Events are a great place to meet colleagues from different Departments and learn about the Research environment. The PDS holds a scheduled Coffee Monday at Superfino cafe every month, as well as regular seminars and social events. See here for information on upcoming events:

Upcoming events 


Annual General Meeting 2023


Our Annual General Meeting for 2023 will be held on Wednesday 28th June 2023, 11:30-2pm in 501-505. Come along to find out more about the PDS, hear what we have been up to in the last year and what plans we have for the next one and how you can help out. Pizza provided!



Coffee Mornings 

Take a break, meet other postdocs, network, and enjoy the refreshments!

As per last year, we will continue with coffee mornings every second Monday of the month. 

We will meet in person so we can shout you a drink and some kai.  Soooo… grab your mugs and come out of your isolation.

Our next coffee morning will be:-
When: Monday 14th August 2023
Where: Superfino cafe
Time: 10-11am

See you there!

PDS Committee Meetings

Come join us for our monthly committee meetings to see what we do and how you can help out.

Our next committee meeting will be:-
When: Tuesday 20th June
Where: 503-019 (Manaakitia Room)
Time: 1-2pm

See you there!

Past Events

FMHS PDS Workshop

The FMHS Postdoctoral Society was proud to run The FMHS PDS Research Impact workshop. This was run by Dr Faith Welch, Research Impact Manager

In planning our research career for impact, this session provided an opportunity to consider how researchers are enabling impact based on their own values and belief in the importance of the work that they do. Faith guided us through some questions to help us consider how to build a career-level impact plan, and also provided practical advice on how to articulate and develop impact plans for our own research. If you missed it, you can find the slides on our Resource tab.



SUMMIT 2022 was a huge success. Finally, after two years of interruptions and obstacles, we were able to go ahead as planned on the 3rd of November. Our research Fellows gathered to showcase their work, meet other experts in the field, and forge collaborations at SUMMIT2022. Once again, we would like to extend our thanks to our two invited speakers, Prof Peter Hunter (Director of ABI) and A/Prof Samantha Holdsworth (Department of AMI and CEO of Mātai Medical Research Institute) for making SUMMIT a massive success. We would also like to thank our numerous sponsors for their contributions.

The awards for oral presentations:
Auckland Medical Research Foundation Best Research Presentation ($3,000) – Lola Mugisho, Opthalmology
Decode 2nd place Research Presentation ($1,500) – Kelly Zhou, Physiology
Capsugel (Lonza) 3rd place Research Presentation ($500) – Hamid Abbasi, ABI/Physiology

The awards for elevator pitches:
MediRay Best Elevator Pitch ($2,000) – Brooke Wilson, Liggins Institute
Liggins Institute Elevator Pitch Runner-up ($500) – Shaleka Agrawal, ABI
ABI Elevator Pitch Runner-up ($500) – Nike Franke, Liggins Institute
NEB New Zealand Elevator Pitch Runner-up ($500) – Barbara Lipert, ACSRC

The award for best abstract:
Maurice and Phyllis Paykel Trust Outstanding Abstract ($1,500) – Sandy Lau, Obstetrics and Gynaecology


Developmental Biology Hui

The FMHS Postdoctoral Society is proud to support The FMHS Developmental Biology Hui to establish a network amongst emerging researchers in the diverse and fascinating fields of developmental biology. This hui will enable discussions on the patterning/programming that controls the development of various organ systems, as well as experimental techniques and models to study them. We also hope that the resulting network will facilitate new, future collaborations around understanding the mechanisms and life-courses of developmental disorders.

This hui will feature seminars from FMHS Postdoctoral Society Visiting Scholars: Dr. Emma Wade and Dr. Michael Meier, from the University of Otago. See abstract below

Dr. Wade is a research fellow in the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health studying how genetic and cytoskeletal factors cause the developmental dysregulation in bones seen in Frontometaphyseal Dysplasia. 

Dr. Meier works in the Department of Anatomy with research using Botrylloides leachii (sea squirt) as a model species for the development and regeneration of multicellular organisms. Their unique lines of research and technical expertise do not overlap with existing topics within FMHS.

When: 16 June 2022
Where: Grafton campus 503-126
Time: 2-4pm and will be followed by nibbles and networking.

