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News archive

DNA reveals history of Aotearoa’s manu

Thursday, 11 August 2022 2:48pm

Previously shrouded in mystery, the evolutionary history of kōkako, huia, and tīeke saddlebacks have been revealed by a University of Otago study.

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Repatriation ceremony 'important part of healing process'

Tuesday, 26 July 2022 2:10pm

Acknowledging and apologising for the past at a hokomaurahiri (repatriation ceremony) of Kōimi T’chakat Moriori (Moriori skeletal remains) was an important part of the healing process, the University of Otago’s representative at the ceremony says.

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‘Holy grail’ drug delivery invention secures US patent

Friday, 10 June 2022 3:25pm

A University of Otago invention that achieves the “holy grail” of targeted delivery of drugs directly to the brain has been granted a US patent.

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Scholarships awarded to Biomedical Sciences programme students

Wednesday, 11 May 2022 10:06am

The Biomedical Sciences programme awarded seven Elizabeth Jean Trotter Scholarships this year, contributing towards the tuition fees of high-achieving and well-rounded students.

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Dr Latika Samalia's teaching excellence recognised

Friday, 22 April 2022 2:14pm

Dr Latika Samalia was presented with the korowai Rauaroha to formally acknowledge the awarding of the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award of the 2021 Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards.

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Aotearoa’s first strontium isoscape developed

Thursday, 14 April 2022 9:15am

Tracing the regional origin of everything from milk to invasive bugs is now possible thanks to a University of Otago project.

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Associate Professor Louise Parr-Brownlie new Chair of Rauika Māngai

Thursday, 7 April 2022 9:38am

Associate Professor Louise Parr-Brownlie (Ngāti Maniapoto and Te Arawa) is the new Chair of Rauika Māngai, a Māori organisation that advances Mātauranga Māori, accelerates research and positively influences science policy.

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Raising awareness of endometriosis

Thursday, 31 March 2022 10:17am

As part of highlighting Endometriosis Awareness Month, Associate Professor Jane Girling from the Department of Anatomy shares why more people need to be aware of endometriosis as well as what brought her to this field of research.  

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Research offers new hope for people living with seizures

Tuesday, 22 March 2022 3:50pm

A research collaboration involving the University of Otago could change the lives of people living with seizures.

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Pūrākau science: How Dr Alana Alexander is translating science into narratives

Wednesday, 9 March 2022 1:51pm

Rutherford Discovery Fellowship recipient Dr Alana Alexander will be investigating fisheries’, disease and climate change’s effects on dolphins and whales, then translating her science into memorable narratives for Māori. 

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Blood test for early Alzheimer’s detection supported by health grant

Tuesday, 14 December 2021 3:59pm

A University of Otago researcher is another step closer to developing a blood test that can detect people at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, thanks to a NZ Lottery Health Grant.

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Staff recognised for COVID-19 efforts at Otago Staff Awards

Friday, 19 November 2021 9:13am

The recent challenges presented by COVID-19 have impacted the way most people go about their work, something noted in the recent University of Otago Staff Awards.

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Researchers pinpoint cause of fatigue during pregnancy

Thursday, 23 September 2021 2:27pm

Pregnant women now have a scientific reason for skipping the gym during pregnancy;  the same hormone gearing up the body for breastfeeding is also telling the brain to relax rather than run.

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Otago wins prestigious national teaching award

Wednesday, 22 September 2021 4:16pm

For the seventh time in 10 years, the University of Otago has won Aotearoa’s top tertiary teaching award.

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The secret to teaching is fun

Wednesday, 8 September 2021 9:00am

In a laboratory full of human cadavers, Anatomy Lecturer Dr Latika Samalia will sense when it’s time to tell one of her stories.

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Professor Neil Gemmell named Dean of School of Biomedical Sciences

Monday, 23 August 2021 2:23pm

After making global headlines in his search for the Loch Ness monster, Professor Neil Gemmell has moved on to his next adventure as the new Dean of the School of Biomedical Sciences.

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Rising star Dr Charlotte King wins Early Career Award for Distinction in Research

Friday, 9 July 2021 9:22am

Dr Charlotte King is a rising star in biological anthropology.

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Dr Michael Garratt wins Early Career Award for Distinction in Research

Friday, 9 July 2021 9:11am

Dr Michael (Mike) Garratt's continuing excellence has been recognised with an Early Career Award for Distinction in Research from the University of Otago.

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Male hormones accelerate DNA ageing

Wednesday, 7 July 2021 12:47pm

Most of us are familiar with the fact that women live longer than men. But have you ever thought about why and how this happens?

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How Aotearoa's cheeky kea and kākā will fare with climate change

Thursday, 27 May 2021 2:53pm

With global warming decreasing the size of New Zealand’s alpine zone, a University of Otago study found out what this means for our altitude-loving kea.

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Research identifies new cultural threads in goldfield early settlers

Friday, 9 April 2021 9:56am

University of Otago research analysing skeletal remains has found evidence of a range of ethnicities present on the Goldfields of Otago, proving some assumptions of the cultural make-up of early settler New Zealand to be inaccurate.

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Research discovers malaria devastating humans far earlier than expected

Friday, 12 March 2021 3:23pm

New bioarchaeological research shows malaria has threatened human communities for more than 7,000 years, earlier than when the onset of farming was thought to have sparked its devastating arrival.

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Google-glass-like electrical stimulator to zap Alzheimer’s Disease

Tuesday, 22 December 2020 11:39am

Stimulating humans’ sense of smell to prevent conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease is the focus of international research led by the University of Otago.

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Outstanding supervision recognised at OUSA Supervisor of the Year

Monday, 23 November 2020 11:40am

Two Māori academics who have helped postgraduate students flourish in their studies have been awarded the top awards at the OUSA Supervisor of the Year.

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Dates announced for Drybread Cemetery Bioarchaeology Project

Friday, 16 October 2020 9:46am

The historic Drybread Cemetery will be the focus of the latest University of Otago and Southern Cemeteries Archaeology research project, planned to begin on 16 November 2020. On-site work is expected to take around 4 weeks, with subsequent bioarchaeological laboratory research expected to take a further twelve months.

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Archaeology uncovers infectious disease spread – 4000 years ago

Monday, 21 September 2020 2:48pm

New bioarchaeology research from a University of Otago PhD candidate has shown how infectious diseases may have spread 4000 years ago, while highlighting the dangers of letting such diseases run rife.

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Breastfeeding hormone key to paternal instinct in new fathers

Thursday, 10 September 2020 9:16am

Breastfeeding hormone prolactin the key to making new fathers better dads, researchers have found.

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Breastfeeding hormone makes new fathers better dads

Monday, 7 September 2020 10:16am

Fathers of newborn babies can be forgiven for feeling a little hormonal – a new study has shown they are being flooded by the same chemical as a breastfeeding mother.

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Virtual reality brings historic Anatomy Museum to kiwi homes

Tuesday, 1 September 2020 9:36am

If you’d like to see what really makes humans tick, the country’s oldest and largest anatomy museum is giving free tours – virtually, at least.

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Otago star picked as editor for international journal

Tuesday, 18 August 2020 10:48am

A renowned Otago researcher has been named one of two new co-editors in chief for leading global quarterly journal Bioarchaeology International.

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Pūtea Tautoko saves master’s degree and helps pay mid-winter bills

Wednesday, 12 August 2020 2:33pm

As of today, 694 alumni, friends, staff, parents and students have donated an extremely generous $357,000 to the Pūtea Tautoko student financial relief fund.

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First sequencing of tuatara genome opens vault to evolutionary secrets

Thursday, 6 August 2020 9:29am

In a world first, University of Otago scientists in partnership with Ngātiwai iwi and a global team of collaborators have sequenced the genome of the tuatara – a rare reptile whose ancestors once roamed the earth with dinosaurs.

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University announces new Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic

Wednesday, 1 July 2020 12:40pm

The University of Otago announced the appointment of Professor Helen Nicholson as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, today. Professor Nicholson will take up the new role in January 2021.

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Otago research reveals how mating influences female’s life history and ageing

Tuesday, 23 June 2020 11:55am

New University of Otago research provides insight into how males influence their mates’ health, growth and fertility.

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Health and wellbeing of older New Zealanders must be a focus post-Covid: Otago researcher

Monday, 22 June 2020 10:35am

As older New Zealanders have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic, an Otago researcher warns there needs to be an emphasis on addressing older people’s future needs and to help reduce ageing inequities.

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Otago researchers discover the origins of the beloved guinea pig

Tuesday, 16 June 2020 11:12am

New University of Otago research sheds light on guinea pig domestication and how and why the small, furry animals became distributed around the world.

