Jack grew up in Christchurch, New Zealand. Jack had an interest in science and public speaking from a very young age. He completed high school and moved to Dunedin, New Zealand, where he completed a Bsc in anatomy with a neuroscience focus at the University of Otago (the southernmost university in the world!). During Jack’s degree he took several botany papers and fell in love with the subject, so continued his studies at Otago with a post graduate diploma in botany. At the end of that year he was looking for a Ph.D. topic and he found an interesting combination of botany and neuroscience with a study of the effects of synthetic cannabinoids on inflammation in the ischemic brain. Under the supervision of Dr. John Ashton, he enjoyed the roller-coaster of Ph.D. life and learnt the valuable lesson of applying a skeptical eye even to the most reputable sources. John really shaped him into the scientist he is today. John taught Jack the importance of just thinking (you’d be surprised how much this is overlooked in the average lab). Dr. Jack Auty is now doing post-doctoral research on Alzheimer’s disease and inflammation at the University of Manchester under the inspirational supervision of Dr. David Brough and Dr. Catherine Lawrence.
James Zuccollo is a senior economist for UK consultancy Reform. He leads Reform’s economic research and has co-authored reports on monetary policy, fiscal institutions, and education funding among others. He has appeared on the BBC Today programme and written widely in the online and print media, including City AM, Prospect, The New Statesman, Public Finance, and The Guardian. Prior to Reform he was an economist at the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) where he published work on economic impact assessment, regulatory reform, and the value of tertiary education. James is on Twitter @jzuccollo
Dr Jamie Steer is interested in exploring and challenging current attitudes to biodiversity and conservation in New Zealand. He is particularly keen on spotlighting the assumptions behind our understandings of acceptable and unacceptable wildlife, and considering how these might come to change.
Jean Balchin is an English Literature Honours student at the University of Otago, Dunedin. When she’s not busy painting, playing the piano or writing essays on Robert Burns, you can find her curled up with a recently published book on science. Alternatively, she’ll be bugging her flatmates about their recent findings.
John Kerr is a PhD student researching public attitudes towards science in the School of Psychology at Victoria University Wellington. He was a Media Advisor at the Science Media Centre for five years and has several years experience in both laboratory research and academic publishing.
Dr John Pickering is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Otago, Christchurch and a Senior Research Fellow in Acute Care in the Emergency Department of Christchurch hospital. John aims to blog on science, health, and occasionally political issues. He believes publicly funded science should be made public – so publishes regular “cheesecake files” about his own research. John is on Twitter @kiwiskinz
Julie Iles is a post graduate science journalist currently studying at Massey University in Wellington. She has a background in geophysics, and enjoys feeling small and young when she compares herself to geological formations.
Dr Ken Perrott trained as a chemist and his research background is in surface chemistry, soil science and fertiliser chemistry. After working in the DSIR (Chemistry Division and Soil Bureau), MAF, MAFTech and AgResearch he is now retired. Ken enjoys discussion of the wider social and philosophical issue surrounding science. Unfortunately these issues are often misrepresented in our society and he believe scientists have a responsibility to counter unscientific thinking and movements. This is one of the reasons Ken got into blogging, starting up Open Parachute in the middle of 2007.