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Pulse 59: November / December 2016

Thursday, 15 December 2016

PVC's welcome

Kia ora koutou kātoa

Peter Crampton, PVC Health Sciences
Professor Peter Crampton

Welcome to the final edition of Pulse for 2016.

The end of the year is a time to celebrate the successes in the Division. While there are too many individuals and groups to name here, I would like to note that 2016 has been a year of major success for our students and staff and we are ending the year on a high note. My personal thanks to all our professional staff, our academic staff, and our students for your contributions to a most successful year.

Congratulations to those staff who have been promoted to the level of professor or associate professor. These appointments are recognition of stellar performance.

I’d like to pass on my sincere thanks to all staff for their support of their students over the exam period, to those who assist with the running of the graduation ceremonies, and to those who joined with our graduates’ whānau to celebrate their graduations.

I would like to congratulate and thank the Māori Health Workforce Development Unit for arranging a wonderful celebration for their students who were part of the milestone 45 Māori students to graduate with a medical degree. I am sure the graduates and their whānau enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of something special.

I thank you all for your hard work that has resulted in a successful year, and wish you all a relaxing summer break that is spent enjoying time with family and friends.

I look forward to working with you in 2017.

Ngā mihi o te Kirihimete me te Tau Hou

Professor Peter Crampton
Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Division of Health Sciences, pvc.healthsciences@otago.ac.nz

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General news

Professorial appointments

Congratulations to those staff who have been awarded professorial appointments in the latest promotion round.

Promotion to Professor

  • Hallie Buckley (Anatomy, School of Biomedical Sciences)
  • Anthony Butler (Radiology, University of Otago, Christchurch)
  • Nicholas Chandler (Oral Rehabilitation, Faculty of Dentistry)
  • Robert Hancox (Preventive and Social Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine)
  • Jing-Bao Nie (Bioethics Centre)
  • Susan Pullon (Primary Healthcare and General Practice, University of Otago, Wellington)
  • John Reynolds (Anatomy, School of Biomedical Sciences)
  • Rachael Taylor (Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine)

Promotion to Associate Professor

  • Jonathan Broadbent (Oral Rehabilitation, Faculty of Dentistry)
  • Alan Carne (Biochemistry, School of Biomedical Sciences)
  • Liz Dennett (Surgery and Anaesthesia, University of Otago, Wellington)
  • Rajesh Katare (Physiology, School of Biomedical Sciences)
  • Roslyn Kemp (Microbiology and Immunology, School of Biomedical Sciences)
  • Diane Kenwright (Pathology and Molecular Medicine, University of Otago, Wellington)
  • William Levack (Medicine, University of Otago, Wellington
  • Eileen McKinlay (Primary Healthcare and General Practice, University of Otago, Wellington)
  • Neil Pickering (Bioethics Centre)
  • Andrew Tawse-Smith (Office of the Dean, Faculty of Dentistry)

Promotion to Research Associate Professor

  • Bridget Robson (Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington)

Otago academics made full professor (Otago press release)

Marsden success

Congratulations to the following staff on their success in the recent Marsden funding round:

  • Professor Colin Brown (Physiology), Drinking for two: Central resetting of water balance in pregnancy and lactation
    $825,000
  • Professor Greg Cook (Microbiology & Immunology), Unraveling the key role of cytochrome bd oxidase in antimicrobial lethality in tuberculosis
    $825,000
  • Professor Mike Eccles (Pathology, Dunedin), The genes of life and death: a role for placental-specific genes in cancer?
    $825,000
  • Professor Neil Gemmell (Anatomy), Parasitic Puppeteers – How do They Pull the Strings?
    $830,000
  • Professor David Grattan (Anatomy), Growth factors mediating prolactin-induced neurogenesis in the adult brain
    $810,000
  • Professor Allan Herbison (Physiology), In vivo gene editing with CRISPR to define estrogen feedback in the brain
    $825,000
  • Associate Professor Julia Horsfield (Pathology, Dunedin), Becoming master of your destiny: insights into genome activation from nuclear structure
    $810,000
  • Dr Gabrielle Jenkin (Dean’s Department, Wellington), Acute Mental Health Wards: Therapeutic Spaces of Stigmatising Places?
    $300,000 – Fast Start
  • Dr Yoshio Nakatani (Microbiology & Immunology), Uncovering the physiological roles of the multiple NDH2 in bacterial genomes
    $300,000 – Fast Start
  • Professor Stephen Robertson (Women’s and Child Health), Bones under pressure. How does the skeleton sense gravity?
    $825,000
  • Professor Clive Ronson (Microbiology & Immunology), Silencing unwanted expression in molecular circuits using naturally evolved solutions
    $750,000
  • Dr Helen Taylor (Anatomy), Why do inbred males fire blanks? Unravelling the relationship between inbreeding and infertility
    $300,000 – Fast Start
  • Dr Alexander Tups (Physiology), Hypothalamic Inflammation: Cause of leptin resistance and obesity?
    $795,000

