Immerse yourself in a week of intellectual stimulation and social enjoyment designed to expand your mind and brighten your winter.

Monday 10 – Friday 14 July 2017

winter-week-talkWinter Week is an award winning event which opens a fascinating window into some of the world-class research carried out at the University of Auckland.

Morning and afternoon sessions feature lectures by distinguished University of Auckland faculty members, chosen for both their subject expertise and their passion for teaching adult students.

You’ll join a group of enthusiastic adults who not only have a love of learning but also enjoy the opportunity to debate current issues and meet new people.

Your enrolment in Winter Week entitles you to attend all three lectures per day Monday – Friday(15 lectures in total) and includes morning tea.

TimeMonday 10 JulyTuesday 11 July Wednesday 12 July Thursday 13 JulyFriday 14 July
Faculty of ScienceFaculty of EngineeringMedical and Health ScienceFaculty of ScienceFaculty of Engineering
10 - 11amReconstructing past climate to predict the futureForearm rotationRewiring the Damaged Spinal CordHow past and future consequences shape choiceTools for predicting lung function
11 - 11.25amMorning tea*Morning tea*Morning tea*Morning tea*Morning tea*
Faculty of ScienceMedical and Health ScienceFaculty of ScienceCreative Arts and IndustriesFaculty of Science
11.30am - 12.30pmMedicines and mechanisms of migraineNot a dry eye in the houseFailure: something to be avoided or embraced?Turn Mirrors into WindowsHow our brains imagine the future
12.35 - 1.25pmLunch breakLunch breakLunch breakLunch breakLunch break
Faculty of LawFaculty of ScienceFaculty of ArtsFaculty of ScienceFaculty of Arts
1.30 - 2.30pmUsing New Zealand As A Tax HavenSea level and Earth’s midlatitude bulgeMedieval Women’s Health and Cosmetic MedicineWhy do we die in the Intensive Care Unit?Pleasures and Stigmas of Male-to-Female Cross-Dressing

* Tea and coffee are provided for morning tea each day


Select a tab below to view the programme for that day.

  • Reconstructing-past-climate-to-predict-the-futureReconstructing past climate to predict the future

    10:00 – 11:00am  Associate Professor Anthony Fowler, MA, Phd

    The extreme weather events of early 2017 were interesting in terms of the local flooding and wind impacts, and the “Tasman Tempest” exposed the sensitivity of Auckland’s water supply system to too much (as well as too little) rain. Interestingly, it also became apparent that the public is now making a connection between climate change and increased risk of extreme events. Although climatologists have been saying this for decades, specific extreme events are problematic, because the available instrumental data is too sort to make definitive statements about whether the events in question are evidence of change, or perhaps just natural variability in operation. To help resolve this, we turn to natural archives to learn more about natural climate variability. In this talk I will present an overview of how we reconstruct past climate, present a few interesting insights, and suggest what this may tell us about the future.

    Anthony Fowler has been a climate researcher at the University of Auckland since the early 1990s. Climate change and variability is a pervasive research theme, with future climate change and likely associated impacts on hydrology and water resources a core driver. Key components of his research include understanding the physical processes responsible for contemporary New Zealand climate, determining the character and causes of past climate change (upon which future change will be superimposed), and assessing the sensitivity of water resources to climate change and variability.

    Medicines and mechanisms of migraine – the promise of “CGRP”

    11:30am – 12:30pm  Professor Debbie Hay, BSc (hons), PhD

    Migraines are far worse than a bad headache. They can affect the entire physiology of a sufferer, altering vision and causing nausea, as well as producing severe throbbing head pain. Chronic migraine causes 15 migraine days per month, which is an intolerable drain on a person. Historical “treatments” for migraine included bloodletting and today many of the millions of migraine sufferers worldwide still have no effective therapy despite great strides in surgical and pharmacological advances. A new area of great hope lies in the development of medicines that target proteins called G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). In particular, drugs in testing that target a specific hormone-receptor system in nerve cells – the calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor system – have demonstrated unprecedented success in human clinical trials. Prof Hay will outline the exciting developments relating to drugs that target the CGRP system for treating migraine.

