Our People

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Directorate | Rōpū Whakahaere

Joanne Todd, Challenge Director | Manutaki

Joanne Todd leads the Challenge Directorate team. She joined the Challenge from Fonterra Co-operative Ltd, where for over 20 years she held several nutrition and management roles with a focus on combining business development, science, regulatory and marketing activities, with an emphasis on Asian export markets. She has led and developed globally based cross-functional teams to deliver on a portfolio of projects and has built consumer insight, clinical research, and product development programmes that have delivered successful commercial outcomes increasing revenue for Fonterra’s consumer brands business. Her experience includes work across many areas including maternal, paediatric, immunity and mobility platforms, bringing vast experience in consumer-led innovation, combined with commercial acumen and understanding of the global consumer goods market and international regulatory environments.

 

Professor Richard Mithen, Chief Scientist

Richard Mithen is a Professor of Human Nutrition at the Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland and Chief Scientist for the New Zealand High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge. Following a PhD at the University of East Anglia and several years working in south central Africa on the conservation of wild crop relatives, Richard was a group leader at the John Innes Centre and Professor of Crop Science at the University of Nottingham prior to moving to the Institute of Food Research in 2003. Richard has played a major role in the development of the Quadram Institute, a new institute on the Norwich Research Park that combines food and nutritional science with human microbiome research and clinical expertise. Richard’s major research interests are at the interface between crop and food science and human nutrition. Richard migrated to New Zealand in 2019. More information about Professor Mithen’s role within HVN can be watched here.

Simmon Hofstetter, PhD, Research Operations Manager | Poutaki Whakahaere Rangahau

Simmon Hofstetter is the Research Operations Manager for the New Zealand High-Value Nutrition (HVN) National Science Challenge. He joined the HVN Challenge team from the Strategic Research and Development Programme of the Government of Alberta, Canada, where he worked with a team to deliver a multi-million-dollar research funding portfolio targeting issues in agriculture and livestock production. Simmon completed his PhD at the University of Alberta, combining a background in microbiology with expertise in food science and technology, before moving on to lead teams as a post-doctoral researcher in academia and as a research scientist in industry. His experience spans a broad range of applied research topics in areas of food and environmental microbiology and safe food production. Simmon combines his experience as a researcher with project management principles to ensure cross-functional scientific projects and programmes achieve successful outcomes.

Kristine Scherp, Communications & Marketing Senior Adviser | Kaitohutohu Matua Whakawhitinga Whakatairanga

Kristine Scherp brings a wealth of experience in communications, stakeholder consultation and engagement, and event management to the Challenge. Kristine’s previous roles included contract communications positions for healthAlliance, which works across the four Auckland District Health Boards, and at Waste Management in a specialist internal communications role. Prior to that Kristine managed communications for the Health Research Council of New Zealand for over 10 years.

Eleanor Surtida, Executive Assistant

Eleanor Surtida is the Executive Assistant for the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge. She has over a decade of administration skills. Eleanor also has experience and understanding of research environments in the tertiary education sector and is committed to supporting science research programmes that make a difference to people’s lives.