Professor Warren Tate in Queen's Birthday honour list.

06/06/2011
Otago Daily Times

Tate

Internationally respected biochemist Prof Warren Tate, who last year won the Royal Society of New Zealand's top science honour, is "humbled" to be also named a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Prof Tate (64), of the University of Otago biochemistry department, said gaining the society's Rutherford Medal had since proved positive, by helping provide an audience when he had been talking about science issues to the wider community.

He was also pleased to receive the Queen's Birthday Honour but was well aware "many people in the community do wonderful things and their efforts are not rewarded".

He believed this honour reflected his broader contribution to science, including efforts to communicate about it more widely, such as through several public talks he had previously given on genetic modification.

"Obviously, it's an honour to feel that my contribution to New Zealand science has been rewarded in this broader way," he said.

He did not expect community awards for simply doing his science work at the university.

"That's my job and I get paid for it."

His honour citation noted that Prof Tate was a molecular biologist, whose research had "revolutionised understanding" of how proteins were synthesised in living cells.

His research had shown how proteins contributed to memory formation and neurological disease, and had important implications for HIV, Alzheimer's and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Well-known for his energetic teaching, he had inspired many young scientists to pursue successful research careers, the citation said.

A long-standing member of the City of Dunedin Choir, Prof Tate has been a Fellow of the Alexander Humboldt Foundation of Germany, and an International Research Scholar of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute of the United States.

The original article on the ODT website