First academic appointment in Neurosurgery for Auckland

Published: Wed 16 Sep 2015 12:31 PM
First academic appointment in Neurosurgery for Auckland
Media Release - University of Auckland - 16 September 2015
Auckland’s first academic appointment in neurosurgery is the Freemasons Senior Lecturer of Neurosurgery, Dr Patrick Schweder.
Dr Schweder is a graduate of the University of Auckland and began his training in neurosurgery at Auckland City Hospital. His appointment is a joint one between the University and the Auckland District Health Board.
Dr Schweder pursued advanced training in neurosurgery and research at the Universities of Melbourne, Cambridge and Oxford, and, most recently at St Vincent’s and the Royal Alfred Hospitals in Sydney.
Director for the University’s Centre for Brain Research, Distinguished Professor Richard Faull, says: “Patrick has a very impressive list of international referred research publications and has been awarded numerous international research awards from North America and Europe.
“He has extensive neurosurgical experience from around the world, which covers a broad range of vascular, functional and tumour neurosurgery and above all, he is passionate, enthusiastic and dedicated to making a difference.
“Since taking up his appointment eight weeks ago, he has already engendered a mind-set change in our CBR neuroscience-neurosurgical relationships.”
In September 2013, the University of Auckland in partnership with the Neurological Foundation launched a campaign for an Academic Appointment in Neurosurgery.
“The objective was to appoint a top class neurosurgeon with expertise in research,” says Professor Faull. “Someone who could provide a bridge and promote novel and imaginative research collaborations, between brain researchers in the Centre for Brain Research at the University of Auckland, along with neurosurgeons in Auckland and Starship Hospitals.”
“I want to thank all the donors who have enthusiastically supported our vision and enabled the shared dream to be realised,” he says. “Especially the three major donors: The Freemasons for their extraordinary generosity in the foundation gift of $2 million; Sir Graham Douglas who generously donated $1 million; and Sir David Levene who donated $500,000.”
“The total fundraising for the position’s fund now stands in excess of $4 million,” he says. “These contributions, together with the critical support of the ADHB that funded half of the academic neurosurgical post, and the foundation support from the University of Auckland and the Robertson Foundation in New York, enabled us to begin the search last year.”
Since taking up his appointment, the University’s PhD students and postdoctoral research fellows have attended Patrick’s neurosurgical operations in the hospital and collected human brain tissue samples with the patients’ consent for culture and research studies in CBR laboratories.
“Patrick participates in our research laboratories in the University where his presence has already transformed our research environment and excited and inspired our graduate students,” says Professor Faull. “Their eyes have been opened wide to the massive opportunities for advancing the frontiers of brain research to the benefit of everyone in the world.”
At the recent function to welcome Dr Schweder as the inaugural Freemason’s Senior Lecturer in Neurosurgery on behalf of the Centre for Brain Research, he said this was his ‘dream position’ - to be nurturing the potential for future developments in neurosurgery and research at the University and the Auckland District Health Board.
“We now look forward to the exciting research developments in neuroscience and neurosurgery which will follow from this partnership between neuroscientists and neurosurgeons in the Centre for Brain Research and ADHB,” says Professor Faull. “Patrick will present his vision for neurosurgery research at a CBR seminar and at a public lecture later this year.”

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