Our Early Career Researcher (ECR) Rōpū consists of members based across Aotearoa who all share the dedication and determination to address heart health equity in Māori and Pacific Peoples. 

Early Career Researcher (ECR) Rōpū

These members promote the development of ECRs in career progression, leadership and advancement of research pursuits. They advocate for ECRs to relevant groups within and outside of the CoRE, while encouraging participation and developing opportunities for inclusion in all aspects of the CoRE. To ensure an equitable approach in achieving these objectives, this is done while upholding the obligations of Te Tiriti.


If you’d like to join our mailing list, email us at putahimanawa@auckland.ac.nz or complete our contact form.


Do you have a passion for discovery, knowledge and innovation? Then a research career could be for you! Opportunities for research careers exist across a diverse range of research areas, spanning various STEM disciplines, industries and sectors.


Research careers offer many benefits including addressing real-world challenges, making a positive impact in communities, developing new technologies, high levels of intellectual stimulation, collaboration and networking, international opportunities, innovation and creativity, personal fulfilment and more.


Below are the members of our ECR Working Group, who collaborate to support the members of the wider ECR team. 

Do you have a passion for discovery, knowledge and innovation?
Do you have a passion for discovery, knowledge and innovation?

Then a research career could be for you!

Opportunities for research careers exist across a diverse range of research areas, spanning various STEM disciplines, industries and sectors.

Early Career Researcher Working Group
Sandra Hanchard
Dr Sandra Hanchard
Pūtahi Manawa and Heart Foundation Pacific Research Fellow, University of Auckland
Discharge planning is a crucial phase in the overall care of heart failure, there are opportunities to improve current practices. Sandra’s research focuses on discharge planning and interface between hospital-level and community care for patients with heart failure. The aim is to understand what is currently happening at this interface, including programmes that address equity for Māori and Pacific patients/whānau. The findings will inform national efforts to achieve consistency in evidence-based, optimal care for heart failure patients in Aotearoa.
Saraya Hogan
Saraya Hogan
Medical Laboratory Sciences Student, Auckland University of Technology
Ngāti Hako
Saraya is currently studying Medical Laboratory Sciences, specializing in immunology and molecular diagnostics. She recently uncovered her passion for genetic diagnostics, which lead her to pursue a placement at Grafton Clinical Genomics. This gives Saraya opportunities to work with MassArray genotyping, Illumina library preps for the TSO500 and gene expression panels for breast cancer with the Prosigna assay.
Michelle Munro
Dr Michelle Munro
Department of Physiology Lecturer, University of Otago, ECR representative, Pūtahi Manawa Board ECR representative
Michelle’s lab is primarily interested in the ultrastructural organisation of cardiac muscle cells. Her current research is looking at the role of a calcium-binding protein in the development of atrial fibrillation - the most common cardiac arrhythmia. A combination of techniques is used, including immunohistochemistry, western blotting, confocal microscopy of fixed and live samples, as well as super-resolution imaging
Stacey Neilson
Stacey Neilson
Cardiac Sonographer, Cardiac Physiologist, Team Leader Te Whatu Ora | Lakes
Stacey received a Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand Allied Health Investigator Award for her research on incidents of cancer therapy related cardiac dysfunction in Māori compared to non-Māori. “We’ve developed a new referral that has cardiac risk information in it. The oncologists are now open to considering the use of blood tests to look for cardiac biomarkers to help assess for cardiotoxicity. This individualised approach is already helping patients.”
Elliott Pepper
Elliott Pepper
Bachelor of Nursing Student, Universal College of Learning Te Pūkenga
Nursing Education and Research Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship recipient, Elliott Pepper, wants to use his nursing education to help rainbow communities, the members of which have specific needs around mental health, sexual health, fertility, pregnancy and gender-affirming care for transgender people. He is a proponent for the health needs of sexual and gender minorities in Aotearoa.
Takiwai Russell-Camp
Ms Takiwai Russell-Camp
Department of Medicine Kaiwhakatere, University of Otago
Ngāi Tahu
Takiwai is an emerging Māori researcher and is part of the wider Bedtime Electronic Devices (BED) research group. The BED study aims to understand how the use of electronic media (screens), both before and in-bed, affects sleep and mental health of young adolescents. The team is also interested in how this bedtime electronic media use might impact dietary intake the next day. The BED research group have discovered that not getting enough high-quality sleep is a crucial risk factor for obesity in children.
Kate Thomas
Dr Kate Thomas
Senior Lecturer, Dept of Surgical Sciences, Heart Otago Co-Director, University of Otago
Kate is an Exercise Physiologist interested in understanding how the cardiovascular system and brain responds to exercise and environmental stressors such as heat, cold and high altitude. Her research goals are to further understand the mechanisms by which exercise is good for us and to identify and develop effective, non-pharmaceutical, easy-to-implement lifestyle interventions to prevent or reduce the impact of chronic health conditions such as dementia, osteoarthritis and cardiovascular disease. Kate is a certified Vascular Sonographer working with clinical populations.
Julie Winter-Smith
Ms Julie Winter-Smith
Doctoral Candidate, University of Auckland
Julie is a doctoral candidate based in the Section of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. She is passionate about Pacific heart health equity and improving health services and outcomes for Pacific people. Julie focuses on the epidemiology of cardiovascular disease among Pacific peoples in NZ according to Pacific-specific ethnicity and country of birth.
Nikora Wade
Student Profile
Nikora Wade
Kai aku nui, kai aku rahi, tēnei au e mihi ana. Tēnei a Maungapōhatu e mihi ana mai ngā rekereke o te wao nui o Te Urewera. Tēnei a Te Ramaroa ā Kupe e mihi ana mai ngā wai e horahora ana mai te Hokianga Whakapau Karakia. Tēnei a Tongariro e mihi ana mai ngā kapua whakapipi e whakarākeitanga i a Ranginui. Kati rā, e mihi ana ōku maunga ki ngā tini maunga haere ake nei.

To the many, to the masses, I acknowledge. Maungapōhatu acknowledges you from the heels of the great forest of Te Urewera. Te Ramaroa ā Kupe acknowledges you from the glistening waters of Te Hokianga Whakapau Karakia. Tongariro acknowledges from the pipi shaped clouds that decorate Ranginui. Alas, these are my mountains that acknowledge the many mountains behind each and everyone of you.
“Ko te whakaiti te whare o te whakaaro nui. Humility is the foundation for a life of continuous learning.” - Wharehuia Milroy