Shanthi Ameratunga is an Honorary Professor of Epidemiology at the School of Population Health. A paediatrician and public health physician by background, Shanthi leads a multi-disciplinary research program focusing on trauma outcomes, injury prevention and disability, with a particular interest in issues relating to young people. She is the principal investigator of the YourCall trial, a randomised control trial investigating the effectiveness of a text-based intervention to reduce problem drinking among people admitted to trauma centres. Other projects she has directed include the Traffic Related Injury in the Pacific (TRIP) project, a collaboration with the Fiji School of Medicine funded by The Wellcome Trust and the Health Research Council of New Zealand, and several projects examining causes and outcomes of injuries.
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 6354
Jo Barnes is Professor in Herbal Medicines at the School of Pharmacy. She previously held teaching and research positions at the Centre for Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy, University of London, UK, and the Department of Complementary Medicine, University of Exeter, UK. Jo’s research interests broadly include the utilisation, quality, efficacy and safety of herbal and traditional medicines and other natural health products (complementary /alternative medicines). Jo has specific interests in safety issues with and pharmacovigilance (safety monitoring) for herbal medicines, in developing methods to monitor the safety of natural health products, and in consumer and health practitioner views and behaviour for natural health products. Jo also has an interest in natural health products used in smoking cessation, and in natural health products in substance misuse. Jo is a member of the external clinical experts group for the Uppsala Monitoring Centre. She is an Associate Editor of Phytochemistry Letters, and a member of the editorial boards of Drug Safety, International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, and Phytotherapy Research. Jo was elected a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London in 2003 and of the International Society of Pharmacovigilance in 2020
Deputy Head of School
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 3069
Professor Chris Bullen is a public health medicine specialist and Academic Director of the National Institute for Health Innovation (NIHI) at the University of Auckland’s School of Population Health. His research interests focus primarily on tobacco control and innovative smoking cessation interventions. He is a senior author on the latest NZ Smoking Cessation Guidelines and a co-author on Cochrane reviews of nicotine replacement therapy, e-cigarettes and mobile phones for smoking cessation. Chris led the first international trial investigating the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as an aid to smoking cessation. His current research focuses on innovative ways to scale up tobacco cessation interventions in low and middle-income countries, measuring responses among people who smoke to the policies in New Zealand’s new Tobacco Action Plan and estimating the scale of the illicit trade in tobacco. He is President of the Society for Research on Nicotine & Tobacco.
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 4730
Dr Amy Chan is a senior clinical academic at the School of Pharmacy, University of Auckland, and works also in primary care. Amy has specific research expertise in behavioural medicine – understanding factors that influence medicines-related behaviours – and in using big data to explore relationships between different risk factors and health outcomes. Amy has nearly 15 years’ experience in the public health service, where she led the clinical pharmacy service. Amy currently has several projects exploring the use of medicines and how this relates to health outcomes such as hospitalisation and mortality. Amy is currently the global lead for workforce transformation with the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), and the Commonwealth Pharmacists’ Association (CPA) Research Lead. Amy also sits on the steering committee for ESPACOMP – the international organisation on adherence research and is a member of the global Neurological and Mental Health Global Epidemiology Network (NEUROGEN).
Senior Research Fellow
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 4730
Dr Grant Christie, an Honorary Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Auckland, is a Child and Adolescent and Addiction Psychiatrist who has been working in outpatient and residential youth addiction services in NZ and Australia for over 15 years. He is passionate about improving the treatment of young people at risk of addiction and enhancing the management of co-existing problems (CEP) in mental health services and primary care. He has developed a number of youth addiction treatment resources that are used widely in NZ and further afield, and has acted in various advisory roles for the MOH in this area. Principal investigator in the design and testing of the Substances and Choices Scale (SACS), a youth AOD screening and outcome measurement instrument (available on www.sacsinfo.com), Grant has developed brief intervention training packages for primary and secondary health services and is expanding this work to look at youth addiction treatment via internet and app based modalities.
Honorary Senior Lecturer
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 9640
Joanna is a Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute for Health Innovation (NIHI), Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences and Centre for Arts and Social Transformation (CAST), Faculty of Education and Social Work. Joanna’s current work aims to address health inequities in Aotearoa New Zealand, and is guided by holistic principles and the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Her research interest is in fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Other interests are child and adolescent well-being and neurodiversity. She has a strong background in developmental psychology, digital health, family intervention, and community-based participation.
