Executive Team

Shaun Hendy

Shaun Hendy

Director, Te Pūnaha Matatini

Shaun Hendy is Director of Te Pūnaha Matatini and Professor of Physics at the University of Auckland. His interest in the science of complexity stems from a conversation at a lunchtime journal club at Industrial Research Ltd about Geoffrey West’s work on the increase in the number of patents per capita with city size in the US. Hendy then downloaded an international patent database and found that the difference in patents per capita between Australia and New Zealand could be explained by the difference in population distributions. More about Shaun here.

Alex James

Alex James

Deputy Director, Industry & Stakeholder Engagement

With a PhD in combustion engineering, Associate Professor Alex James made the transition from catalytic converters to the rest of the world, where she uses mathematical modelling to solve problems. At heart she’s a mathematical modeller and works on problems from social science to climate change, but her main hobby is ecology. Although Alex says she is no ecologist – “friends had to teach me the difference between beetles and bugs” – she is excited by the contribution mathematics can make to the analysis and study of interactions among organisms and their environment. More about Alex here.

Stephen Marsland

Stephen Marsland

Theme Leader, Complexity, Risk, and Uncertainty

Stephen is Professor of Mathematics at Victoria University of Wellington. He was previously Professor of Scientific Computing at Massey University and has PhD from Manchester University and a degree from Oxford University. His research interests are in the applications of mathematics, especially differential geometry, to a wide variety of problems such as birdsong recognition, shape and medical image analysis, machine learning, and smart homes for the elderly. He also works in complexity science, including complex networks and agent-based models. More about Stephen here.

Michele Governale

Michele Governale

Theme Co-Leader, Complex Economic and Social Systems

Michele Governale is an Associate Professor of Physics at Victoria University of Wellington. Prior to his arrival at Vic in 2009, Michele is a condensed matter theorist, with a particular interest in the theory of quantum transport in nanostructures. Studying the basic electronic properties of nanostructured systems has potential applications in the design of electronic devices of exceptionally minute dimensions (in the nanometres!) More about Michele here.

Uli Zuelicke

Uli Zuelicke

Theme Co-Leader, Complex Economic and Social Systems

Uli Zuelicke is a Professor of Physics at Victoria University of Wellington and a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Physics. With a background in theoretical condensed-matter physics, Uli’s research interests include mesoscopic and low-dimensional systems, spins in semiconductors, and complex materials such as graphene. He enjoys solving theoretical problems and collaborating with colleagues on experiments of mutual interest. More about Uli here.

Cate Macinnis-Ng

Cate Macinnis-Ng

Theme Co-Leader, Complexity and the Biosphere

Cate is a Senior Lecturer in Ecology at the University of Auckland’s School of Biological Sciences and the President of the New Zealand Ecological Society. As an enthusiastic ‘tree ecophysiologist’, Cate’s current research focuses on plant responses to climatic conditions – in particular, the impact of drought on New Zealand’s native forests. Before moving to Auckland in 2010, Cate was based in Sydney, Australia, where she completed her undergraduate degree and PhD, and undertook postdoctoral research. Since then, she has received a host of awards – a Marsden Fast-Start grant in 2012 and a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship in 2015. More about Cate here.

Mike Plank

Mike Plank

Theme Co-Leader, Complexity and the Biosphere

Mike’s research is in mathematical modelling, particularly in ecology and physiology. The motivation for this research comes from real-world problems and the emphasis is on qualitative mathematical models that capture the essential behaviour of a particular phenomenon. Mike has research interests in a variety of applications – ecology and exploitation of fish communities, collective cell behaviour, complex ecological networks, invasive species, epidemiology, animal movement, and neurovascular coupling. More about Mike here.

Kate Hannah

Kate Hannah

Executive Manager, Te Pūnaha Matatini

Kate Hannah has a Masters of Arts in American 19th Century Cultural History, and has worked as a writer, editor, historical consultant, and in research analysis and development. She is interested in science communication, public understanding of science, and science’s understanding of the public. At Te Pūnaha Matatini, she’ll be encouraging good grammar, the use of the Oxford comma, and consideration of the humanity behind the data. More about Kate here.

Kathryn Morgan

Kathryn Morgan

Research Operations Coordinator, Te Pūnaha Matatini

Kathryn coordinates Te Pūnaha Matatini’s day to day research operations and communications requirements, and provides critical support to the executive management team. After graduating with a Masters of Sciences in Physical Geography from the University of Auckland, Kathryn worked initially as a researcher at several organisations, and also spent 12 years in a variety of roles at the Auckland Museum. Later, she trained in secondary education and for a number of years was a high school teacher – highly translatable experience for when dealing with academics! More about Kathryn here.

Greg Town

Greg Town

Communications and Marketing Advisor, Te Pūnaha Matatini

Greg is supporting Te Pūnaha Matatini’s communications requirements as part of his role with the University of Auckland’s Science Faculty marketing team. Since graduating with a Science degree in Physiology from the University of Auckland, Greg has worked as a magazine and news editor, medical writer, health journalist, and technology blogger for a variety of publishing firms and marketing agencies based in New Zealand, Singapore and the UK. More about Greg here.

Reno Nims

Reno Nims

Chair, Te Pūnaha Matatini Whānau

Reno is a PhD student in the University of Auckland Anthropology Department where he uses zooarchaeological methods to explore Māori interactions with the environment in the past. He began studying anthropology at the University of California and completed his M.S. in Anthropology at Portland State University in 2016. Reno’s doctoral research will also contribute to a multidisciplinary collaboration between archaeologists and computational mathematicians at Te Pūnaha Matatini who seek to understand the long-term resilience of Aotearoa New Zealand fisheries. More about Reno here.