A tribute to Dr Jim Peterson
Dr Jim Peterson
Jim Peterson worked at AgResearch and its predecessors for 36 years, coming to Ruakura Animal Research Station in 1973 after completing a doctorate at McGill University in Canada.
Jim was internationally recognised for his research that radically advanced reproductive science. He and his collaborators successfully monitored and described complex profiles of steroid and protein hormones to a standard that has never been surpassed.
This pioneering research led to practical technologies such as the induction of calving in dairy cattle; control of the oestrus cycle in sheep, cattle, goats, deer and possums; control of puberty in ram lambs and bull calves; and manipulation of seasons of reproduction in deer.
His work also assisted with research in human reproduction. His research with Dr Tanya Soboleva on the interface between biology and applied mathematics helped scientists understand the path that leads from unfertilised human eggs to healthy babies.
Dr Allan Pearson, at the time a Senior Scientist at Ruakura, says 'The impressive thing about Jim was he continued to develop new ideas and technologies as the focus of the group changed over the decades.'
'His scientific legacy is around us in modern reproductive technologies, both in the animal sciences and in assisted human reproduction.'
Jim was passionate about science and authored 136 refereed publications and 115 other significant publications. He served as a reviewer for a number of prestigious international journals, and was awarded numerous scholarships and fellowships during his career.
He was also known for his sense of humour, 'zest for life' and encyclopaedic knowledge. Retired scientist Dr Robert Welch, who initially recruited Jim to Ruakura, says, 'Jim was well read in the sciences and much wider. He enjoyed nothing more than sharing and supporting others.'