Professor Cather Simpson

Cather Simpson

Professor Cather Simpson

Principal Investigator

Phone: 09 373 7599 x83525

Postal Address:

University of Auckland
School of Chemical Sciences
Private Bag 92019
Auckland 1142

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Professor Cather Simpson earned a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies – Echols at the University of Virginia, and a Ph.D. in Medical Sciences at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine as a Howard Hughes Predoctoral Fellow. During her Ph.D. studies, she became increasingly interested in understanding and exploiting the fundamental interactions of light with molecules. After a Department of Energy Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, she joined Case Western Reserve University in 1997 to pursue this research.  In the Chemistry Department at CWRU, she earned tenure, was promoted to Associate Professor and started the Center for Chemical Dynamics. Along with her laser research, she fostered innovation in undergraduate teaching, women in science, and ethics in education and research.

In 2007, Professor Simpson joined The University of Auckland to take on a new challenge – to establish and direct the a new multi-user Photon Factory. Her appointment is held jointly in Chemistry and Physics.  The core mission of the Photon Factory is to bring the rich versatility of high-tech, short laser pulses to NZ academic and industry innovators. The facility has grown rapidly since it opened in 2010 – we now have over twenty students and employees who work on dozens of academic and commercial projects.  These range from evaluating the photobehaviour of improved solar energy harvesting molecules to fabricating photomasks for microfluidic chip production. Our activities include a recent spin-off company to make a novel cell sorting chip.  Dr. Simpson’s own research interests lie with the fundamental photodynamics of molecules in the condensed phase.  She and her students use ultrafast laser spectroscopy to study rapidly evolving molecules as they convert light to more useful forms of energy.

 

 

Associated Content

Aug
11

MacDiarmid Investigators Cather Simpson and David Williams discuss how materials science is changing the way farmers analyse milk – Our Changing World

MacDiarmid Investigators Cather Simpson and David Williams discuss how materials science is changing the way farmers analyse milk – Our Changing World Listen to the Podcast on RadioNZ

Jul
05

MacDiarmid scientists win at KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards

Associate Professor Simpson, a Principal Investigator with the MacDiarmid Institute, won the Supreme Award at the KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards on 30 June. She also won her section – the Baldwins Researcher Entrepreneur Award. MacDiarmid Institute Director Professor Thomas Nann said the Institute was seeing dynamic and innovative research being translated into high commercial value. […]

Jul
05

MacDiarmid and Dodd-Walls Investigator wins KiwiNet Supreme Award

The Directors of the two Centres of Research Excellence, the MacDiarmid Institute and the Dodd-Walls Centre, today both congratulated Associate Professor Cather Simpson on winning the Supreme Award at the KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards last night. Associate Professor Simpson is a Principal Investigator with both Centres of Research Excellence (CoREs).  She also won her section […]

Jun
02

Engender Technology wins in AgTech, World Cup Tech Challenge

The Directors of the two Centres of Research Excellence, the MacDiarmid Institute and the Dodd-Walls Centre, today both congratulated Associate Professor Cather Simpson on her company winning the AgTech section of the World Cup Tech Challenge in Silicon Valley.  Associate Professor Simpson is a Principal Investigator with both Centres of Research Excellence.  The Director of […]

May
24

Cather Simpson’s start-up company Engender Technology shortlisted for the World Cup Tech Challenge

New Zealand tech start-up company named as finalist for World Cup Tech Challenge led by MacDiarmid Institute and Dodd-Walls Centre Principal Investigator, 14 May 2016 Listen to the Cather’s interview with Kim Hill on Saturday Mornings at RadioNZ: Vote here The MacDiarmid Institute and Dodd-Walls Centre congratulated Associate Professor Cather Simpson, a Principal Investigator in […]

Nov
16

Pitch on a Peak – NZ tech investments

New Zealand hosted a major event in the technology investment world this month, with the Asian Business Angels Forum 2015 taking place in Queenstown (October 14-16). The forum drew over 150 angel investors from around the world. A centrepiece was ‘Pitch on a Peak’ – a showcase of NZ tech investment opportunities ranging from early […]

Aug
14

Sarah Thompson: How Red Pigments Fade

One of the striking features in paintings like the Girl with a Pearl Earring by Jan Vermeer (1632-1675) is the red pigments, in this case the madder lake used in her lips. But these red pigments have a tendency to fade. Sarah Thompson, a MacDiarmid Institute PhD student from the University of Auckland, is using […]

Apr
04

Lasers Solve Dairy Sperm Problem

Principal Investigator Associate Professor Cather Simpson and the team at the University of Auckland’s Photon Factory, a high-tech laser research hub, have conducted artificial insemination research which has led to discovering a process for sorting sperm cells according to sex. The New Zealand Herald’s Simon Eskow reports. Read More

Inspiring The Next Generation

Cather Simpson went to university to become a neurosurgeon, but found herself drawn to maths and physics instead. “Some people just 
like maths,” she says. “There’s a sort
 of internal and aesthetic satisfaction that comes from solving an equation, or describing some physical system, using what you know about maths and physics.” By the time […]