More Collaborative Research Awards

The Otago Medical School and the Division of Health Sciences have recently awarded research grants to nine research collaborations from across campuses, schools and Divisions.  The awards are designed to increase collaboration across the Division of Health Sciences and beyond and to help link up different disciplines for success.

The funded research is broad ranging:

  • Professor Sarah Hook, and others in Pharmacy, are collaborating with Dr James Ussher and others in Microbiology and Immunology, to find ways to quickly monitor patient responses to antibiotics at the beside.
  • Professor Alison Heather, Physiology, collaborating with Professor Bridget Robinson, Medicine UOC, and others from DSM are undertaking a proof of principle study around whether serum estrogen receptor bioactivity can be associated with breast cancer relapse.
  • Dr Aniruddha Chatterjee and Professor Mike Eccles Pathology, DSM will work with Biochemistry’s Professor Parry Guilford and others from DSM and Sciences to develop new methodology for cancer diagnostics.
  • Dr Xochitl Morgan,  and Professor Gerald Tannock, Microbiology and Immunology will work with Professor Andrew Day, Paediatrics and Professor Richard Gearry Medicine, UOC, on how being fed a highly digestable diet, a common treatment for Crohn's disease patients, affects their mircobiome.
  • Dr Phil Heyward, Physiology, and Associate Professor Jeremy Krebs, Medicine, UOW and colleagues from Chemistry are collaborating on a novel treatment for type two diabetes.
  • Dr Richard Egan, Preventive and Social Medicine, and Dr Simon Walker, from the Bioethics Centre, along with researchers from Law and Thoeology will explore New Zealanders’ views on the euthanasia debate: which reasons do they think are important and how do they think these reasons should apply?
  • Dr Arlene McDowell, Pharmacy, and Associate Professor Julia Horsfield, Pathology, are exploring new models can be used to explore the bioavailability of antioxidant compounds packaged in a novel carrier.
  • Dr Rosalina Richards, Preventive and Social Medicine, and Mrs Bernadette Jones, Medicine, are investigating young people’s experiences of chronic illness: how can health services, educators, employers and loved ones better support young people to cope and thrive while experiencing illness.
  • Professor Gary Hooper, Orthopaedic Surgery and Musculoskeletal Medicine, and Associate Professor Niels Hammer, Anatomy, are studying the optimal way to externally stabilise vertically unstable pelvic fractures.

Translational Research Grant

Congratulations to Professor Alison Heather, Physiology who is this year's recipient of the Division's Translational Research Grant.  She was awarded the Grant to assist her with the development of a new assay to detect compounds in blood that cause breast cancer, and will use the $50,000 award from the Division of Health Sciences to assist in the engineering of a new clinical test to detect estrogenic compounds in blood samples.

She hopes to develop this tool into a new diagnostic test for breast cancer with the aim that this new diagnostic test will help oncologists assess a patient’s risk for developing recurring disease.
Breast cancer test wins 2016 Translational Research Grant (Otago Bulletin Board)

Professor Alison Heather
The 2016 Translational Research Grant winner Professor Alison Heather working in the lab. Photo: Sharron Bennett.

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Ageing Well National Science Challenge

Associate Professor Debra Waters from the Ageing Well Management Directorate worked with Science Communication Professor Nancy Longnecker and 16 Science Communication postgraduate students to develop an interactive exhibit at the Otago Museum called "Well Balanced".

