J. R. Tagg

MSc, PhD
President NZMS 1994-96
Elected to Honorary membership: 
Otago University

John Tagg was born in Melbourne, Australia, and completed and MSc at Melbourne University and then a PhD in the Department of Pathology at Fairfield Hopsital in Melbourne (well known for its infectious diseases care). He then went on to complete post-doctoral studies with the eminent streptococcologist Prof. L. Wanamaker in Minnesota, USA, where he further developed what was to become a life-long love affair with streptococci and staphylococci and, particularly, the myriad of inhibitory substances they produce.

In 1973, John took up a position on the teaching staff of Otago University in the School of Microbiology, where he is still active as of 2010. Over the intervening years, John was promoted to Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor and finally Professor of Microbiology. During those years John has maintained an active and effective research group generating some 150 publications and resulting in the graduation of approximately 30 post-graduate students. In addition, John received a number of accolades for his ability to teach microbiology and his enthusiasm for his subject has also extended to a 15 year association with Hands on Science, the Otago University annual outreach programme to high school students across the country, as well as regular involvement in the organisation of International Science Festivals. In addition, John was the driving force that lead to the founding of the biotechnology comapny BLIS Technologies, which markets probiotic formulations internationally, particularly those aimed at improving oral health and preventing pharyngeal infection.