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Image of Peter J Hunt and the New Zealand Order of Merit

We are happy to announce that Sir Peter Hunter KNZM FRS FRSNZ, a Visiting Professor in Computational Physiology at DPAG, has been promoted to Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to medical science, in the 2024 King's Birthday Honours announced this week. 

Our Head of Department Professor David Paterson comments, ‘I am absolutely delighted to see Peter recognised in the Birthday Honours list. As a former DPhil student here in the 1970s he has been a long-time supporter of physiology and the science we undertake. Much of his pioneering work in computational cardiac physiology has been done in collaboration with this department.’

Sir Peter has collaborated with Professor Denis Noble and Professor David Paterson for over 30 years on the Physiome Project as a Visiting Professor in our department.

The computational physiology link between Oxford and Auckland had its roots in 1972 when Sir Peter began a Doctorate with a Commonwealth Scholarship at Oxford. The Oxford engineer Professor Don Schultz (also a New Zealander) had begun a collaboration with the physiologist Dr Derek Bergel to bring engineering approaches and technologies to the study of the circulation. Sir Peter joined this team in the University Laboratory of Physiology – now DPAG. Bergel’s lab was along the corridor from Professor Denis Noble and Professor Julian Jack, and he became involved in Noble’s modelling of cardiac cell electrophysiology.

The next stage of the Oxford–Auckland link began in 1995 when Professor David Paterson bought a 256-electrode mapping system from the Auckland group and requested a postdoc to help use it for studies of cardiac activation. Another key milestone for the Cardiac Physiome Project was the award of a programme grant by the Wellcome Trust to Paterson and Hunter in 2005–2010. This provided the funding to establish the infrastructure for the modelling standards, software tools and model repository now underlying the Physiome Project. Today, this long collaboration continues with David Paterson having an Honorary Professorship at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute.