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Dr Gluckman now Sir Gluckman

#1 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 01:56 PM

Sir Peter Gluckman named to Order of New Zealand

Last updated 05:00, June 1 2015

Sir Peter Gluckman says he never had a career path in mind but his "workaholic" approach has paid off with him being named as a Member of the Order of New Zealand, the country's highest award, as part of the Queen's Birthday honours.

Gluckman, the Prime Minister's chief science advisor, joins the Order as the 18th current member alongside esteemed company including Helen Clark, Sir Murray Halberg and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.

Membership in the Order of New Zealand is limited to a maximum of 20 living people at one time.

He said he was proud to be accepted as a member, which adds to his knighthood and Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit 1997.

"I was very surprised. It's humbling. It's obviously very gratifying when your country recognises your contribution. You do your best and to get recognised is always nice."

Gluckman originally trained in Dunedin and Auckland as a paediatrician but after two years as a doctor he pursued a career in research,
which he said he had never looked back from.

"I'm proud of the science I've done. I'm proud of the medical school I've developed. It's strange obviously my science has had a lot of impact globally but the bits I'm most proud of are hard to explain, they're conceptual."

He said his advice to younger aspiring scientists and doctors was to keep an open mind and pursue things they were interested in.

"You can't predict what's going to happen. I've never been a person who's planned their life. I'm a person who enjoys life, who enjoys what I do in life. You've got to take the opportunities and make your own luck."

Auckland-born Gluckman is the only New Zealander to be elected to both the Institute of Medicine of the United States National Academies of Science and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences of Great Britain.

He described himself as an internationalist but said New Zealand was always his home.

"Having seen what New Zealand is and what it can be is hugely inspiring. It has an enormous potential to be a smart little country. We have very good medical scientists, we often knock everything but quite frankly we do very well."

In 2009 Gluckman was appointed as the inaugural chief science advisor to the Prime Minister.

He said it has been an interesting role helping the government apply science to diplomacy and policy formation.

On top of his work consulting the Prime Minister and travelling the world attending science conferences he was also in the process of working on two books.

"I'm a workaholic. It's always 'what else can I do next'?"

Last year Gluckman was appointed co-chair of the World Health Organisation Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity.

He hosted and chaired the Science Advice to Governments Conference, the first global meeting of high-level science advisors convened by the International Council for Science in Auckland in 2014.

He was Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland in the 1990s before founding the Liggins Institute in 2001, encouraging New Zealand scientists to undertake world class research.

In 2004 he helped establish the Gravida National Centre for Growth and Development, one of seven Centres of Research Excellence in New Zealand.

He was assistant professor at the University of California in San Francisco and spent time working on how fetal hormonal systems developed and how growth was controlled.

Gluckman's research focus has ranged from the hormonal control of growth before and after birth, intrauterine growth restriction and neurological diseases to evolutionary medicine and the interface between human and pastoral animal biology.

He lives in Auckland with his wife Judy.

- Stuff

#2 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 02:00 PM

From 10 years plus ago.

Herald New Zealander of the Year: Dr Peter Gluckman

By Simon Collins
2:35 PM Saturday Dec 18, 2004


Soccer balls, not PlayStations, are the best things you can give children this Christmas if you care about their health.

That's the advice from Dr Peter Gluckman, who should know. He, his Auckland University team and collaborators are creating a whole new field of medicine - applying the principles of evolution to human health.

For 95 per cent of the time since Homo sapiens appeared in Africa around 200,000 years ago, we have been hunter-gatherers, our bodies tuned to stalk wild animals.

Since our ancestors domesticated plants and animals a mere 10,000 years ago, we have settled down. In the past 50 years, PlayStations and computers have taken our sedentary lifestyle to a new extreme.

But our bodies have not had time to evolve to match. We face an epidemic of obesity and its associated killer illnesses of diabetes and heart disease because we are not built to be couch potatoes. In our modern world, a game of soccer is a physical equivalent to the hunt.

"The evidence is that exercise is lacking. Lack of calorie expenditure is by far the biggest issue," Gluckman says. "The worst present a parent should give a child for Christmas is a PlayStation. I'm serious. They should give them a soccer ball."

In the tiny world of New Zealand academia, Gluckman is a controversial, outsized figure. He has accumulated positions, power and funding at the expense of a long line of former colleagues.

As well as directing two publicly funded research institutes, he is chief scientific officer of a private company, Neuren, with exclusive rights to much of the knowledge from one of the institutes.

When Neuren's debut public share issue closed on the Australian Stock Exchange yesterday, Gluckman's modest personal stake in it was valued at A$44,000 ($46,785).

Former employees of Neuren's predecessor, Neuronz, tell of conflict between the company's need to paint a rosy picture for potential investors and the reality of a small band of scientists experimenting with naturally occurring brain substances to try to reduce brain injury. Some experiments worked; some didn't.

But internationally, in the field of human growth and development, Gluckman and his collaborators are seen as genuinely transforming our understanding of the roots of ill health.

Dr Hamish Spencer, an evolutionary theorist at Otago University who read Gluckman's new book The Fetal Matrix before publication, says Gluckman and his British co-author Mark Hanson have achieved "a significant advance".

"I think they are being quite brave. Whether it's Nobel Prize stuff or not I don't know," he says. "Breakthroughs are often, 'We have found a gene for such and such' or 'This particular environmental cause leads to this particular disease'. This is more conceptual. This is saying we can look at a range of things in a more substantial way."

No one scientist is ever solely responsible for such major advances. Each works in a team and builds on the work of others.

But Gluckman, 55, leads one of a handful of teams that have tested the early roots of disease in animals and are now drawing lessons for human health, earning his selection as the first scientist to be the New Zealand Herald's New Zealander of the Year.

He has been researching pre-birth and early childhood growth since starting work as a junior lecturer in paediatrics at Auckland University in 1974.

In the 1980s, British researcher David Barker noticed the surprising fact that people from one English county who were born as smaller-than-average babies between 1911 and 1930 were more likely to have died from heart disease 50 to 70 years later. He suggested that poor nutrition in the womb, producing a small baby, somehow programmed the child to conserve fat in later life, making it more vulnerable eventually to heart disease.

In Auckland, Gluckman tested Barker's idea by restricting the food of pregnant rats and sheep. Sure enough, their baby rats and lambs grew up to be obese, with high blood pressure and an early death.

He also tested children and found that those who were born small were less able to use insulin to absorb sugars from their blood into their body cells.

The sugars were not absorbed into muscles to be spent on exercise. Instead, they built up in the blood, causing the children's bodies to produce extra insulin until they were eventually absorbed into stores of fat for the expected poorer times ahead.

Gluckman believes this makes many of us "hard-wired" to eat food whenever we can find it and to avoid exercise. Now that we can eat as much as we like at the computer by day or at the TV by night, our wiring may be killing us.

"In a sense, diet and exercise are an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff," Gluckman says. To avoid falling off the cliff in the first place, we need to change our wiring.

He believes we may one day be able to do this chemically, perhaps by modifying in the embryo the chromosomes that govern our later development and behaviour.

But in the meantime, the only way to avoid wiring children to eat too much and exercise too little is to make sure well-fed mothers send their unborn babies the right signals - that there is plenty of food around so there is no need to store fat. That makes Gluckman anxious.

"A lot of women do diet at the beginning of pregnancy, which worries the hell out of me," he says.

But fat mothers can be a problem, too, because they may be diabetic.

Gluckman chairs pregnancy nutrition committees for the World Health Organisation and the United States National Institutes of Health. But he says no one is sure where the right balance lies.

"This is my biggest frustration - that in the year 2004 we have just learnt how subtle changes in what women eat from before they get pregnant and through pregnancy have influences on the offspring ... yet it's an indictment on our priorities that we still do not know what is the optimal nutritional intake for a woman at different stages of her life cycle."

As well as working on growth and nutrition, Gluckman's research group has made important advances on brain injury, particularly in premature babies whose soft heads make them vulnerable during birth.

His group was among the first to realise that some brain cells took hours, or even days, to die after an injury, and made the surprising discovery that cooling the brain could reduce cell death.

This led to a search for natural growth factors that could be injected into the brain to stop cell death. One of these, glypromate, has been tested on healthy volunteers in Adelaide. This week's A$15 million ($15.9 million) Neuren fundraising in Australia was primarily to fund phase two trials of glypromate next year.

Gluckman says financiers in the US and Europe were willing to fund the trials, but only if the business moved to the country the financier lived in. He and the other Neuren shareholders were not willing to go.

Gluckman was born here, the son of psychiatrist Dr Laurie Gluckman and former Nga Tapuwae College principal Ann Gluckman, and feels a loyalty to this country.

Living here is difficult because most of his collaborators are overseas and because of what he calls "a gulf between science and policy" in New Zealand, where scientists who speak out are suspected of pleading for extra money rather than being respected for their expertise.

"It is frustrating that we are the leaders in intellectual thinking about early life events and the long-term consequences, yet we have more influence overseas than we do here."

Gluckman freely admits to a big ego and big ambitions. He became dean of the Auckland Medical School in 1992 and made a shortlist of two for the job of university vice-chancellor when Dr John Hood was appointed in 1999.

He stepped down as dean in 2001 to start a health research centre within the university, the Liggins Institute, "so we can do world-class research with critical mass".

In 2002 the Liggins became the base of the new National Research Centre for Growth and Development, with $32 million of state funding over five years.

But Gluckman says the Liggins' total budget of around $10 million a year needs to rise to $25 million to $30 million to reach the size that makes similar institutes in Australia world leaders.