Designed to be a fun, interactive and educational experience for all ages, visitors can learn about, and undertake activities with a Wii Fit, hula hoops, devices to test hand and trunk strength, challenges for nimble fingers and dexterity, and testing balance on a wobble board—all with the aim of testing and learning how to improve strength and balance.The exhibition will be on display till the 29th of January.
For further information, visit the Ageing Well National Science Challenge Website.

Yoga poses
Some young visitors try out the yoga poses at 'Well Balanced'.

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School of Biomedical Sciences

School news

The School recently held its annual awards ceremony to celebrate the successes of staff.  Congratulations to the following on their achievements:

  • Parry Guilford BMS Senior Researcher Award 2016
  • Frank Griffin BMS Commercialisation Researcher Award 2016
  • Sian Halcrow BMS Emerging Researcher Award 2016
  • Peter Dearden Best Research Paper of the Year by a BMS Researcher 2016
  • Marilyn Merriman BMS Research Support – Focused Contribution Award 2016
  • Murray Cockerill BMS Research Support – Sustained Contribution Award 2016
  • Megan Coleman BMS Research Support – Distinguished Contribution Award 2016
  • Hallie Buckley BMS Kaupapa Māori Research Award 2016
  • Daryl Schwenke BMS Pasifika Research Award 2016
  • Roslyn Kemp BMS Distinguished Academic Teacher 2016
  • Andrew Barlow BMS Distinguished PPF/Teaching Fellow (Science) 2016
  • Tony Zaharic BMS Distinguished PPF/Teaching Fellow (Professional Programmes) 2016
  • Pat Cragg Service to the School Award 2016

SBMS winners 2016
L to R Peter Dearden, Parry Guilford, Pat Cragg, Vernon Ward.

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Department of Anatomy

Congratulations to Dr Yusuf Cakmak who has received a MedTech CoRE Seed project grant of $50,000 to further explore the potential of a portable non-invasive camera-based device to measure indicators of heart disease.  The prototype device has the potential to embed into mobile phones, enabling medical practitioners to use the device as a screening tool to perform initial diagnoses for a range of heart diseases.
Portable screening device has potential to diagnose heart disease (Anatomy)

Congratulations to Laura Boddington and Papi Gustafson who have both had their doctoral theses placed on the Health Sciences Divisional List of Exceptional Theses.  Laura’s thesis examines the behavioural and electrophysiological effects of applying electrical theta-burst stimulation to the brain after a stroke in order to modulate functional recovery.  Papi’s thesis looks at how the anterior pituitary hormone prolactin acts within the maternal brain to suppress stress-regulatory neurons and thus limit activation of the maternal stress response.
PhD candidates produce exceptional theses (Anatomy)

Congratulations to Professor Neil Gemmell, Professor Dave Grattan and Dr Helen Taylor who were awarded funding from the Royal Society of New Zealand’s Marsden Fund.
Marsden Grant success (Anatomy)

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Department of Biochemistry

Students from the Department won several prizes at the recent NZSBMB and NZMS joint conference in Christchurch. NZSBMB student poster competition; Dannielle Maddock first and Max Ehrhardt third, in the NZSBMB student speaker competition; Astra Heywood third and in the NZMS student poster competition Lottie Armstrong second.

Murray Cockerill, our electronics technician, is retiring at the end of the year. In 2012 he won the Rotary Pride of Workmanship Award, and at the time I wrote this: "Murray has been working in the Department of Biochemistry since 1977 after eight years with a commercial company. Prior to that he was a laboratory technician in the Surgery Department at the Otago Medical School for six years. Other departments in the university envy us our electronics technician - he can, and does, turn his hand to anything.” Murray’s expertise and many year’s experience with our eclectic range of equipment will be sorely missed.

Since Murray joined Biochemistry he has provided in-house maintenance and immediate repair on all the electromechanical research equipment in the Department. Over the years, his expertise has grown to be in demand as his reputation has spread to other departments who seek his advice on a regular basis.

Murray’s comprehensive expertise in all kinds of instrumentation has been crucial for the effective operation of sophisticated large research facilities such as the X-ray diffraction suite and the Centre for Protein Research as well as for the extended life of many small items of equipment. Most impressively, when there is an emergency involving electrical equipment Murray attends to such contingencies, whatever the hour. He has responded to numerous call outs from failed equipment for many years (quite recently he came in to attend to freezers three times in one week!) with no complaints – he is always here to attend to the problem. He has also provided major assistance to the building and services manager over the years as it has been renovated and rearranged to meet new requirements.