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Otago researcher’s COVID testing method ‘da bomb’

Tuesday, 26 May 2020 10:30am

A method to help improve testing for COVID-19, first promoted by a University of Otago researcher, is being used worldwide as countries struggle to manage high demand for testing.

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Secrets of sewage studied for COVID-19

Thursday, 23 April 2020 8:45pm

Detecting the presence of COVID-19 in sewage could become an important tool to monitor the virus and help uncover pockets of infection.

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Ancient dwarfism skeleton tells story of acceptance

Friday, 20 December 2019 10:07am

A remarkable 5000-year-old skeleton suggests human dwarfism was both accepted and respected in life and death in ancient China, research by a University of Otago bio-archaeologist shows.

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Flowers in memory of donors

Thursday, 19 December 2019 3:00pm

Staff from the department's Clinical Anatomy Research Group today lay flowers in memory of those who have donated their body to the Department for medical science teaching and research.

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Excavating skeletons in backyards all part of the job for Otago scientist

Monday, 25 November 2019 1:45pm

An Otago scientist has been digging up human remains in the backyards of Uzbek villagers to discover how people lived in the Middle Ages.

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Māori proverb a focus for Otago’s newest award-winning early-career researcher

Thursday, 14 November 2019 2:18pm

The University of Otago’s newest award-winning early-career researcher Dr Anna Gosling says a Māori proverb – “ka mura, ka muri” (we walk backwards into the future) – is a focus for her work.

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From farm boy to award-winning genetic science star

Monday, 4 November 2019 2:11pm

From Otago farm boy to cutting-edge genetic scientist, Dr Tim Hore’s story is one of constant progress.

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Otago researcher wins fellowship to uncover lives of forgotten colonial settlers

Thursday, 31 October 2019 9:58am

A University of Otago researcher is hoping to discover how long-forgotten colonial settlers and miners lived, after being awarded an important research fellowship.

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“Follow your passion” – a sit-down with Professor John Reynolds

Wednesday, 30 October 2019 7:58pm

Any university is, by design, a domain of high achievers, of those with a thirst and a quest for pushing the boundaries of what can be understood, what can be learned and what can be taught.

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2019 Staff Awards celebrate exceptional contributions

Thursday, 24 October 2019 12:08pm

A staff member who has been at Otago for 33 years is the recipient of this year’s Award for Exceptional Performance by a member of Professional Staff.

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Passion for staff wellbeing recognised

Thursday, 24 October 2019 11:51am

The mental health and wellbeing of those around her is important to Rachel Kinnaird.  Her dedication and commitment to provide a healthy work environment for her team and raise awareness of positive wellbeing within the Department of Anatomy has seen her awarded the University of Otago Excellence Award in Health and Safety (Individual) for 2019.

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Sore calves, good cause

Wednesday, 16 October 2019 10:18pm

A group of staff in Otago’s Department of Anatomy are this week sporting a sense of achievement, and also sore calf muscles, after taking part in Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand’s Stadium Climb Challenge at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Sunday.

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Staff and students give thanks

Thursday, 19 September 2019 12:35pm

The Department of Anatomy held its annual Thanksgiving Service in Dunedin recently.  Family and friends of our donors, along with staff and students attended the service to honour and remember those generous people who have donated their body to medical science teaching and research. 

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Communicating the Loch Ness study

Tuesday, 17 September 2019 9:00pm

Earlier this month Otago’s Professor Neil Gemmell travelled to Scotland to reveal the findings of his environmental DNA study of Loch Ness. Anticipating an avalanche of global media attention, Senior Communications Adviser Mark Hathaway accompanied him. He writes about the experience for the Otago Bulletin Board.

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Otago scientist reveals Loch Ness Monster could be … a giant eel

Friday, 6 September 2019 9:49pm

An Otago scientist has cast major doubt on the existence of a monster in Scotland’s Loch Ness, suggesting instead that it might be a giant eel.

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First eDNA Study Of Loch Ness Points To Something Fishy

Thursday, 5 September 2019 10:46am

University of Otago geneticist, Professor Neil Gemmell can today announce the results of investigations into the environmental DNA present in the British Isles largest and second deepest body of fresh water, Loch Ness.

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Swedish and Otago scientists shed new light on demise of two extinct New Zealand songbirds

Wednesday, 4 September 2019 9:24am

They may not have been seen for the past 50 and 110 years, but an international study into their extinction has provided answers to how the world lost New Zealand’s South Island kōkako and huia.