Please RSVP here for catering purposes

If you would like to meet Drs Wade and Meier personally or host tours in your laboratory, please state a time on the form.

This event is supported by the “FMHS-PDS Visiting Scholar Award”, please visit for more information on this scheme.

Developmental Biology Hui Abstracts

Dr Emma Wade: The enigmatic role of FLNA hinge-1 in development

Filamin A (FLNA) is a widely expressed, actin-binding protein that is necessary for healthy development. Mutations in FLNA are lethal in males and cause a broad range of developmental phenotypes in females, including skeletal dysplasia, neuronal migration abnormalities, and heart defects.

FLNA comprises an N-terminal actin binding domain proceeded by 24 highly organised, immunoglobulin-like repeat units, with a C-terminal dimerisation module. The rod-like repeat region is broken up by two, disorganised hinge domains, hinge-1 and hinge-2. Hinge-1 is thought to be essential for structured actin crosslinking providing mechano-protection to the cytoskeleton. Numerous pathogenic variants that lead to skeletal dysplasia, are found in the peri-hinge-1 region. We therefore hypothesised that FLNA hinge-1 was essential for FLNA function, especially in the developing skeleton.

We developed a novel mouse model, which expresses Flna without hinge-1 (ΔH1). The mice were born at expected Mendelian ratios, developed normally, and were healthy. Histological and micro computed tomography analysis of the skeleton revealed no abnormalities at 3 and 6 months of age, compared to wild type (WT) littermate controls (n = 6/group). A custom RNA Nanostring panel was designed to measure gene expression from mineralised bone. We found a small but significant increase in expression for genes that contribute to osteogenesis including. However, this subtle change in gene expression did not result in skeletal dysplasia with ageing, and ΔH1 animals lived as long as their WT siblings (up to 20 months).

In conclusion, despite the critical role defined for FLNA hinge-1 in previous studies, we have shown that hinge-1 is not essential for life in mice. It is possible that Flna can function at near-normal levels without this domain, and this work implies that human FLNA disease phenotypes are not caused by hinge-1 disruption.

Dr Michael Meier: A new body in eight days – uncovering the cellular origins of whole-body regeneration in the basal chordate Botrylloides leachii.

The ability to regenerate some body parts is shared by most animals, but greater biological complexity seems to be accompanied by diminished regeneration capacity. Botrylloides leachii, a colonial ascidian can regenerate from a fragment of vascular tissue in as little as eight days. This process of regenerating an entire body from a small amount of tissue is termed whole body regeneration (WBR). In fact, even within the ascidian sub-group, Stolidobranchia, B. leachii provides the best clear-out example of WBR in an invertebrate chordate, the closest extant relatives of the vertebrates. Exactly how B. leachii carries out a rapid regeneration programme, over a small period of time, is largely unknown. To characterize the cellular origin and molecular mechanisms involved in this process we developed an in vivo CRISPR based reporter system to track proliferation and differentiation patterns of cells involved in WBR in B. leachii.

Article Writing: The art of (scientific) storytelling.

Got writer’s block? The PDS has you covered.    

In this seminar, Dr Tanisha Jowsey will share stories about writing and publishing scientific articles. Your mission will be to glean important lessons from the stories shared.


Annual Quiz 2021 

Once again the PDS takes the prize. Hoorah…  

Our first ever online PDS vs PGSA quiz went ahead on the 25th Nov. Surprisingly, without a glitch. The PDS managed to stay ahead with an average score of 25.4 vs 22.6 for the PGSA. Brittney Bonner from the PGSA won the overall prize with a $50 superfino voucher. With Brya Matthews and Sandy Lau taking first and second place respectively from the PDS team. Coffees on them. It was a fun evening and we want to thank Prof. Andrew Shelling once again for being our Quiz Master.


Workshop to raise your online profile

We don’t have to wonder what all the fuss with having an online presence is about anymore.

Our excellent Research Service Advisers from Te Tumu Herenga, Donna MacColl and Evie Southwell, provided great insight and tips to build an online research profile. If you missed out, you can download the slides here. Considering it was our first online event since the August 2021 lockdown, it was very successful with over 50 attendees on Zoom (photo). Thank you Donna and Evie for sharing your knowledge and time with us.



