Kauri dieback, diabetes and dangerous volcanoes were three research topics served up by Massey University doctoral students at a breakfast in Palmerston North this week.

The breakfast, a collaboration between the University and Manawatū business education promotion organisation Talent Central, is an annual event to connect students with the Manawatū business community.

Talent Central chief executive Margaret Kouvelis describes it as "an opportunity for business people to discover the talent that can be harnessed to add value to the Manawatū economic, environmental and social wellbeing".

The students outlined their research findings and the potential impact of their work.


Charline Lormand is researching how much time we have before a volcano erupts.

Lormand has investigated the make-up of 60,000 micrometre-sized crystals within volcanic rocks called microlites, to try to unlock the answer.

The time it takes microlites to form, when they form and the depth at which they form within the volcano is what holds the clue to better understanding when a volcano is likely to erupt, Lormand said.

Her aim is to provide communities and emergency response organisations with information on when people need to be evacuated.

Her research has taken her around the world, from her home in France to Iceland and Japan.

She is studying with the School of Agriculture and Environment and Volcanic Risk Solutions Group focused on the Tongariro Volcanic Centre near the active volcanoes Ngāuruhoe and Ruapehu.

Ellie Bradley says there is no known cure for kauri dieback, but hopes her research through the School of Agriculture and Environment, may help.

Bradley uses molecular biology techniques to better understand the relationship between the pathogen and the tree.


Her aim is to identify important molecules from the pathogen that activate the plant immune system, with the goal of using this information to inform durable disease resistance programmes in kauri.

Akisi Ravono is a registered nurse and two years into her PhD with Massey's College of Health investigating what patients and nurses describe as the ideal nursing care for patients living with diabetes and associated conditions.

Her research is based on focus group discussions, interviews and field observations with patients and nurses in Fiji, with a focus on iTaukei, the indigenous people of Fiji, where a third of the adult population has diabetes.

Ravono's research is learning from their experiences and taking into account cultural traditions such as not questioning the decisions of medical professionals.

Her aim is to improve nursing care for diabetic patients and shift towards a more preventive approach to reducing life-threatening situations and associated conditions.