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Study finds fish preserve DNA 'memories' far better than humans

Friday, 9 August 2019 10:23am

We are all familiar with the common myth that fish have poor memory, but it turns that their DNA has the capacity to hold much more memory than that of humans.

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Otago study unlocks secrets of sex change in fish

Thursday, 11 July 2019 2:11pm

A University of Otago-led study is heralding advances in our understanding of one of the most startling transformations in the natural world – the complete reversal of sex that occurs in about 500 species of fish.

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Central Otago cemetery might be next for archaeological research

Wednesday, 26 June 2019 2:34pm

With successful operations in the small Otago towns of Milton and Lawrence complete, the University of Otago’s Otago Historic Cemeteries Bioarchaeology Project is now looking to partner with the historic Drybread Cemetery, deep in the heart of Central Otago.

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Otago bioarchaeologist’s 1,000-year-old discovery unravels clues about use of psychoactive plants for ritual purposes

Tuesday, 7 May 2019 12:17pm

An Otago bioarchaeologist was among a group of international archaeologists who made an exciting discovery of a “ritual bundle” in Bolivia and using chemical analysis helped unravel clues about the use of psychoactive plants for ritual purposes in the South American country a thousand years ago.

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Are New Zealand’s giant birds of prey just exiled Aussies?

Wednesday, 20 February 2019 11:24am

An international team of researchers including scientists from the University of Otago and Canterbury Museum has brought new knowledge around how the world’s largest eagle came to live in New Zealand. The study published this week in “Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution” traces the Haast’s eagle back to Australia, but it was only after more than two million years of evolution in New Zealand that the bird became a global giant. 

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Clues in Otago research as to changes in babies’ brain formation in obese mothers

Monday, 18 February 2019 9:54am

University of Otago researchers have discovered a clue as to why there are changes in the way babies’ brains are formed in mothers who are obese during pregnancy, which can potentially lead to an elevated risk of mental illness, including autism spectrum disorders.

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New heads to lead Ageing Well National Science Challenge

Wednesday, 13 February 2019 10:25am

Two women, both from the University of Otago, have been appointed to lead the Ageing Well National Science Challenge (AWNSC) in a year when it moves into the second phase of its allocation of funding.

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Innovative research aids stroke recovery

Wednesday, 30 January 2019 9:30am

Research undertaken by Professor John Reynolds and colleagues at the University of Otago has found an exciting new treatment to help people recover from the effects of a stroke.

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Students get hands-on

Monday, 28 January 2019 11:11am

The Department recent hosted ten budding young anatomists as part of the University's Hands-On at Otago programme for Year 12 and 13 students.  The students completed a research project on the knee, as well as other organised programme activities throughout the week.

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Sustained contribution to teaching recognised

Wednesday, 19 December 2018 2:03pm

A passion and drive to enhance the student learning experience in the W.D. Trotter Anatomy Museum and transform the Museum into a world class teaching facility has seen Mr Chris Smith receive the School of Biomedical Sciences Teaching Support Sustained Contribution award for 2018.

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Otago study forces a rethink on population history of Ibiza

Thursday, 6 December 2018 11:17am

Otago researchers have discovered a rare case of genetic population discontinuity on the Mediterranean Island of Ibiza. Essentially, the original genetic signature of the founding female population, handed down through centuries on Ibiza has been replaced, prompting a change in understanding of the island’s genetic history.

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Mo-tivation for fundraiser

Monday, 3 December 2018 11:29am

The death from cancer of a fellow student was a big motivation behind the group Monatomy which has been raising money to improve men’s health.

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Masters research wins paper prize

Friday, 16 November 2018 11:52am

A journal article published by postgraduate student Ashim Maharjan on the potential effects of different frequencies of non-invasive vagal nerve stimulation in humans, has seen him awarded the Department of Anatomy Postgraduate Paper Prize.

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Scientists recognised in research honours awards

Tuesday, 6 November 2018 3:24pm

Two Anatomy researchers have been honoured by the Royal Society Te Apārangi of New Zealand for their work in advancing science communication and relationships in their chosen fields of research.

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Siân Halcrow wins 2018 Carl Smith Research Medal

Tuesday, 30 October 2018 8:05pm

This year’s winner of the University’s Rowheath Trust Award and Carl Smith Research Medal, Associate Professor Siân Halcrow, says she was drawn into her research area through her experience as a third-year student taking Biological Anthropology at Otago.