SUMMIT 2021 was a success; despite a few last-minute changes. Watch this space for more details regarding our biggest event of the year.


Data Management Planning for HRC and HDEC

Heard of data management? “Arrrrgh” you say? Well this workshop is for you! 

Presented by Laura Armstrong from the Centre for eResearch, this this introductory seminar covered most things related to handling and managing of medical and health data. If you missed this seminar, don’t worry, we’ve managed to store that data here.

Animal Ethics Application Workshop: Write-it-Right

Having trouble getting your animal ethics application right? Lord knows we’ve all had that issue. 

The PDS are hosted a workshop in April 2021 given by our very own Dr. Jodi Salinsky (Animal Welfare Officer) and Prof. Laura Bennet (Animal Ethics Committee Deputy Chair) on how to get your ethics application right.  If you missed it don’t fret; you can find the workshop slides here.

Statistics Workshop: Introduction to sample size and power calculations for research studies

Size matters, especially when designing studies and writing grants. 

The FMHS biostatistics team ran a workshop to help guide confused post-docs about sample sizes and all things related. The workshop was a success with participants being inspired to write more grant applications. Topics included:-

  1. Why sample size and power matter
  2. What information you need to perform meaningful power calculations
  3. How to report your calculations

If you missed the workshop, you can access the recorded lecture here; you will need your UoA log-in details.

Christmas 2020


SUMMIT is one of our most exciting events of the year. In 2020 SUMMIT Postdoctoral Research Symposium was bigger and better than ever before. It was a resounding success with more than 100 research fellows attending. Presentations from keynote speakers Prof Cindy Kiro (Pro Vice-Chancellor Maori) and Dr Brett Cowan (Chief Scientist at the Institute of Environmental Science and Research: ESR) were truly inspiring and one of several highlights from the day.

SUMMIT2020 showcased the amazing research happening across Liggins, FMHS and the Auckland Bioengineering Institute. A few presentations stood out and were recognised with generous prizes from our sponsors.

Dr Alex Muntz won best oral presentation (sponsored by Auckland Medical Research Foundation) and Dr Julia Shanks received the runner-up best oral presentation award (sponsored by In Vitro  Technologies). Dr Rhea Desai was awarded the Bright Lights elevator pitch runner-up prize from Carl Zeiss NZ, and Dr Yukti Vyas won the best elevator pitch (sponsored by NEB New Zealand). Dr Amy Chan received the best abstract award from Maurice and Phyllis Paykel Trust. Congrats to all our winners!

A special thanks to the University and the sponsors who made this event possible: Carl Zeiss NZ, Integrated Sciences, In Vitro Technologies, Merck, NEB New Zealand, ThermoFisher – Life Sciences, Auckland Medical Research Foundation, and Maurice and Phyllis Paykel Research Trust. We acknowledge all the volunteers, organisers, and those involved who helped make SUMMIT2020 a success.

CRISPR Workshop

Learn about Nobel prize award technology – CRISPR

The long-awaited CRISPR workshop was an overwhelming success. Participants gained valuable insights into this Nobel prize winning technology and were able to design their own CRISPR experiment. Thank you to Dr Jennifer Hollywood and Dr Veronika Sander for sharing their knowledge with us.

Annual Quiz 2020 

Will the Postdocs continue to hold their position as champions or will the Postgrads steal away the prize? The great battle for superiority in general irrelevance is nigh!

It was truly a battle of the brains (and costumes) at the annual PDS vs PGSA quiz night. TheAucklandCancerSocietyResearchCentrePostdoctoralQuizTeamVersion 2020a (below left) proved their superiority in general irrelevance beating 12 other teams to retain the trophy for the Postdocs. The best costume was awarded to team PhydothePhysiologyDino (below right). The PDS and PGSA extend a big thank you to the evening’s quizmaster Prof Andrew Shelling for the entertainment and asking the tough questions.

Crafting a CV that stands out!

Professor Laura Bennet (HOD Physiology) hit us with tips and tricks for writing and editing our CVs, primarily targeted at Fellowship/Job applications.

