DrJim_SmallDr Jim Faed

BMedsc MB ChB (Otago) FRCPA
Clinical Research Director

A Haematologist and Transfusion Medicine Specialist based in Dunedin, Dr Jim Faed is working for the University of Otago and the NZ Blood Service and leads the SCSNZ research team. He’s had a long standing interest in research in immunology, blood products and the health of blood donors. His research has included developing specialised methods for growing white blood cells in the laboratory to study antibody production.

Those studies are now proving to be of great value as methods are developed for growing cells that maybe used for research on tissue repair.

Dr Faed was initially approached for advice on setting up the Spinal Cord Society Laboratory in Dunedin in 2002 and was later asked to help lead the scientific development work. His background knowledge of haematology, blood and bone marrow has been invaluable in this work and has helped to provide the links for obtaining bone marrow tissue for research studies. In the past two decades his experience of Medicines Licensing systems through the Blood Service has also been important for providing insights into the systems that will be needed for producing cells that can be safely used for human treatments.

DrPaulTurnerDr Paul Turner

BSc (Hons) PhD

Dr Paul Turner joined the Spinal Cord Society Research lab as a Research Scientist in December of 2010. His role is to run the day to day business of a translational research laboratory and in conjunction with Dr Jim Faed to investigate new ways to harvest and grow stem cells from volunteers who donate bone marrow . He also served on the Zentech Bioethics Committee, which oversees pharmaceutical bio-equivalence studies on volunteers in Dunedin.

He’s originally from Wellington where he completed his BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry in 1992. From there he moved to Auckland to gain a PhD in Chemistry at the Cancer Society Research Laboratory in 1997. To gain international experience he worked in Canada, then Germany before returning to New Zealand 4 years later in 2001 to begin a research career in neurobiology at Otago University.

Fawzan website.jpg

Fawzan Dinnunhan
BSc (Hons)
Research Technician

Born in Sri Lanka Fawzan shifted to New Zealand at the age of 12. Fawzan has completed a bachelors and honors degree in Neuroscience and has just completed his thesis paper for his Master's Degree. Fawzan lives in Dunedin with his family; Mom, Dad, sister and brother and is excited to take over at SCSNZ from Vicky while she is on Maternity Leave. 

"I have always been interested in cutting edge research to help find cure for diseases. However I became even more passionate about the research carried out here after finding out that the Stem Cell Research may not only help those with Type-1 Diabetes but other auto immune diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis. Fawzans mother was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at quite a young age."

Vicky.jpgVicky Nelson MSc

Research Technician

After completing her Master’s degree in biomedical science, specialising in neuropharmacology at Auckland University in 2014, Vicky came to the SCSNZ as a cell and tissue culture technician. After doing her undergraduate Bachelor’s degree at Otago University, it was an easy choice to move back down to the deep south, to Dunedin.

"The work and research taking place here is fantastic and plays into my passion for research science, and harnessing this to improve health and wellbeing for our community and futures. I very much look forward to continuing and contributing to the stem cell therapy of Type 1 diabetes research."

Vicky has currently on Maternity leave as her and Travis await the arrival of their first baby.


Megan Brick

Marketing and Communications Manager

Megan Brick is our recently appointed Marketing and Communications Manager who is from Ocean View Dunedin. With 5 years’ experience in sponsorship and marketing Megan’s skill set is a welcomed addition to the SCSNZ team. The power of the internet and how it can be used to engage with our community is a core component to the role and as a previous Web Marketing Advisor these skills will be used to grow our awareness and engagement.

Having over 15 years in the Horse Racing Industry, Megan has seen a number of colleagues receive spinal cord injuries and being involved with an organisation that is focused solely on finding a cure for both type-1 diabetes and spinal cord injury is something that she is very excited to be part of.

In her spare time Megan can be found sharing her love for horses with her two children, Abby and Jenna or photographing her partner Shane and step-son Joel, surfing in the beautiful Brighton Bay.


Bhairavi Paranjpe

Bhairavi Paranjpe joined the Spinal Cord Society Research Laboratory in May 2005. She has a Masters degree in Statistics and has also completed a Diploma of Teaching from the Dunedin College of Education.