    Since her first exposure to the discipline of pharmacology, Debbie has been captivated by the process of discovering new medicines to improve human health. This curiosity has guided a fruitful research career, with a recent discovery from her team poised to change perceptions around how we develop drugs to treat a condition that affects up to 1 in 5 New Zealand adults – migraine headache. Debbie Hay is Professor of Biochemistry and Pharmacology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. She is a current James Cook Research Fellow (Royal Society of New Zealand), with a particular interest in cell surface proteins, called receptors. Her team had made many contributions to understanding how these receptors function. In particular she has worked on receptors for the neurohormone calcitonin gene-related peptide, which is the basis for the most promising new migraine treatments in decades.

    Using New Zealand As A Tax Haven: How Was It Done? And Is It Still Going On?

    1:30 – 2:30pm   Professor Michael Littlewood, BA, LLB, PhD

    The New Zealand tax system was until recently so structured as to allow the country to be used as a tax haven. Specifically, it allowed foreigners to use trusts established in New Zealand (referred to as “foreign trusts”) to avoid and evade the tax they would otherwise have had to pay in their home country. It would seem to have been possible, too, for foreigners to use such trusts for other illicit purposes, in particular money-laundering and financing terrorism. In April 2016 the publicity given to the Panama Papers attracted attention to this aspect of the New Zealand tax system. The government responded by appointing a distinguished accountant, John Shewan, to advise. He recommended that the law be changed and the government accepted his recommendations. This session explains how the foreign trust rules work, and how the amending legislation was designed to preclude this form of abuse.

    Michael Littlewood is a Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Auckland. He is a New Zealander but has spent many years in Hong Kong. He has degrees in law and politics from the University of Auckland and a doctorate in tax from the University of Hong Kong. He is admitted as a barrister and solicitor in New Zealand, as a solicitor in England and Wales and as a solicitor in Hong Kong. He is an authority on New Zealand tax law, Hong Kong tax law, tax policy and tax history. Much of his work has been in the fields of tax planning, tax avoidance and international tax. His work has been published and cited in leading journals in New Zealand, the US, the UK, Australia and Hong Kong. He is a fulltime academic but has also from time to time provided advice to business interests and to various governments.

  • Forearm-rotation.-Can-it-really-be-that-complicatedForearm rotation. Can it really be that complicated?

    10:00 – 11:00am Desney Greybe, BSc

    In the human body, one bone is fractured more often than any other: the radius. The radius is crucial to forearm rotation, a movement we rely on constantly. Following a fracture, it is common for the radius to heal incorrectly, which can cause considerable dysfunction and lead to painful and debilitating osteoarthritis in the distal radioulnar joint. In approximately 30% of cases, surgery is required. Unfortunately, surgical outcomes vary and are not always successful. The treatment of radius fractures, together with many other clinical conditions, is currently limited by our poor understanding of the seemingly simple but deceptively complex movement we call forearm rotation.

    This session will look at the intricate and fascinating forearm, discuss our recent attempts to better understand its function, and inspire a deeper appreciation for this important joint.

    Desney completed his PhD at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute, University of Auckland, where he studied forearm mechanics. He was recently awarded a post-doctoral fellowship by Lottery Health Research to continue his work at the Institute to further our understanding of distal radioulnar joint contact. He will also implement statistical approaches to characterise upper limb bone morphology. His goal is to improve patient outcomes by improving our understanding of forearm biomechanics.

    Not-a-dry-eye-in-the-houseNot a dry eye in the house

    11:30am – 12:30pm  Associate Professor Jennifer Craig, PhD, MSc, BsC, MCOptom, FAAO, FBCLA

    Tears are important to nourish and protect the surface of the eye and to help keep vision clear. When the quantity or quality of the tears is reduced, a cascade of events can occur that lead to dry eye disease. Through discomfort and visual disturbance, the disease has a significant adverse impact on the quality of life of those affected. Concerning increases in prevalence, that are worsened by the aging population and contemporary lifestyle choices, has prompted much research into better understanding how the disease develops in order to help prevent and treat dry eye.

    The Ocular Surface Laboratory at the University of Auckland is a world leader in dry eye research. This session will describe how local research is helping to drive the field forward globally, by seeking to understand how dry eye develops and exploring novel ways in which the disease can be treated.

