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

Markus WeitzerDr. Markus Weitzer, PhD (2003)

Current job: Bachem AG, Bubendorf, Switzerland [manufacturer of biochemicals and pharmaceutically active substances, especially peptides]
Previous job: Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Otago, Dunedin (Oct. 2003 - Sep. 2004)
PhD: with Prof. Siegfried Schindler at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany (2000 - 2003)

When we left Germany in September 2003 with our 1.5-year-old twins to live in Dunedin for one year we didn’t really know what to expect. We arrived when it was supposed to be spring but were shocked by freezing temperatures and a brief snowstorm. After three weeks we adjusted and found, with Sally’s help, a nice house with a great view over St Clair Beach and the Pacific Ocean and with a decent heatpump (which was of great value).

Dunedin itself could be described as a beauty. Its historical heritage, the large and beautiful Botanic Gardens, a few very interesting museums and not to forget the natural attractions close to the city give Dunedin a living quality that is above average. Just a stone’s throw from Dunedin is one of the main attractions of the region: Otago Peninsula, which hosts the only albatross colony on a mainland, a variety of penguins, fur seals and sea lions. Enjoying a day at the beach with a few of these beasty companions around always made us feel like being in the zoo only the boundaries were missing. We can also highly recommend a trip to the native forests of the Catlins, a holiday in the Mount Cook area and Wanaka etc. If you’re keen on outdoor activities and you love a wild, rough and extremely changeable landscape then the South of New Zealand is the place to go to.

The work in Sally’s group was very interesting and challenging as well. I hadn’t worked with macrocyclic complexes before so I really enjoyed the “open door policy” to Sally’s office. The supportive working atmosphere in the group and the whole institute made the time there extremely effective. New to me was the institute’s tearoom where Heather prepares fresh scones and sandwiches. A very pleasant way to start your day was a chat over a nice cup of tea and a tasty scone with your colleagues.

For us New Zealand is a unique country, which combines pristine nature with a great opportunity for any outdoor activity and always a warm welcome for families with kids. We really enjoyed our year in Dunedin - and there are still so many things left to do there that we have a great reason to return one day! Thanks a lot to all who made it so easy to settle in and many thanks to Sally for her helpfulness, her support and her friendship.

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