Senior Research Fellow
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 6390
A critical sociologist of mental health at the University of Auckland, Dr Cohen is the author of the critically acclaimed books, Psychiatric Hegemony: A Marxist Theory of Mental Illness (Palgrave, 2016) and Mental Health User Narratives: New Perspectives on Illness and Recovery (Palgrave, 2008), as well as the editor of the Routledge International Handbook of Critical Mental Health (Routledge, 2018). His work is centrally concerned with analysing the purposes of psychiatric discourse and psy-professional power. Recently becoming Editor of the Palgrave book series, The Politics of Mental Health and Illness, Dr Cohen is currently researching the proliferation of ‘mental health’ discourse in everyday life for his next volume, Selling Mental Health.
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 9497
Louise Curley is a pharmacist and Senior Lecturer in Pharmacy practice at the School of Pharmacy. Louise’s area of research focuses on the effects of recreational drug use in humans. She began her research as an undergraduate by investigating the subjective and electrophysiological effects of the Party Pill drugs BZP using electroencephalography (EEG) and graduated with a PhD in pharmacy in 2012. Her thesis investigated the effects of the main constituents of “Party Pills” benzylpiperazine (BZP) and trifluromethylphenylpiperazine (TFMPP) on executive functioning and reward using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Currently, her focus is developing new fMRI paradigms to investigate different aspects of risk, specifically by comparing populations of dependent versus non-dependent participants.
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 2255
Dr Dan Exeter is an Associate Professor in Epidemiology at the University of Auckland. He is a quantitative health geographer and has a background in Geographical Information Systems and spatial analysis. Using large datasets such as the census or routine health databases, his research aims to identify, and provide solutions to inequalities in health. He is currently leading research to deliver a new measure of neighbourhood disadvantage in NZ, and was recently awarded Marsden funding to conceptualise socioeconomic position among the elderly population. He is a co-investigator on the HRC-VIEW programme of vascular risk research, where he leads the mapping component.
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 4400
Felicity Goodyear-Smith is both an academic and practising general practitioner with a particular interest in the detection and management of risky lifestyle behaviours, including use of nicotine, alcohol, recreational drugs and gambling, and mental health issues in primary health care. Professor Goodyear-Smith holds the Goodfellow Postgraduate Chair.
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 2357
Sarah is a Professional Teaching Fellow, in the School of Nursing. Her professional interest lies in improving the care for tangata whaiora with co-existing problems within our mental health and addiction services.
Professional teaching fellow
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 5224
Gayl Humphrey is a Research Fellow and Co-Lead for the Health Informatics and Technology Programme, at the National Institute for Health Innovation at the University of Auckland. Her research is focused on identifying, designing and trialling opportunities for using mHealth innovations as enablers to enhance health outcomes in the context of people experiencing harms from addictions and from other non-communicable diseases. She has undertaken research on digitalising an alcohol brief intervention in primary care and has explored the role of mobile phone geolocation capability to support relapse prevention amongst people experiencing gambling harms by avoiding risky locations. With colleagues, she recently completed a large RCT to test the efficacy of a mobile CBT programme for problem gamblers.
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 9129
Soo Hee Jeong is a Research Fellow at the University of Auckland. Her PhD research explored the pharmacokinetics and concentration-effect relationships of cytisine, a medication used to aid smoking cessation. During her post-doc, she has been part of a research team that investigated the influence of dose and dosing frequency on the pharmacokinetics of cytisine. These studies aimed to contribute to the development of an evidence-based dosing schedule of the drug.
Kate Kersey is a Research Fellow with Professor Antonia Lyons and is enrolled at Victoria University of Wellington as a PhD student intending to submit shortly. Her research explores the meanings and experiences of alcohol consumption by midlife women in the contexts of their daily lives and broader social, economic, and cultural environments, in order to inform appropriate cohort specific policy responses. Kate has a BCom/LLb(Hons) from the University of Auckland and an MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health. Kate has practiced law with a specialty in health law and regulation, and worked in health policy and strategy roles, in NZ and Australia. Most recently, she was a lecturer at AUT University teaching Health Law and Policy and Public Health Policy and Systems before leaving to concentrate on her PhD.
Bridget Kool is an injury epidemiologist and has previously focused on the role that alcohol and other substances play in injuries. Although not currently research active in this space, her previous research assessed the effectiveness of mobile phone based interventions to address binge drinking behaviours, a study examining risk factors (including alcohol and recreational drug use) for unintentional injuries at home and a study of unintentional falls at home (working-age population) – exploring the role of alcohol.
Professor and Pro Vice-Chancellor Education
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 3871
Joanne is a pharmacist and Senior Lecturer n the School of Pharmacy. Joanne’s research focuses on the effects of recreational and prescription drug use in humans. Her doctoral research investigated the effects of methamphetamine addiction on the human brain, with a focus on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and pharmacotherapies for addiction. During her postdoc, Joanne conducted structural and functional MRI studies to investigate the effects of short-term opioid administration and withdrawal on the brain. Currently, she is involved in research to understand brain changes in recently abstinent methamphetamine users.