Murray’s commitment to the Biochemistry Department, over 40 years, is amazing.

We are very lucky to have had one year of transition with both Murray and new building manager Peter Small in the Department at the same time; Peter has been busy absorbing Murray’s knowledge, and has also brought his own unique expertise to the Department. We think we are set for a smooth transition, but Murray has promised he will still be available for emergencies - so long as he is not off gallivanting around Alaska or the UK or Siberia with his tent.

Attached is a photograph of Murray, with other current and past technical staff, taking care of the building on New Year’s Eve 1999/2000.

Biochem technical staff celebrate
Murray Cockerill and colleagues 'take care' of the building. From left: Jack LaRooy, Mel Kennedy, Rod McCall, Murray, George Bartlett, and Tim Bain.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology

McLellan lab research uncovers the potential cause of cancer-related thrombosis

A study led by Associate Professor Alex McLellan and first-authored by PhD student Morad-Remy Muhsin has revealed that chemotherapy stimulates the release of tiny vesicles from the surface of cancer cells that cause blood to clot.

Most deaths from cancer are caused by uncontrolled growth of the tumour in vital organs. However, the second most common way that cancer kills is by triggering blood clotting resulting in thrombosis, such as pulmonary embolisms. The team discovered that cancer cells treated with chemotherapy release lipid-rich bubbles from their membranes that activate coagulation (clotting) processes.

Dr Htin Lin Aung leads world-first collaboration with Myanmar Ministry of Health

Dr Htin Lin Aung, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Cook Lab, is leading the first joint Myanmar-New Zealand health research project, as a part of his mission to improve diagnostic procedures and develop a better treatment for multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (Tb).

After initial steps taken by Anna Sui, wife of the now-Second Vice-President of Myanmar, Henry Van Thio, Dr Aung has played a lead role in establishing a unique collaboration between the University of Otago and the Myanmar Ministry of Health and Sport’s National Tuberculosis Programme. The research has three years’ Health Research Council (HRC) funding worth $450,000.

Bacteria communicate to ramp up collective immune response to viral threats

Bacteria can boost their own immune systems by “talking” to each other, as shown by a surprising new research finding led by a team from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology's Fineran Lab. The findings have appeared today in the international journal Molecular Cell.

Associate Professor Fineran says that in the same way that humans are susceptible to viruses like influenza and measles, bacteria also need to defend themselves against viruses. The breakthrough came when the researchers discovered that the ability of bacteria to gauge the number of cells in their communities enabled the bacteria to boost the power of their CRISPR-Cas immune systems to prevent viral outbreaks.

Three Microbiology and Immunology researchers receive a total of $1.87m Marsden funding

Congratulations to the following for their recent success in the latest Marsden funding round:

Professor Greg Cook, $825,000: Unraveling the key role of cytochrome bd oxidase in antimicrobial lethality in tuberculosis
Professor Clive Ronson, $750,000: Silencing unwanted expression in molecular circuits using naturally evolved solutions
Dr Yoshio Nakatani, $300,000: Uncovering the physiological roles of the multiple NDH2 in bacterial genomes

Associate Professor Thomas Proft, University of Auckland (Principal Investigator), Dr Roslyn Kemp (Associate Investigator), Dr Joanna Kirman (Associate Investigator), $825,000: PilVax: a novel peptide delivery strategy for the development of vaccines

Department has double win at New Zealand Society for Oncology Meeting

Congratulations to PhD student Kirsten Ward-Hartstonge and her supervisor Dr Ros Kemp, who together took away the top awards from the most recent New Zealand Society for Oncology meeting.

