D. R. Martin

Bsc, MSc, PhD
President NZMS 1986-1988
Elected to Honorary membership: 
Environmental Science & Research

Diana Martin (nee France) was born in Wellington, and attended University at Otago, where she completed both her BSc and Msc, and then at the University of London, where she completed her PhD in 1971. At the same time as carrying out here PhD studies, Diana was Scientist-in-charge of the Pseudomonas laboratory at the Central Public Health Laboratory, Colindale, London. Following the completion of her PhD, she returned to New Zealand where she became a tutor in Microbiology at the Wellington Polytechnic, tutoring both medical laboratory technologists and students studying for NZ Certificate of Science. In 1975, Diana became a Scientist with the National Health Institute, Wellington, heading the Streptococcus Reference Laboratory and marking her long-time association with streptococcal disease. In 1980 she was made a senior scientist and in 1988 became the Managing Scientist of the Special Pathogens Group at the by then renamed ESR Communicable Disease Centre (formerly National Health Institute) where she became responsible for the direction of work on bacterial invasive infections, rheumatic fever and other streptococcal infections, zoonoses, legionellosis, and emerging bacterial pathogens. Since 1996, Diana has been the Principal Scientist at ESRresponsible for bacterial invasive pathogen surveillance and research and has taken a leading role in mentoring staff particularly in communicable disease microbiology.

During her career, Diana has been involved in many significant acheivements and she is considered to be one of the preeminent researchers in the field of bacterial communicable diseases world-wide. She has authored round 130 scientific papers, served on governmental advisory boards, been a representative to the World Health Organization, and is perhaps most notable for both identifying the recent epidemic of group B meningococcal diease in New Zealand, as well as taking an active role in driving action that resulted in the government funding an effective vaccination campaign to halt its spread. For her many and varied acheivements in science in New Zealand, Diana was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2000 and was awarded an Order of New Zealand Medal in the 2008 Queen's Birthday Honours List. In addition, Diana has been a member of NZMS since 1972, has regularly contributed to the annual scientific meetings both as a presenter and through her many students, was the Distinguished Speaker (Orator) at NZMS2002, has been a conference convenor, executive comittee member, vice-president and president.