Back in 1998-99, he argued for funding a few "research universities" and "centres of excellence", and rating both research and teaching in all tertiary institutes to make them focus on what they were good at.

Economic success, he wrote, came from creating new knowledge.

After Hood arrived, he and Gluckman came up with the idea of the "Knowledge Wave" conference, a grand convention of national leaders in 2001. In Gluckman's words, it aimed to persuade New Zealanders that "investment in knowledge would ultimately bring social and economic benefit".

The Labour Government has adopted many of those ideas. It has set up a competitive research funding scheme, which Auckland University easily topped, created seven centres of research excellence, including four at Auckland, and funded four "partnerships for excellence", including three at Auckland.

"I don't have to defend the argument now, that investment is worthwhile," Gluckman says. "The only debate is going to be over the tools and the amount of the investment."

Somehow, in his busy life, Gluckman also finds time to be a trustee of the Auckland Hebrew Congregation, a husband to Judy for 34 years and father to Auckland hair salon manager Katie, 27, and son Joshua, 24, a sustainability engineer in Wellington.

When not travelling the world, he and Judy try to get away every second weekend to a bolthole at Piha where he listens to jazz and baroque music and reads.

"New Zealand has a lot going for it," he says, "if we can just get out of our mindset about being second-class and accept that there is enormous potential to be first-class."

The roll of honour

The Herald's New Zealander of the Year title was first awarded in 1991 but there were no awards between 1996 and 1998. Previous winners have been:

2003 Michael King
2002 Cliff Jones
2001 Peter Jackson
2000 Rob Waddell (Man of the Year). Lucy Lawless (Woman of the Year)
1999 Michael Joseph Savage (NZer of the Century)
1995 Peter Blake
1994 Aucklanders - for making sacrifices to get through the water crisis
1993 Jane Campion
1992 David Shearer and Anuschka Meyer
1991 Dame Malvina Major

Read more by Simon Collins Email Simon Collins


#3 User is offline   hukildaspida 

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 02:04 PM

Dr Peter Gluckman NZ

Dr Laurie Gluckman

There's also information about this father and son on of you use the top right hand search box.

The Trapski Report into and it's operations is all tied in with Gluckmans.


#4 User is offline   Marc 

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Posted 04 June 2015 - 05:14 PM

Professor Peter Gluckman may have done much good work for science and perhaps even gave some well meant advice to the NZ Goverment (the PM), but I have my doubt about him, because of some of his (in-)actions.

He did for instance invite Professor Mansel Aylward, a man with controversial reputation in the UK, and who should by now also be well known by some members and readers here, for some notoriety, especially for his involvement in conducting research at the once UNUM Provident "sponsored" 'Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research' in Cardiff.

It was Professor Gluckman, who invited the man, to also meet with Dr Bratt, MSD's and WINZ's controversial "Principal Health Advisor", known for likening "benefit dependence" to "drug dependence".

See attached PDF with an OIA response from MSD from 27 Feb. 2014, and read about this on page 2 (at the top):

Attached File  MSD, O.I.A. rqst, re Dr Bratt, presentations, contacts, anon., 16.01., reply by CE, 27.02.14.pdf (2.55MB)
Number of downloads: 4

So Professor Gluckman must have known about Dr Aylward, and not just about his work re the other research project that man was involved in here in New Zealand.

When an associate of mine wrote to Professor Gluckman some time back, raising concerns about Dr Aylward's "Research" and his poor reputation with disability organisations and advocates in the UK, there was NEVER a response provided. Also was a public or open letter published by an advocacy group in the NZMJ a year or so ago, challenging him and others on the welfare reforms affecting sick, injured and disabled. There was again NO response forthcoming from such a high level "expert" as Professor Gluckman. He has simply not involved himself, nor commented in any other way, on welfare reforms and the Aylward recommended "work capacity assessments", nor on on what has happened at ACC, and how disabled in NZ are being treated.

This man has taken NO action to criticise some of the welfare reforms that were pushed through in New Zealand in 2012/13, which have led to the NZ government to some degree following a similar approach to that followed in the UK, when determining "work capability", and hence we now get new measures, where even mentally ill are pressured to seek part time work, all as a result of a resetting of criteria for sickness, incapacity and disability. Now even doctors follow the approaches first propagated by Aylward (who was once also the Chief Medical Officer for the DWP in the UK), and declare many sick and disabled as "fit" for work, and send them back to WiNZ, who then put them on the lower Jobseeker benefit, and impose work test obligations. In a fair few cases people who are clearly not able to cope with work face pressures and expectations, and struggle to cope, this leading to a deterioration of their health.

How can such a man, who knows about all this, stand by and get "knighted" and receive another award from the Queen?

Here is some of the stuff that contains info where Aylward is mentioned, and which reveals for what he was - and is - responsible:

Here some info on what the situation is in the UK now, where Aylward was heavily involved in the development of controversial work tests:

Here is other stuff to be concerned about:


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