Professor Jim Mann (CNZM) is an expert in human nutrition, diabetes and obesity. He has been Professor in Human Nutrition and Medicine at the University of Otago and Consultant Physician (Endocrinology) in Dunedin Hospital for 25 years. He is Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Human Nutrition, Director of the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge, Co-Director of the Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Centre, and Principal Investigator for the Riddet Institute, a national Centre of Research Excellence.
Professor Mann has been involved in guideline development for numerous international and national organisations concerned with nutrition, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, several of which he has chaired or continues to chair. He has authored over 300 peer reviewed journal articles and written and edited several textbooks and popular books, including the Essentials of Human Nutrition. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand.
Through his work with the WHO, Professor Mann has been visiting China since the 1970s for scientific meetings.
Professor Jim Mann in China in 1982 (front row, 4th from left)
Professor Wayne Cutfield is Professor of Paediatric Endocrinology at the University of Auckland’s Liggins Institute, and an expert on insulin sensitivity and action in children. He leads clinical research which shows how environmental influences early in life can affect childhood growth and development in ways that could lead to chronic conditions in adult life.
Professor Cutfield is Director of A Better Start National Science Challenge and Science Leader of its Childhood Obesity research theme. He is a former Director of the Liggins Institute (2009 to 2015) and also of Endocrinology at Auckland’s Starship Children’s Hospital, where he was responsible for innovations in the care of children with hormone based conditions such as diabetes and growth disorders. He has been involved in the training of junior doctors in Paediatrics and Paediatric Endocrinology through the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Endocrinology Specialist Advisory Committee. He was Chairman of the New Zealand Growth Hormone Committee from 2000 to 2009, and established the Maurice and Agnes Paykel Clinical Research Unit at the Liggins Institute.
Dr Hu Zhang was originally trained as a medical doctor at the Bengbu Medical College in China and worked for 8 years (from 1984 to 1992) as a physician in the Anhui Chest Hospital in Hefei. After moving to New Zealand in 1992, he completed a PhD in biopharmaceutical sciences at the University of Otago in 1999. In addition to his current role as Research Collaboration Manager for the NZ-China NCD Research Collaboration Centre, he is also a Senior Research Fellow in the University of Otago’s School of Pharmacy, supported by a 5-year Health Research Council Programme grant.
Dr Zhang’s research interests lie in preclinical studies of bioactives, especially anti-ageing and central nervous system agents, in various animal models and the extrapolation of these results to humans, uptake of drugs into the brain, and the transport and metabolism of xenobiotics.
Outside work, Dr Zhang is active in the community, regularly providing advice and support to visiting Chinese students, scholars and visitors in the Otago region. He is currently President of the Dunedin Chinese Scholar and Student Association and a Board Member of Dunedin–Shanghai Association.
Fia Jephson Sandstrom joined the NZ-China NCD Research Collaboration Centre as an administrator in June 2017. Prior to this, Fia worked as an administrator for the educational centre at the Orebro Regional Hospital in Sweden, where she is originally from. She has also previously worked as a Coordinator at the research and development department of Atlas Copco, and as a Project Coordinator for Wellington based new media company CWA.