Kirsten was the winner of the Young Researcher Award (previously known as the Eli Lilly Award) for the best presentation by a trainee or young member of the Society at the meeting. Dr Ros Kemp was awarded the Roche Translational Cancer Research Fellowship, a new award this year. This award provides a unique opportunity for NZ cancer research teams to up-skill an integral team member, so that the team can work together more effectively to improve research output.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Dr John Ashton continues his regular Radio New Zealand interview series.  John’s most recent interview was on Why aren’t we talking about lung cancer?  Why aren't we talking about lung cancer? (Newstalk ZB)

Professor Paul Smith was interviewed for the article “Brain detectives: 10 amazing Kiwi insights”. Paul outlined the advances made with artificial vestibular systems and explained the potential with this technology to assist Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease patients.  Other Otago researchers featured in this article were Professor Warren Tate (Biochemistry Department), and Dr Liana Machado (Psychology Department).
Brain detectives: 10 amazing Kiwi insights (NZ Herald)

Funding successes
Dr Greg Giles has received funding from the 2017 University of Otago Research Grant round for his project Supramolecular complexes as emerging anti-cancer drugs.  This project commences 1 January 2017.  ($37,807)

Dr Greg Giles has been awarded a beamtime grant from the Australian Synchrotron in Melbourne to use their infrared microscope beamline for the project Supramolecular helicates as inducers of autoschizis, a collaboration between Greg’s group and Associate Professor James Crowley in the Department of Chemistry to design new anti-cancer agents.  The experimental team’s travel to Melbourne has been funded by the New Zealand Synchrotron Group ($3,275).

Associate Professor Ivan Sammut has been awarded funding from the National Heart Foundation for his project Protecting the heart from ischaemia reperfusion injury ($14,983).

Dr Belinda Cridge has been awarded funding from the School of Biomedical Sciences to further her augmented reality project (previous funding supported the creation of the augmented reality app Morpheus) to develop a scientific poster using the same technology.  The aim is to demonstrate this at the 56th Society of Toxicology annual meeting that will be held in Baltimore, USA from 12-16 March 2017.  ($4,850)

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Department of Physiology

The Department would like to congratulate the following staff and students:

  • RSNZ Marsden Project Grants: Congratulations to the following PIs who have been awarded 3-year project grants:
    • Professor Colin Brown - $825K for the project “Drinking for two: Central resetting of water balance in pregnancy and lactation”
    • Professor Allan Herbison - $825K for the project “In vivo gene editing with CRISPR to define estrogen feedback in the brain”
    • Dr Alex Tups - $795K for the project “Hypothalamic inflammation: Cause of leptin resistance and obesity”
  • Professor Alison Heather has won the 2016 Division of Health Sciences Translational Research Grant to assist her to engineer a new bioassay to detect estrogenic compounds in blood samples. An article was featured in the Otago Bulletin – see http://www.otago.ac.nz/otagobulletin/news/otago628307.html

Otago Medical School and Division of Health Sciences Collaborative Research Grants have been awarded to:

  • Professor Alison Heather (with collaborators): Serum estrogen receptor α and -β bioactivity are associated with breast cancer relapse: a proof of principle study
  • Dr Phil Heyward (with Dr Alex Tups & collaborators): A novel treatment for type two diabetes "First in man" Proof of concept study
  • Dr Daryl Schwenke has been awarded a Royal Society of NZ Catalyst: Seeding grant for his Japanese collaborative work
  • Dr Karl Iremonger has been awarded a Neurological Foundation of NZ Small Project Grant
  • Ashley Gillon  and Navneet Lal (PhD students supervised by Associate Professor Phil Sheard ) who have been awarded $6K HOPE Selwyn Foundation Scholarships.

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School of Pharmacy


School of Pharmacy Research Day

Prof Kathryn McPherson speaking about HRC fundingThis was held on the 8th of December at Otago Museum. This year’s theme focused on patient centred care and the effects that it may have on Pharmacy research. Thank you to guest speakers, Professor Kathryn McPherson (Chief Executive HRC in photo), Professor Tony Merriman (Depart. Of Biochemistry), Leanne Te Karu (Pharmacy Council, MPA) and Mike Williams (WellSouth), as well as School of Pharmacy staff and Postgraduate students.

Te Puna Kaitaka Continues to Grow

Maori Pharmacy Students Association group standing on balconyMāori Pharmacy Students Association, Te Puna Kaitaka, continues to grow at the Otago School of Pharmacy. The association held their first annual meeting in October, Tayla Tuhikarama stood down as president and Ashley Howell replaced her. Further information can be found on our website.