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 2255
Judith McCool is Associate Professor, Head of School of Population Health and co-Director for Centre for Pacific and Global Health. Judith’s research interests include, global health, tobacco control, social media, and social determinants of health. She has been a lead investigator on international tobacco control research projects, and is currently co-PI on a survey mental health in Samoa, tobacco industry interference in the Pacific region; primary supervisor for PhD projects including e-cigarette marketing in NZ, digital health and Pacific wellbeing.
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 2372
Dr Claire Meehan is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Auckland. She works with young people across Aotearoa to gain insights into their digital sexual lives and relationships. She is particularly interested in their encounters and engagements with porn and how they navigate issues such as pleasure, consent, and perceptions of addiction.
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 9636
Dr Alice Mills is an Associate Professor in Criminology at the University of Auckland. She holds a PhD in Criminology from the University of Cardiff in Wales, and has over 20 years’ experience of research in prisons and criminal justice with a focus on mental health, addictions and housing. Her UK research experience includes evaluations of prison mental health in-reach teams, compliance and adherence with anti-psychotic medication in prison and the relationship between community organisations and the state in criminal justice.
Since arriving Aotearoa, she has conducted research into specialist courts, including Te Kooti o Timatanga Hou (the Court of New Beginnings), Te Kōti o Rangatahi (Rangatahi courts) and family violence courts. Alice is particularly interested in the interface between mental health/addictions, housing and criminal justice and is currently leading a study examining the links between stable housing and re-offending amongst those who have left prison, funded by the Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund.
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 4505
Suresh Muthukumarswamy is an Associate Professor in the School of Pharmacy and is funded in by a Royal Society of New Zealand Rutherford Discovery Fellowship. Suresh’s research interests are in using brain imaging techniques (MEG/MRI/EEG) to measure the effects of drugs on the brain and behaviour. He has conducted brain imaging investigations of a number of recreational drugs including ketamine, psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and LSD.
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 5398
Dr Tehseen Noorani
I whakapapa to Gujarat though was myself raised in south-east England. I am an interdisciplinary social scientist, currently affiliated with the School of Pharmacy at the University of Auckland. I am a part-time scholar-in-residence at Tactogen Public Benefit Corporation and co-founder of Lentil Lab.
My research focuses on the co-evolving epistemics, therapeutics & economics of two sets of extreme experiences: naturally occurring states of madness/psychosis, and states produced through psychedelic drug use. My PhD (awarded 2012, Bristol University, UK) documented and theorised the expertise-by-experience generated in self-help and peer support groups, particularly in the Hearing Voices Movement. In 2013, I led the first in-depth qualitative study into the use of the psychedelic psilocybin in a clinical trial at Johns Hopkins University to help in cigarette smoking cessation.
Since then, I have been tracing the renewed scientific and therapeutic interest in psychedelic experiences, exploring implications for theories of psychopathology and approaches to mental healthcare. This research is situated in the context of medicalisation in the global North and the ongoing ‘war on drugs’. I also focus on methodological issues that arise in the study of psychedelics, partly through convening the interdisciplinary working group, Reimagining Psychedelic Trials.
Honorary Senior Lecturer
Phone: +64 (0) 9 373 7599
Associate Professor Vili Nosa is currently the Head of the Pacific Health Section, School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. University of Auckland. He specialises in Pacific health research with a focus on the hazardous use of alcohol, drugs, tobacco and other substances among Pacific people. He has worked extensively in New Zealand and in the Pacific region with his research role in specialising in Pacific alcohol and drugs research.
Phone: +64 (0) 9 373 7599
Rhys Ponton is a registered pharmacist and has an extensive history in the treatment of drug misuse. His PhD research involved the characterisation of the processes that drug users in the UK use to prepare heroin and crack cocaine injections. He sat as the pharmacist representative on the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs in the UK chaired by Prof David Nutt. His research interests include the methods used to consume drugs and the risks they pose, prescription and over-the-counter drug misuse, and worldwide drug policy.
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 7084
Sanya Ram is a pharmacist and a lawyer with a keen interest in the regulation of medicines and therapeutic products, as well as the examination of how medicines are used or misused. A Senior Tutor in Pharmacy Law & Ethics at the School of Pharmacy, Sanya is also co-author of the Pharmacy Law Guidebook (2012), an essential reference for the study of the legislation that underpins the practice of pharmacy in New Zealand.
