Congratulations to first female Rutherford winner

Professor Christine Winterbourn from the University of Otago has been awarded the Rutherford medal, the first woman to receive the honour.

Professor Winterbourn was one of the first scientists to demonstrate that our cells produce free radicals as part of their normal function. She went on to characterise some of the chemical reactions of free radicals that we now know occur in diseases such as cancer, stroke, coronary heart disease and arthritis.

She is currently Director of the Free Radical Research Group in the Pathology Department at the University of Otago, Christchurch. Her current work encompasses mechanisms of antioxidant defence, understanding how white blood cells kill bacteria, and free radical involvement in cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

The Rutherford Medal is the highest award instituted by the Royal Society of New Zealand at the request of the Government to recognise exceptional contributions to the advancement and promotion of public awareness, knowledge and understanding in addition to eminent research or technological practice by a person or group in any field of science, mathematics, social science, or technology.

Professor Winterbourn is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. She has received numerous awards including the NZ Association of Scientists’ Marsden Medal, the Massey University 75th Anniversary Medal, the Society for Free Radical Research (Australasia) Distinguished Service Award, the University of Otago Distinguished Research Medal, and the Society for Free Radical Research (International) Trevor Slater Award for lifetime achievement.

AWIS wishes to congratulate Professor Winterbourn on this achievement.