2016 Pre-graduation Ceremony

Congratulations to all our graduating students. Award winners were announced at the School of Pharmacy Pre-graduation ceremony at the Link on Friday 9th December.  Major prize winners were:

  • Abbey Evison; Thomson Reuters Prize in Pharmacy for the highest overall mark in Pharmacy Law, Christina White Prize for best overall achievement in the BPharm degree and Certificate in PHCY472.
  • Natalie Fleming; Pharmacy Defence Association Prize for the highest standard in the Pharmacy Law and Ethics component, Pharmacy Prize in Pharmacy Practice 4th Year (Douglas); Pharmaceutical Society of NZ Prize for the higest standard of attainment in fourth year examination, Certificate in papers PHCY480, PHCY481, PHCY482, PHCY483.
  • Olivia Coe won the Pharmacy Prize in Clinical Pharmacy (NZHPA) for best achievement in Quality use of Medicines papers: PHCY345, PHCY471 and PHCY473.
  • Sophie Oliff won our new Andi Shirtcliffe Leadership Prize in Pharmacy.

Special congratulations to our four PhD students who graduated:
Bhuvan KC (Supervising team: Dr Sue Heydon, Professor Pauline Norris)
Katrin Kramer (Supervising team: Dr Greg Walker, Dr Sarah Young)
Henry Ndukwe (Supervising team: Dr Prasad Nishtala, Associate Professor June Tordoff, Dr Ting Wang)
Emma Salis (Supervising team: Associate Professor Natalie Medlicott, Associate Professor David Reith)

Congratulations also to Natalie Fleming for winning the Otago Medical School Research Society (OMSRS) speaker prize based on her work titled ‘A mathematical model for urate transport across a proximal tubule cell.’ (Supervised by Professor Stephen Duffull and Dr Daniel Wright).

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University of Otago, Christchurch

The Paediatric Trainee Interns on the current run won the annual Paediatric Department boat race. Congratulations! The winning team pictured below.

Paediatric trainee interns' boat race winners 650

MRI expert Dr Tracy MelzerDr Tracy Melzer of the New Zealand Brain Research Institute won a $500,000 Health Research Council grant to identify brain changes that could help predict the onset of dementia.
Otago health researchers gain career development awards (UOC)

Dr Sean McPherson in costumeHaematologist and lecturer Dr Sean McPherson won the award for best original song at the Canterbury 48 Hr Film Festival finals, while Bachelor of Biomedical Science with Honours student Tara Swadi won best make-up award in the competition.

 A lecture by this year’s Carl Smith Medal winner gastroenterologist Professor Richard Gearry attracted a capacity crowd.
Diet, digestion and disease - learning more about the effect of food on gut health (iTunesU)

The Pathology Department recently held their second annual Symposium. It was funded by Continuing Education and involved talks by staff, a quiz based on department facts and a limerick competition which was won by the new Head of Department, Professor Martin Kennedy.The Christchurch Regenerative Medicine and Tissue Engineering (CReaTE) group will soon host a ‘MedTech in Christchurch’ event to encourage collaboration and knowledge-sharing amongst organisations involved in healthcare and medical device development. It will also host a delegation of South Koreans involved in regenerative medicine as part of its Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment-funded collaboration with that country.

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University of Otago, Wellington