This event ran on July 22nd from 1.00 – 2.00 pm in 501-110. Preparatory information is found here.

The recorded workshop can be found here [streaming] (or download) with accompanying slides and the ‘post-workshop’ CV here

PDS Annual General Meeting


Every year we have an Annual General Meeting to discuss the past 12 month period and crystal ball gaze about the next 12 months. Last year we certainly didn’t schedule in a global pandemic for 2020 but look what we got! Who knows what surprises you’ll get if you come along… This year we are running the meeting Thursday 25th June starting at 1 pm (free lunch beforehand…) in 501-505.

We also vote for co-presidents if there are more candidates than positions and call for volunteers for various other vacant committee/sub-committee positions (these will be circulated before the meeting). This is also your chance to ask questions of the past/future leadership, how the PDS runs, or even why we get free coffee every month (except some where there are major events or global pandemics…). The more people that attend, the more we can represent you so we hope to see you there!

*Yes, that’s right, you get free lunch! We’ll have some food (Subway!) available from 1230 pm start, so get there, mix and mingle and enjoy a free feed.

Professional Development in your PJs*

Professional Development from home. The first workshop will be on Thursday May 28th from 2-3 pm via Zoom** on the topics:

  1. Using social media for research – Evie Southwell
  2. 2. Academic impact and wider research impact – Derryl Hayman

Evie Southwell and Derryl Hayman both work as Research Services Advisers for Te Tumu Herenga, Libraries and Learning Services, and are based in the Philson Library at Grafton. They provide guidance to postgraduates and academic staff to develop researchers’ skills and to make maximum use of library resources. They will be joined by their team leader Jo Simons for the Q&A so we have three great brains to pick!

*PJs optional
**Zoom link can be found in the email version of the newsletter, or contact us for more information

Welcome Back Picnic

We’re planning a welcome back picnic on Friday February 28th at 4 pm in Outhwaite Park.

Join us and your fellow PDS members for some drinks, snacks and conversation!

Christmas 2019

Navigating a Successful Postdoc

Our career development event for 2019, we have a line-up of speakers to help you keep up the postdoc life. Join us on 14/11/2019 from 09:30 – 12:30 in 503-020 to learn about collaboration, project management, supervision, responsiveness to Māori and biostatistics… Phew! We’ll finish up with a discussion chaired by co-President Brya Matthews on survey results and some lunch!


Image Analysis Workshop

In conjunction with BIRU the PDS invites you to our workshop ‘Catching Photons to Counting Parameters!’ – a workshop on image processing, segmentation and analysis in cell biology.

It’ll be held on 07/11/2019 from 13:00 – 16:00 in 503-124. RSVP to is essential as there are only 30 places

Halloween Social 2019

We are holding our annual Halloween Social on 31/10/2019 from 12.00 – 2.00 pm in Outhwaite Park. All RFs, SRFs, lecturers and their families are welcome.

Keen to feast on paella? Spanish beer and other non-alcoholic alternatives?

Do you like games? Mummy wrap race, balloon pop (last person standing) and a guess the lolly jar competition.

Come along, hang out and get to know your fellow postdocs!

RSVP using the calendar event sent out Monday 7th October, or email Sandy for more info (and dietary requirements).

PDS International Speaker Event 2019

This year we welcome Associate Professor Katie Hinde from the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Centre for Evolution and Medicine at Arizona State University. A/Prof Hinde will present a talk titled: Land of Milk & Honey: Navigating Academia on One’s Own Terms.

Join us in 505-011 from 11:00 – 12:00 on October 29th

Opportunity for a meet and greet with A/Prof Hinde will be available at Superfino from 10:00 – 11:00 in place of our October monthly coffee.

Annual Quiz Night

🥇StillTheAucklandCancerSocietyResearchCentrePostdoctoralQuizTeamOne” (PDS)

🥈Those Guys” (PDS)

🥉Don’t Trust Me I’m a Fake Doctor” (PDS)

🥄“Asian Avengers” (PGSA)

Best Name: “Slaughtermelons” (PGSA)
Special Gangster Award: “GraftonGang” (PGSA)


It’s that time of year again! The time of year when epic battles over obscure facts become more than lunchtime titillation, moving instead into the realm of serious competition. Will the Postdocs with their superior maturity (aka old-age) become champions or will the Postgrads use their youthfulness (aka knowledge-of-current-pop-culture) to take the prize? The great battle for superiority in the fields of miscellany, obscurity and general irrelevance will tell all!