    Therapeutic optometrist, Jennifer P. Craig is an Associate Professor in Ophthalmology at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, where she heads the Ocular Surface Laboratory. Her main research interest is in dry eye and tear film dysfunction. She regularly delivers continuing education and research lectures internationally and publishes in both the scientific and clinical press. She is co-author of the book ‘The Tear Film’ and has contributed to the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society’s (TFOS) International Workshop on Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, the International Workshop on Contact Lens Discomfort, and most recently the second International Dry Eye Workshop (DEWS II), on which she invited to serve as Vice-Chair. Jennifer is also presently a member of the TFOS Board of Directors, and is the current Chair of the Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board of New Zealand.

    Sea-level-and-Earth’s-midlatitude-bulgeSea level and Earth’s midlatitude bulge

    1:30 – 2:30pm Dr Melissa Bowen, PhD, MSc, BSc 

    The height of the sea is one of the most basic quantities we can think of when describing the ocean, yet a surprising array of processes contribute to sea level change. In this session, we look at the many ways that sea level varies and what is happening in our part of the world. Along the way, we’ll see that ocean dynamics – the way in which ocean water moves – explains a large part of the sea level changes over the last few decades. As we’ll see, the response of the ocean to changing winds creates a “bulge” of water in the midlatitudes of the Southern Hemisphere.

    Melissa is a physical oceanographer who studies the ocean currents, temperatures and salinities and the reasons why they vary. Like many oceanographers, she began in a completely different field (in Melissa’s case electrical engineering) but realised enough maths and physics can allow you to explore other very interesting directions. After completing her PhD in the Joint Programme between MIT and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, she has been a researcher at universities and research labs in the US, UK and NZ, before joining the University of Auckland in 2012.

  • Rewiring the Damaged Spinal Cord; Plasticity, regeneration and rehabilitation

    10:00 – 11:00am Jarred Griffin, BSc (Hons)

    Spinal cord injuries cause damage to the neurons that relay signals between the brain and the peripheral body. A result of these injuries is some or full loss of sensory and motor functions to the affected. The good news is that experimental spinal cord injury is no longer incurable. Over the last few years many researchers have reported functional recovery following a variety of treatments.
    This lecture will discuss these elegant breakthroughs in the field of spinal cord injury research. There will be a particular focus on the role of the extracellular matrix and how interventions that manipulate the matrix can promote neuronal regeneration leading to functional recovery. It will then highlight how a novel genetic therapy that is being developed in our laboratory has shown success and how neurorehabilitation will advance this finding.

    Jarred Griffin graduated with BSc Hons in Pharmacology from the University of Auckland in 2013 and is now a PhD candidate in the Spinal Cord Injury Facility (SCIRF) within the Centre for Brain Research. Jarred has also completed two courses at the internationally recognised Neuroscience School of Advanced Studies in Italy. His PhD is supervised by Dr Simon O’Carroll and Associate Professor Deborah Young, a world renowned gene therapy expert. Professor Louise Nicholson, co-founder of SCIRF, has also been advising and mentoring Jarred on his research journey.

    FailureFailure: something to be avoided or embraced?

    11:30am – 12:30pm Dr Elizabeth Peterson, PhD

    In this Session Elizabeth will discuss whether we are over-protecting our children from failure and in doing so preventing the development of their resilience and growth. She will explore where we get our beliefs about failure from, their importance for later success, and the implications of having a growth versus fixed mindset in responding to adversity.

    Elizabeth Peterson is Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Auckland and currently teaches in the Developmental Programme. Most of her research is focused on trying to understand the factors, processes and pathways that optimise human learning and development and that promote happy, healthy, well rounded and resilient young people. She is particularly interested in how people’s self-beliefs and expectations affect their wellbeing, learning and educational outcomes. Elizabeth is also a researcher on Growing Up in New Zealand, a longitudinal study following the development of approximately 7000 New Zealand children.

    Medieval-Womens-Health-and-Cosmetic-MedicineMedieval Women’s Health and Cosmetic Medicine

    1:30 – 2:30pm Dr Kim Phillips, BA (Hons), DPhil

    We know that in our own times ‘cosmetic medicine’ has become big business. What might be less familiar is the fact that people of premodern contexts also looked to medical remedies to modify their bodies in accordance with prevailing ideals. This lecture will examine some medical handbooks and herbals from medieval England, examining their recommended treatments for hair dying and removal, skin whitening, tooth whitening, and breast reduction. In addition to noting the content of several recipes, it will raise questions about what they reveal about medieval cultural values, especially concerning gender, age, ethnicity, and social status.

