IIB partner Plant & Food Research launches Summer Studentship Programme 2010/11

For the fourth year in a row Plant &Food Research launched its popular Summer Studentship Programme at a function held in the University of Auckland’s School of Biological Sciences. The ever increasing numbers of students attending the annual launch function highlight the value the students see in these internships which offer a broad range of basic and applied science projects. Students value the experience of working in a CRI where discoveries and translation into products become seamless. Detailed information on this programme can be found on the web.

IIB hosts NZBIO-Auckland network dinner

The fourth edition of the popular mid-winter “An Evening with Wine” was held in The University of Auckland’s Business School and was attended by over 60 representatives from industry and academia. Guests were briefed on the continuing growth of New Zealand’s first dedicated bio-incubator which uses laboratories and offices on thematic floors across the expanded Thomas complex. In accordance with the theme of the evening, Professor Richard Gardner, leader of the FRST funded wine science programme, conducted a wine tasting and presented highlights of new research findings which are already being adopted by the wine industry.

Bioscience Strategies NZ Ltd takes an office in the IIB

Bioscience Strategies NZ Ltd. is a consultancy focused on commercial strategies and business development for early and mid-stage enterprises in the life sciences.

Jim Mervis, Managing Director of Bioscience Strategies, is a catalyst for success in company development in life sciences. He has an extensive background in securities and commercial transactions; defining and establishing strategic alliances and securing the financial and human resources for corporate growth. During the past ten years, Mr. Mervis played a pivotal role in the structure, finance and management of four of the most notable bio-pharmaceutical start-ups of the period: Barrier Therapeutics, Cardiokine, Intercept Pharmaceuticals and CoDa Therapeutics. He currently serves as Chairman of CoDa Therapeutics Inc. and a Director of Polybatics Ltd. In addition, he is an Advisor to New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, University of Auckland's Institute for Innovation in Biotechnology and Uniservices.

Roof shout party marks progress with construction of Thomas Building extension


Over a hundred guests involved in the planning, design and construction of the Thomas Building extension attended a roof shout party at Old Government House. Construction is on schedule for completion in early September, with final fit-out and furnishing expected to be complete in mid-November. The extended Thomas Complex will provide over 10,000m2 of research space over five thematic floors for academic and industry scientists.



Comvita launches Science Video Challenge 2010

At a recent event organised by Chiasma – the University of Auckland’s student biotech network, Comvita’s Chief Technical Officer Dr Ralf Schlothauer launched the company’s innovative new Science Video Challenge. Student teams are invited to submit a short video for a general audience explaining the real science behind some of nature’s healthiest foods. Comvita supports students through internships and graduate supervision, and through this novel science competition. The company co-located its science laboratory in the IIB in July 2009.

Innate Therapeutics Ltd co-locates its CSO in the IIB

Innate Therapeutics Ltd has taken an office in the IIB and co-located its Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Gill Webster. The company has designed and manufactured a unique immunomodulator microparticle technology which can be used to induce the immune system to fight certain cancers and infections, or turn off certain immune mechanisms involved in autoimmune diseases. By attaching selected modulators to the microparticle, these triggers can be delivered reliably to specific cells of the immune system.

Third joint appointment brings partnership with Plant & Food Research closer

Dr Andy Allan has been appointed part-time as Associate Professor in Molecular Plant Physiology in the IIB and the School of Biological Sciences. Dr Allan’s appointment – being the third Associate Professor jointly with Plant & Food Research, highlights the close and longstanding collaboration in teaching and research. Currently 15 PhD students conduct their research at the CRI’s Mt Albert campus. Dr Allan has a PhD from University of Cambridge, UK, and is a Senior Scientist and Team Leader in the Genomics Department at Plant & Food Research.

Long term partnership with Biomatters renewed

Biomatters has been a longstanding partner in the IIB and the Bioinformatics Institute through the donation of licenses for its award winning Geneious software and the joint supervision of graduate students. This ongoing partnership has been renewed for 2010. The company develops innovative, easy-to-use and essential scientific hardware that speeds up and simplifies research for all biologists.

The Minister for Research, Science & Technology, the Hon. Dr Wayne Mapp visits the IIB

IMG_0552Dr Wayne Mapp briefed an audience of around 70 representatives from the bio-industry, local government and the University of Auckland, on the Government’s research, science and technology priorities. In reply, Dr Peter Lee, CEO of UniServices, highlighted the University’s success in commercialising academic research including the launch of several new start-up companies. Professor Joerg Kistler, Director of the School of Biological Sciences, gave a progress report on the growth of the IIB bio-incubator and on the construction of the Thomas Building extension which is rapidly moving skywards. The event was held in the Members Lounge of Old Government House providing plenty of networking over afternoon tea.

New Zealand Trade & Enterprise takes an office in the IIB

New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) is the New Zealand Government’s national economic development agency.  NZTE works to improve the international competitiveness and sustained profitability of New Zealand business by providing access to people, knowledge and opportunities.  In 2004 NZTE first supported the University of Auckland’s initiative to develop and run a pilot entrepreneurship course.  The success of the pilot led the University to develop the Bioscience Enterprise programme, which NZTE continues to support.  NZTE will use the IIB office to maintain and develop relationships within the University and companies co-located within the IIB.