Find out on Thursday 22nd August 6 – 8.30 pm at Superfino.

IP Commercialisation Series in collaboration with UniServices 18/07 ; 01/08 ; 15/08

In three one hour sessions on the 18th June, 1st August and 15th August join us to learn about intellectual property and commercialisation of your research. All welcome!


  • Thursday 18th July: Commercialising your Research at the University of Auckland
  • Thursday 1st August: Patents – who owns them, how to get one for your research
  • Thursday 15th August: Biotech patentability – Patenting genes, bugs and drugs

Academic Writing Workshop for Early Career Researchers at FMHS

Together with the Maurice Wilkins Centre, the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences Postdoctoral Society will be holding an Academic Writing Workshop on the afternoon of Wednesday, 14 August 2019. Writing skills are key to academic progression. We have put together an hands-on workshop targeting early career researchers at our Faculty.

We will first hear from the seasoned academic writer, Dr. Veronika Sander from the Department of Molecular Medicine and Pathology, about her grant and publication writing journey, as well as a number of useful tips on crafting your narratives.

Then in an interactive workshop led by Professor Helen Sword, the director of the Centre for Learning and Research in Higher Education (CLeaR), we will explore the key elements that make for an engaging piece of academic writing, and you will develop strategies for becoming a more productive writer. Please bring along a few pages of your own writing – for example, work-in-progress from an academic article or chapter.

Please RSVP to by 7 August for catering purpose.

We look forward to seeing you. For any questions, please email Catherine at


SUMMIT is one of our most exciting events of the year. In 2019 we are featuring two outstanding guests, Professor Juliet Gerrard, the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor and Professor Cather Simpson, the Director of The Photon Factory.

Photos available here

Full programme!

  • Research presentation – 8 minute talk + 2 minutes questions. Prizes: 1st: Caroline Walker – $3000 travel grant from AMRF, 2nd: Jacelyn Loh – $1000 consumables from In Vitro
  • Elevator pitch – 3 minute talk, 1 slide only. Prizes: 1st: Alex Müntz – $1500 consumables from Mediray

Postdoctoral Society Christmas Celebration

12-2 pm, Wednesday 12th December 2018
Outside Grafton campus atrium

Postdocs came together to celebrate the successes of 2018.

Un-Alternative Careers for PostDocs

9 November 12-1:30pm,
Room 501-110

Come and find out about a couple of other career paths that utilise your skills and qualifications, hear some stories from past colleagues about their journeys as well as getting some advice from an expert career consultant from OCG on finding your new job and how to get a successful application/resume together. Panel discussion with lots of opportunity to ask questions.  You can also post a question on the RSVP form in advance of the event.
Panel line up

  • Dr. Verity Todd – Clinical Research Fellow (St John NZ)
  • Dr. Jonathan Robson – Senior Clinical Research Scientist (Fisher and Paykel Healthcare)
  • Julie Cressey – Manager (OCG Consulting)

PDS Halloween Social

Wednesday 31st October
Time: 3.30-6pm
Venue: Outhwaite Park

The 2018 PDS Halloween social was a family-friendly afternoon in the park, with plenty of food, drinks, fun, and sun!

How to Postdoc

 3rd October 2018 (501-110)
Did you attend this event? Please place your feedback through this form:

At this event we gave you the low-down on all the things you should be doing to be a successful researcher in academia.

It covered what you need to be doing from the day you start your first postdoctoral position, tips for publishing, and some super useful info on putting grants together. We went right through to navigation of the university’s ADPR system and how to get that promotion. There was ample opportunity to get questions and comments through to the right people

Handouts from the event are now available from our Resources page.

Annual Quiz Night
The FMHS PGSA and PDS will battle it out once again to determine who will emerge as trivia champion in this Quiz night. In 2018 the PDS emerged in a hotly contested first (and second, and third!) place on Thursday 6 Sept, 6-8:30 pm.

The date for 2019 will be announced in due course