Phone: +64 9 923 2619
Dr Rodrigo (Rama) Ramalho is the Academic Director of the Postgraduate Certificate in Health Sciences in Alcohol and Drug Studies and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social and Community Health, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. He holds a PhD in Population Health from the University of Auckland, and he also qualified as a medical doctor and a psychiatrist after gaining degrees at the Universidad Nacional de Asunción in Paraguay. Rama is a psychiatrist and population health scientist with a transdisciplinary and collaborative approach. His main research interests include global mental health, addiction, e-mental health, and cultural safety in mental health and addictions. He is also interested in academic inequities, which particularly affect the Global South.
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 1443
Dr Lisa Reynolds is a Health Psychologist and Director of the University of Auckland’s Health Psychology Practitioner Programme. She has worked clinically as a health psychologist for over 15 years providing support to cancer patients and their families/whānau. Her academic research focusses on interventions that support cancer patients in managing treatment, prognosis and end-of-life distress. Her current research portfolio involves multi-disciplinary studies investigating the potential for psychedelic-assisted therapies to provide benefit for people with existential distress, depression and anxiety in the context of advanced disease.
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 4938
Dr Ryan San Diego
Ryan San Diego, PhD (Health Psychology, the University of Auckland) is both a practising clinician and a lecturer at the Social and Community Health Unit, School of Population Health/ coordinator of the alcohol & the drugs curriculum at the undergraduate medical programme. Ryan’s PhD involved analyses of developmental risk factors (prenatal, social, and parent smoking and alcohol consumption) in young children’s neurodevelopment, in particular, associations with early executive function and socio-emotional development. Currently, as a behavioural science researcher, he is working and developing research themes in AOD-related areas such as a) Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) skills development in the undergraduate medical programme, b) culture-based/ diversity adaptations in AOD-specific psycho-social interventions, c) illness-recovery in addiction and mental health, and d) mood problems, smoking and drinking patterns in early-onset dementia in aged care settings. Ryan employs a range of methodologies (multivariate analyses, qualitative analyses, and neuropsychological methods) to investigate issues pertinent to addiction and mental health.
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 8510
Peter is Director of the Gay Men’s Sexual Health research group in the School of Population Health and the current New Zealand AIDS Foundation Fellow. He leads an ongoing sexual behaviour research programme and epidemiological studies of HIV and STI infection, in collaboration with the University of Otago and NZAF. This programme investigates recreational drug use among gay and bisexual men with a view to monitoring change over time in this population and exploring disparities. His interests include the relationship between drug and alcohol use and sexual health, sexual orientation data collection methods, and gay men’s health.
Phone: +64 (0) 9 9231434
Janie Sheridan chaired the Addiction Research Network at the University of Auckland from 2004 and is the past Director and current Associate Director of the Centre for Addiction Research. She has been involved in research into substance misuse for over 21 years and is internationally recognised for her research into the role of community pharmacy in the provision of services to substance misusers. Her research has a particular focus on harm reduction and the role of primary care with respect to alcohol and drug use, and the development and evaluation of primary care interventions. Recent research includes: ‘legal party pills’ in New Zealand; treatment for methamphetamine addiction; and prescription drug misuse. She has also been involved in the development of a screening and outcomes tool for young people in relation to substance use.
Fiona Sing is a Research Fellow and completed her PhD in 2022 studying how regulatory mechanisms can restrict the exposure of children to unhealthy food and beverage marketing under the supervision of Prof. Boyd Swinburn and Dr Sally Mackay. She has a Bachelor of Laws with Honours and a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and a MSc in Global Health from the London School of Economics. She previously worked as a public law lawyer and at World Cancer Research Fund International as the Policy and Public Affairs Manager. Her current research focus working with Prof. Lyons, and her consulting work for UNICEF, the World Health Organization, Deakin University and others, focuses on aiding governments to design legislation to restrict harmful commodity marketing, particularly digital marketing.
Dr Suzanne Stevens is a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychological Medicine. Her research focuses on maternal mental health, substance use and the home environment, to better understand how risk and protective factors operate and interact to affect children’s social, behavioural, cognitive and neurodevelopment. She recently completed a pilot study investigating maternal lifestyle factors in pregnancy, focusing on prenatal alcohol exposure, early infant development and bio-behavioural markers of risk. Suzanne also works closely with Professor Trecia Wouldes on the longitudinal NZ Infant Development, Environment and Lifestyle (IDEAL) Study examining the effects of prenatal methamphetamine use on mothers and the development of their children.