  • Congratulations to the following staff who are recipients of our UOW staff awards 2016:
    • Brett Delahunt (Pathology & Molecular Medicine), Senior Researcher
    • Giles Newton-Howes (Psychological Medicine), Emerging Researcher
    • Bridget Robson (Public Health), Best Paper
    • Terry O'Donnell (Centre for Translational Physiology), Research Support Award
    • PHSS organisers led by Michael Baker (Public Health), Teaching and Learning Innovation
    • Rebecca Grainger (Pathology & Molecular Medicine), Outstanding Teaching and Supervision
    • Bode3 team led by Tony Blakely (Public Health), Research Communication
    • William Levack (Dean's Department), Service Award
    • Dalice Sim, Gordon Purdie, James Stanley (Biostatics), and Christine Groves, Tina Uiese, Kate Sloane (Research Office), Dean's Occasional Award (Service)
  • One of our graduates, Dr Hamish Wright, was the physician at the South Pole this winter and led the team to do two medical evacuations in extreme conditions in midwinter.
    Medical evacuation from the South Pole (UOW)
    Poles apart - Alumnus assists in world-first medical evacuation (Alumni)
  • Amazon humidity and Everest Base Camp altitude...in Wellington - GENESIS environmental suite now allows researchers to explore complex health questions.
    Amazon humidity and Everest Base Camp altitude...in Wellington (Otago press release)
    Wellington's new simulations suite to aid obesity research (Otago Bulletin)
  • Earthquakes – Wellington and Christchurch staff thanked for earthquake efforts Staff and students at the University of Otago’s campuses in Wellington and Christchurch are being praised for their patience and hard work following major earthquake.
  • UOW Student Awards Ceremony: Values emphasised at Wellington awards ceremony Staff and students at the University’s Wellington campus attended a wonderful student awards ceremony on Friday 18 November to finish off what had been a difficult week of earthquakes and floods in the Wellington region.
  • Coming Up
    Public Health Summer School coming up in February – 7-24 February 2017, 30 courses over 3 weeks on Public Health topics ranging from Children’s health to obesity, fuel poverty, Insulation, Green Space in the resilient city, to Art and Public Health, with several international speakers attending. Earlybird registration for ALL OTAGO UNIVERSITY staff until 21 December 2016.
    More information and registration.

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Other news

Research opportunities database launched to attract postgraduate students

A major revision of the online postgraduate research opportunities database was launched two weeks ago. The database, which enables supervisors to list available postgraduate projects, is designed to be an important recruitment tool that can now be activated on any Otago website.

Prospective students can filter available projects by qualification, host campus, on-campus or via distance, and their own academic background—in addition to searching by supervisor or keyword.

Currently, there are two active installations:

Eighteen other websites will have the database installed over the coming weeks, including the Faculty of Dentistry, Otago Medical School, School of Biomedical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, School of Physiotherapy, and UOC websites. The database will be installed on the UOW website later in 2017, coinciding with a revamp of the school's postgraduate webpages.

Any given listing will automatically appear on all relevant websites. For example, an opportunity in DSM's Department of Medicine would appear on the Department's website, the DSM website, the Otago Medical School website, and the Division's website—thus granting listings significantly more exposure than what would be otherwise available.

We hope in future to have the database available on the main Otago site as well.

Submit a listing to the database

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Recently-launched websites

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Intimidating behaviour towards medical students in the clinical environment

Otago Medical School staff and students attended a workshop to develop policy and procedures to reduce and deal with intimidation towards medical students.  The policy and procedures will be implemented across the three Otago Medical School campuses.

The processes outlined to encourage reporting of intimidating behaviour and consequential procedures to review and deal with reports, complement and augment what is already in place across the University and the DHBs.

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Health Sciences Centre for Interprofessional Education established

The Division has established a Centre for Interprofessional Education—or “IPE Centre”—charged with implementing the IPE Strategic Plan 2016–19.

The core goal is to progressively integrate IPE into health professional curricula, so that professions learn with, from and about each other, to improve collaborative practice and quality of patient care.

The IPE Centre is a virtual entity governed by the Divisional IPE Governance Group. It comprises:

  • Director: Associate Professor Sue Pullon (UOW)
  • Divisional Lead: Dr Margot Skinner (School of Physiotherapy)
  • IPE Centre Manager: Ashley Symes (Divisional Office)
  • IPE Campus Leads (academic roles: one each to be appointed in UOC and UOW, and two in Dunedin)
  • IPE Campus Administrators (part-time, to be appointed in UOC, UOW and Dunedin)

Announcing the Centre in mid-November, Professor Peter Crampton said: “The Director will work closely with IPE campus leaders and the Centre manager, to establish and develop the Centre and a work programme that supports and fosters the development of high-quality IPE on all campuses and across health professional programmes, Faculties and Schools.”

Current emphasis is on supporting IPE development in pre-registration programmes, with the intention of fostering postgraduate IPE over time.

Associate Professor Sue Pullon adds: “During 2016, an expanding range of IPE learning activities has been introduced into the Health Sciences curricula, and more are on the way for 2017. The establishment of the Centre signals the Division’s commitment to progressively integrating IPE components over the next three years.”

For more about Interprofessional Education, the IPE Centre, the IPE Strategic Plan, the IPE Annual Evaluation 2016, and IPE initiatives, see otago.ac.nz/ipe.