    Kim Phillips is Associate Professor in History at the University of Auckland, where she teaches medieval history. Among diverse research interests, she has written books and articles on medieval women, gender and sexuality, and is beginning a new project on beauty and women’s bodies in medieval and early modern England.

  • Understanding-how-past-and-future-consequences-shape-choiceUnderstanding how past and future consequences shape choice

    10:00 – 11:00am Dr Sarah Cowie, PhD

    How do consequences shape our choices? This lecture will explore research that challenges some of the fundamental assumptions about the process by which consequences control our actions, and investigate a new approach where our actions are governed by the likely future, as extrapolated from consequences that have occurred in the recent past. We will consider how this new understanding of the function of consequences helps us understand the role of reward in impulsive choice and behavioural addictions.

    Sarah Cowie obtained her PhD in 2014 at the University of Auckland. Her research has been at the forefront of a revolution in the study of how consequences affect behaviour, and the reconceptualization of what rewarding a behaviour actually does. Sarah’s current interests include how past events are used to predict the future, and the role of reward in risky choice and behaviour change.

    Turn-Mirrors-into-WindowsTurn Mirrors into Windows

    11:30am – 12:30pm Professor Diane Brand, BArch(Hons), PhD, MAUD Harvard, RAIA, NZIA

    This presentation focuses on a couple of cases studies that together illustrate the ensemble of approaches undertaken at the Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries (CAI). Drawing on various CAI disciplines, the studies range from engagement with the culture of indigenous people, to strategic arts projects in zones of conflict, to preparing students for creative participation in the new world of global media and technology. They reflect the overall vision of CAI in building a community of enquiry that explores contemporary issues in a national and international context.

    Diane Brand trained in New Zealand and the USA as an architect and urban designer, and worked professionally for large international practices, before becoming an academic in 1994. As an educator, she has worked at the disciplinary boundaries of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design and planning. She was instrumental in introducing New Zealand’s first masters programme in urban design at the University of Auckland. Since 2008, in her role in academic governance, she has emphasised the linkages between disciplines; has overseen large-scale curriculum developments at Victoria University School of Architecture and Design; and is now Dean of Creative Arts and Industries at the University of Auckland. Diane has for many years been involved in urban design panels in Adelaide, Auckland and Christchurch, and she publishes extensively in international journals of planning and urban design.

    Why-do-we-die-in-the-Intensive-Care-UnitWhy do we die in the Intensive Care Unit?

    1:30 – 2:30pm Dr Anthony Phillips

    Acute critical illness can result from many different initiating causes such as severe infection, trauma or inflammation states like acute pancreatitis. Despite receiving the best medical care available within an Intensive Care Unit, in about 30% of patients their acute illness becomes fatal because they go on to develop a progressive dysfunction of their vital organs (e.g. heart and lungs). This “multiple organ dysfunction” can occur even if the individual organs that fail were not the original ones involved in the presenting illness. Surprisingly, there is mounting evidence that it maybe another unrelated location, the intestine, which is a common element driving the organ failure. More specifically we think “lymphatic fluid” draining from the intestine may be the key mediator. This session will: introduce ‘intestinal lymph’ and the fascinating story that points to its role in promoting multiple organ failure; then outline our recent plans to modulate this process.

    Anthony is an Associate Professor in the School of Biological Sciences and the Department of Surgery at the University of Auckland. Currently he is the Academic Leader for the Biomedical and Applied Biology (BMA) division in the School of Biological Sciences. He is also Director of the Applied Surgery and Metabolism Laboratory (ASML) in the Department of Surgery, a cross-faculty research laboratory and training environment that is specifically dedicated to supporting surgeon’s undertaking PhD studies in basic science. Anthony has previously worked for the Auckland Hospital Liver Transplant Service on its organ retrieval surgical team and as Medical Director for an international biotechnology company. He has published in the fields of wound healing, liver transplantation, acute pancreatitis, critical illness, lymphatic pathobiology, microbiology, and energy metabolism. In addition to these research interests he has experience in clinical trials and commercial drug development processes through his work within the biotechnology sector.

