University of Otago

Professor Sally Brooker

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Brooker's Bunch

Recent PhD graduates

Paul Croucher
Robert Kelly

Geoffrey Dunbar
Paul Plieger
Tony Davidson
Ian Hewitt
Yanhua Lan
Rongqing Li

Recent postdocs

Paul Smith
Duncan de Geest
Craig Depree
Udo Beckmann
Graham Motson
Wolfgang Mohr
Carsten Brandt
Markus Weitzer


Vikas Aggarwal
Janna Ewing
Shaun Presow

Dr. Duncan J. de Geest, BSc(Hons), PhD

Current Job Title: Patent Executive
Employer: A J Park, Wellington, New Zealand
Previous Job Title: Postdoctoral Fellow (Marsden Fund), University of Otago

Dr Duncan de GeestI once read that the work of a patent attorney resides at the point where science, law and language intersect. I think this is perhaps the most succinct description of my current job that I have found. A broad scientific knowledge together with good communication skills are prerequisites for those intending to train as a patent attorney. The necessary legal knowledge is generally acquired in the course of employment and study for the registration examinations. That said, a law degree or a basic understanding of legal process is certainly helpful. Given the commercial importance of patents, an understanding of business imperatives is also valuable.

The day to day aspects of my work involve dealing with local and international clients in the course of preparing and prosecuting patent applications in New Zealand and overseas. No two applications or clients are identical and, as a result, each day is different. Most tasks are deadline driven so organisation and flexibility are essential. A sense of humour is also helpful!

I completed a B.Sc.(Hons) and Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Canterbury with Associate Professor Peter Steel. Seeking gainful employment, I joined Sally's group for a year in 1998, and returned for another year in 2000. My time at the University of Otago was both challenging and enjoyable. The Chemistry Department at Otago has a strong research focus supported by very capable academic and technical staff.

Working with Sally gave me the opportunity to be involved in organic synthesis and coordination chemistry and provided me with experience in the use of a wide variety of characterisation techniques. Dunedin is a great city in which to live and work, offering easy access to a wide variety of recreational pursuits from the sedentary to the extreme.

I enjoyed and feel I benefited from my time at Otago and would recommend the experience to anyone wanting to combine scientific challenge with a great lifestyle.

Contact: Dr. Duncan J. de Geest, A J Park

Professor Sally Brooker
Department of Chemistry, University of Otago, New Zealand
Last modified February 2006 by Stephen Read