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 4511
Frederick Sundram is an Associate Professor at the Department of Psychological Medicine at the University of Auckland and a Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist at North Shore Hospital. He was a research fellow at the Department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Science at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland where he completed his PhD in Neuroimaging. He has also completed a Masters in Healthcare Management from the Institute of Public Administration, Dublin and also, a Masters in Healthcare Informatics. His research interests include neuroimaging, suicide, epilepsy, psychosis, medically unexplained physical symptoms, addiction, medical education and healthcare informatics.
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 7521
Kris Taylor is a Research Fellow in the Department of Psychology at the University of Auckland – a researcher who thrives in inter-disciplinary and theoretically informed spaces, Kris’s PhD research focused on ideas of pornographic harm, and the ways in which conceptualising pornography viewing as addictive works across different spheres of knowledge (social, cultural, historical, and personal). Specifically, his work on the deployment of an addiction self-diagnosis asks questions about the medicalisation of problematic behaviours, the circulation of therapeutic knowledge between expert and lay fields (especially online), as well as knowledge production and application more broadly. Kris is currently working on developing innovative gendered violence prevention tools and working with young men in Aotearoa around issues of harm, ethics, and social justice
Katey is an interdisciplinary social science researcher exploring the spaces where law, mental health and addiction interface. Katey co-directed the Centre for Mental Health and senior research fellow at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, until she joined AUT’s School of Law as a Senior Lecturer in 2018. Katey has lead a Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden funded project on the therapeutic nature of New Zealand’s specialist courts, which included a case study on the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Courts. She is currently leading a Borrin Foundation funded project to re-envisage the criminal justice system to better respond to people with intersecting mental health, addictions and criminal justice histories. She was awarded a second marsden to extend her research focus to working with service users and the police to improve police responses to citizens in mental distress in the community. In 2022, alongside a big research team she was award a Health Research Council grant to explore supported decision making in mental health services.
Honorary Associate Professor
Phone: +64 (0) 9 921 9999 ext 7744
Malcolm Tingle is a Professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Clinical Pharmacology in the School of Medical and Health Sciences. His research has focussed on the role of metabolism in toxicology and the development of in vitro and in vivo models to assess toxicity. In the field of addiction research, he has examined the pharmacokinetics of ‘party-pill’ constituents BZP & TFMPP and their potential for drug-drug intreactions. He is jointly supervising a PhD student’s research investigating the pharmacokinetics of cytisine, a natural smoking cessation product and attempting to relate pharmacokinetics to the pharmacodynamic effects of this drug.
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 4949
Carina Walters is a Professional Teaching Fellow on the Addiction Programme. She has previously held a role as a senior addictions pharmacist at Community Alcohol and Drug Services in Auckland, and is a part time professional teaching fellow with the School of Population Health, teaching a postgraduate addiction papers. She has an interest in research in all areas of addiction, and has been an investigator in studies ranging from the treatment of amphetamine dependence to the potential role of community pharmacists in extending health services offered in conjunction with opioid substitution treatment. Carina is also a member of the NZ Ministerial Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs.
Professional Teaching Fellow
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 9129
Robyn Whittaker is a public health physician and an Honorary Associate Professor in the National Institute for Health Innovation, School of Population Health. Her research interests are in using mobile technologies to deliver health interventions directly to people. This has included text message smoking cessation programmes in NZ, Samoa, Cook Islands and other countries with the WHO ‘Be Healthy Be Mobile’ global NCD initiative. Her programmes have focused on behaviour change techniques that can be delivered using technology, for topics such as depression prevention, weight management, diabetes self-management, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation. She is also the clinical director of innovation at the Institute for Innovation and Improvement at Waitemata District Health Board. There she is responsible for the Leapfrog programme of strategic projects that have been progressively digitising the hospital workflows.
Honorary Associate Professor
Trecia Wouldes is a developmental psychologist and Professor in the Department of Psychological Medicine. Her main research and teaching interests are the development of infants at risk from prenatal drug exposure, and infant mental health. She completed the first systematic study in New Zealand on the effect of maternal methadone maintenance treatment on the physiological and psychological development of the fetus, the neonate and the infant. Trecia is a co-investigator on a longitudinal study at the University of Canterbury investigating the neurological outcomes of infants born to mothers who were receiving methadone maintenance treatment for opiate dependence during their pregnancy. She is also the Director of the Auckland site of the Infant, Development Environment And Lifestyle (IDEAL) Study investigating the development of children born to mothers who used methamphetamine (P, Pure, Ecstasy, BZP) during pregnancy, led by Drs LaGasse and Lester at the Brown Center for the Study of Children at Risk, Rhode Island. She is currently involved in developing new research that will investigate early biological and behavioural markers of prenatal alcohol exposure.
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 6221