  • every-breath-you-takeEvery breath you take: tools for predicting lung function

    10:00 – 11:00am Dr Kelly Burrowes, BE, PhD

    One of the five vital organs; the lungs breathe life into our body. Any diseases affecting our lungs impact on how much oxygen we can get into our blood. This delicately balanced system consists of a gas exchange area that would cover the surface of a lane in an Olympic swimming pool. Yet diagnosis of lung disease is often based on measurements of how well our lungs are working at the mouth. This provides only an average measure of function, leaving a great deal unknown about how well our lungs are working on a regional level. This session will introduce you to the respiratory system and how it breaks down in disease. You will be guided through novel methods of measuring lung function, including medical imaging, computer modelling and tissue measurements. Together these methods are being used to probe the link between structure and function in the lungs.

    Dr Burrowes completed her PhD at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute. She spent nine years as a researcher at the University of Oxford and has since returned to Auckland as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering. Dr Burrowes has a passion for all things lung and is working towards creating clinically useful tools for assessing lung function in different respiratory diseases. Her research has predominantly focussed on computational modelling but has more recently included some tissue-based experimental work and testing functional MRI techniques to measure regional lung function.

    How-our-brains-imagine-the-futureHow our brains imagine the future

    11:30am – 12:30pm Dr Reece Roberts

    We spend half our waking lives mind-wandering, and much of that time involves us imagining events that may occur in the future. In this session, Reece will discuss a range of experimental findings, old and new, that have shed light on how our brains are able to achieve this. These findings will range from neuropsychological case studies (in which brain damage has produced interesting behavioural deficits) to neuroimaging (in which participants brains are scanned while engaging in future thinking). The link between imagination and memory will be discussed, along with how these processes are affected by healthy aging. Finally, I will discuss the relationship between future imagination and creativity.

    Dr. Reece Roberts is a Research Fellow in the School of Psychology at the University of Auckland. His research interests centre on future imagination, autobiographical memory, aging, and neuroimaging methods.

    What-is-it-about-Womens-Clothes-that-Make-Men-So-Reluctant-to-Wear-ThemWhat is it about Women’s Clothes that Make Men So Reluctant to Wear Them? On the Pleasures and Stigmas of Male-to-Female Cross-Dressing

    1:30 – 2:30pm Dr Ciara aka Colin Cremin, BA(Hons), MA, PhD

    Without giving prior notice, on July 27, 2015, after a lifetime of looking and dressing as a man in public, Colin Cremin came to work, the University of Auckland where Colin lecture’s in sociology, wearing full makeup, a blouse, a black skirt that ended above the knee, pantyhose and court shoes. Colin walked down the steps of a lecture theatre in front of 100 or so seated students and, without making any reference to what Colin had on, gave a lecture on popular culture. Neither in biology nor in law will you find an explanation for why, except in parody, it is so unusual for men to be seen in even one of these elements. What is it about so-called women’s clothes that make men so reluctant to wear them? Why is a man in a dress still considered a joke? Ciara address these questions in the presentation and offers reflections on her own desire to wear women’s clothes and experiences since dressing openly in them.

    Ciara aka Colin Cremin is a critical theorist who teaches in sociology at the University of Auckland. She is author of a number of books, including Totalled: Salvaging the Future from the Wreckage of Capitalism, published in 2015 with Pluto Press. Man-Made Woman: The Dialectics of Cross-Dressing, also with Pluto Press, is published in August this year.

University of Auckland City Campus

All lectures will be held on City Campus at the University of Auckland’s General Library lecture theatres.

Comments from past participants

“Winter Week is an experience not to be missed. New ways of thinking, new ideas being kept up to date with new research is enlightening and rejuvenating. Totally recommended.”

“The week provides an excellent way to ‘shake the cobwebs’, to meet and interesting collection of people and see just what the academics of Auckland University have achieved.”

“Worthwhile taking a week off work to attend.”

“Winter Week is a good breath of fresh air – excellent lectures, good company, lively discussions. Winter Week gives one the opportunity to learn about subjects one has never previously explored.”

“The Winter Week on Campus is a great way to spend a week for young or older participants. There are interesting people you meet in and out of the lectures. High quality of lectures, the majority of whom had excellent presentation skills.”

“Winter Week is something to look forward too each year where we not only learn, but also appreciate the courses and enjoy each others company and the unique University atmosphere and grounds.”