as seeing, for example.

Levin A.,University of British Columbia | Stevens P.E.,University of Canterbury
Kidney International | Year: 2014

The 2012 KDIGO Guideline for CKD evaluation, classification, and management has updated the original 2002 KDOQI Guidelines, using newer data and addressing issues raised over the last decade concerning definitions and assessment. This review highlights the key aspects of the CKD guideline, and describes the rationale for specific wording and the scope of the document. A précis of key concepts in each of the five sections of the guideline is presented. The guideline document is intended for general practitioners and nephrologists, and covers CKD evaluation, classification, and management for both adults and children. Throughout the guideline, we have attempted to overtly address areas of controversy or non-consensus, international relevance, and impact on practice and public policy © 2013 International Society of Nephrology.

Degnan J.H.,University of Canterbury
Systematic Biology | Year: 2013

The coalescent and multispecies coalescent model rooted genealogies backward through time. Often, the direction of time isunknownin trees estimated frommolecular sequences due to reversible mutation models, absence of an appropriate outgroup, and the absence of the molecular clock. In this article, probabilities of unrooted gene-tree topologies under the multispecies coalescent are considered. The main result is that for any species-tree topology with seven or more taxa, there exist branch lengths such that there are unrooted gene-tree topologies that are more likely than the one that has the same unrooted topology as the species tree. Species trees with such anomalous unrooted gene trees (AUGTs) are characterized for trees with five and six taxa, and patterns of branch lengths leading to AUGTs and rooted anomalous gene trees are explored. The results could be useful for understanding gene tree discordance and designing simulations studies for inferring challenging species trees. [Anomalous gene tree; caterpillarization; coalescent; incomplete lineage sorting; phylogenetics; Robinson-Foulds distance; species tree.] © The Author(s) 2013.

Brown A.M.,University of Canterbury
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2013

I present a study of the high-energy γ -ray properties of the flat spectrum radio quasar, PKS 1510-089, based on 3.75 yr of observations with the Large Area Telescope detector on-board the Fermi γ -ray Space Telescope. Throughout the observing period, the 0.1 < Eγ < 300 GeV γ-ray flux was highly variable, undergoing several flaring events where the daily flux exceeded 10-5 photons cm-2 s-1 on three separate occasions. The increased photon statistics of these large flares allowed the observations to be re-analysed in 6 and 3 h intervals, revealing flux doubling time-scales as small as 1.3 ± 0.12 h during the flare rise time, and flux halving time-scales of 1.21 ± 0.15 h during the flare decay. These are the smallest variability time-scales measured to date atMeV-GeV energies for the flat spectrum quasar class of active galactic nuclei. The >10-5 photons cm-2 s-1 flare events were also studied in more detail in an attempt to uncover evidence for the location of PKS 1510-089's γ -ray emission region. In particular, two approaches were used: (i) searching for an energy dependence to the cooling time-scales, and (ii) searching for evidence of a spectral cut-off. The combined results of these two approaches, along with the confirmation of ≥20 GeV photon flux from PKS 1510-089, suggest the presence of multiple γ -ray emission regions being located in both the broad line region and molecular torus region of PKS 1510-089. An analysis of the highest photon events within the 3.75 yr data set finds PKS 1510-089 to be a source of ≥20 GeV γ -rays at the 13.5σ confidence level; a observational property which is difficult to explain in the traditional view that γ -ray emission from active galactic nuclei originates from the base of the relativistic jet. This gives further weight to the argument that there are multiple, simultaneously active γ -ray emission regions located along the relativistic jet of active galactic nuclei. © 2013 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Heber S.,University of Canterbury
Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society | Year: 2013

Populations forced through bottlenecks typically lose genetic variation and exhibit inbreeding depression. 'Genetic rescue' techniques that introduce individuals from outbred populations can be highly effective in reversing the deleterious effects of inbreeding, but have limited application for the majority of endangered species, which survive only in a few bottlenecked populations. We tested the effectiveness of using highly inbred populations as donors to rescue two isolated and bottlenecked populations of the South Island robin (Petroica australis). Reciprocal translocations significantly increased heterozygosity and allelic diversity. Increased genetic diversity was accompanied by increased juvenile survival and recruitment, sperm quality, and immunocompetence of hybrid individuals (crosses between the two populations) compared with inbred control individuals (crosses within each population). Our results confirm that the implementation of 'genetic rescue' using bottlenecked populations as donors provides a way of preserving endangered species and restoring their viability when outbred donor populations no longer exist.

On September 4 2010, a massive 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck the Canterbury region in the South Island of New Zealand. The response from the University of Canterbury was immediate and carefully co-ordinated, with the university's web-based environment and a responsive site developed on the social media platform 'Facebook' becoming prominent sources of support for many months. This case study illustrates how the university effectively utilised these environments and their impact within the wider university community. Case study methodology draws upon literature from the fields of social media, social network communities and crisis informatics. The findings propose that social media can effectively support information sharing, communication and collaboration in higher education contexts, in particular in times of crisis, but suggest there needs to be a defined purpose to integrate these within an institution's communications strategy given the resource implications and range of social media already used by students. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

McColl S.T.,University of Canterbury
Geomorphology | Year: 2012

Glaciation and deglaciation, along with their associated climatic and non-climatic processes, modify slope stresses and influence slope stability. Paraglacial slope failures are those that are a part of, or influenced by, the transition from glacial conditions to non-glacial conditions. Gravitational failure of rock slopes is a primary and dominant process of slope evolution in mountainous terrain and is the subject of this paper, which: (1) reviews the approaches taken for researching paraglacial rock slope failure patterns and processes; (2) summarises the spatial and temporal patterns of post-glacial failures; (3) assesses the factors influencing slope stability during glaciation and deglaciation; (4) explores some of the applications of paraglacial research; and (5) highlights some of the outstanding issues to be resolved and provides recommendations for terminology relating to paraglacial slope processes. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Bradley B.A.,University of Canterbury
Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America | Year: 2013

The applicability of foreign ground-motion prediction equations (GMPEs) for predicting geometric-mean pseudospectral acceleration amplitudes from active shallow crustal earthquakes in New Zealand (NZ) is examined. Four different foreign GMPEs were considered, as well as the NZ-based McVerry et al. (2006) (McV06) model. It was found that the McV06 model exhibited the lowest applicability with a database of 2437 recorded ground motions, and that the Chiou et al. (2010) (C10) modification of the Chiou and Youngs (2008b) (CY08) model was the most applicable. Discrepancies between the C10 model and the NZ database, which were empirically identified and theoretically justified, were used to modify the C10 model for: (1) small magnitude scaling; (2) scaling of short period ground motion from normal faulting events in volcanic crust; (3) scaling of ground motions on very hard rock sites; (4) anelastic attenuation in the NZ crust; and (5) consideration of the increased anelastic attenuation in the Taupo Volcanic Zone. The developed NZ-specific model therefore contains features as evident from recorded ground motions in NZ and consistent scaling for parameters not well constrained by NZ data. Comparisons with ground motions from the 4 September 2010 Darfield and 22 February 2011 Christchurch earthquakes, which occurred following completion of the NZ-specific model, illustrate that it provides an empirical prediction with sufficient accuracy and precision.

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