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Irish Famine victims’ heavy smoking led to dental decay, new research reveals

Wednesday, 24 October 2018 9:16am

Irish Famine victims were heavy smokers which caused badly rotten teeth, researchers from the University of Otago and Queen’s University Belfast, in Ireland, have discovered.

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Researchers receive Early Career Awards

Friday, 19 October 2018 12:18pm

Dr Rosie Brown and Dr Michael Pankhurst have been awarded University of Otago Early Career Awards for Distinction in Research.  They are two of just six rising researchers in the University to receive this award in 2018.

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Poster day a celebration of postgraduate research

Thursday, 18 October 2018 11:13am

This years Poster Day was a huge occasion for all our students who presented the results of their 400-level research to staff and fellow students of the department. Ten students took part in the event, which also doubled as an assessment component for those taking the ANAT 458 paper.

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Kakī for Bird of the Year, urges Otago postgraduate

Wednesday, 19 September 2018 2:40pm

An Otago PhD student is putting her weight behind a campaign to make the one of the rarest birds in the world, the Kakī, or Black Stilt, New Zealand’s 2018 Bird of the Year.

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Researchers receive prestigious awards

Monday, 20 August 2018 2:42pm

Two young researchers from the Grattan research lab have both won prestigious awards at recent international meetings.

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Otago-led research cites faulty science and ethics in DNA analyses of ‘Ata’

Wednesday, 18 July 2018 9:15am

University of Otago-led international collaborative research calls into question the ethics and skeletal and genomic analysis surrounding research into the much publicised alien-like “Atacama mummy”.

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Researcher part of advertising campaign

Thursday, 12 July 2018 12:25pm

If Dr Louise Parr-Brownlie’s face seems familiar to you, it’s probably because you’ve seen her on TV, or in the newspaper, or on the back of a bus.

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Opinion: From Otago to Loch Ness

Tuesday, 26 June 2018 2:02pm

The tale has got it all – cutting edge technology, a mysterious creature, international participants, and the media spotlight. Otago's Professor Neil Gemmell reflects on his now famous investigation, two years in the making; the Loch Ness eDNA project.

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TEXpo an opportunity to showcase technology

Wednesday, 20 June 2018 12:00am

Dr Yusuf Cakmak and Ms Marlene Black recently took part in TEXpo, an event run as part of the national Techweek festival promoting New Zealand’s unique and inspiring innovations to the world. 

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Media enthralled with ‘hunt’ for monster

Monday, 11 June 2018 9:05pm

Drumnadrochit, a small village in the Scottish Highlands, is a peaceful spot frequented by tourists. Last week, though, teams of international media swarmed in to meet the man behind the latest plan to “find Nessie” – Otago's Professor Neil Gemmell.

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Hunt for Nessie captures hearts and minds

Wednesday, 6 June 2018 11:14pm

Otago’s Professor Neil Gemmell is now in Scotland, with teams of international media waiting to follow his every move as he searches for DNA evidence of the Loch Ness Monster.

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Cold head, funds raised

Wednesday, 30 May 2018 2:17pm

“So cold!” is the answer Anatomy PhD candidate Josh Houlton gives when asked how he feels after shaving his dreadlocks in the foyer of the Lindo Ferguson Building in support of Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand.

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Otago scientist set to tackle the mystery of Loch Ness

Monday, 21 May 2018 2:58pm

The story of the Loch Ness monster is one of the world’s greatest mysteries. We have waited more than a thousand years for an answer on its existence. Now, it is only months away.

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Researchers reveal history through exhumation of Otago graves

Thursday, 12 April 2018 10:03am

Exhumation and analysis of skeletons and burial sites in the historic Otago town of Lawrence is underway, with University of Otago researchers conducting The Otago Historic Cemeteries Bioarchaeology Project.

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New Zealand researchers help re-write the historical record of Vanuatu

Friday, 23 March 2018 10:42am

Researchers from The University of Otago are playing a key role in revealing previously unknown information about prehistoric settlement in the South Pacific.

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From the garbage to a gallery wall – the transformation of anatomy to art

Tuesday, 13 March 2018 12:04pm

Two University of Otago libraries and a Dunedin printmaker have been working together to create art from long-forgotten anatomical images.

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Students get 'hands-on' experience

Monday, 22 January 2018 3:09pm

The Department recently hosted eight enthusiastic Year 12 and 13 students as part of the 'Hands-on at Otago' programme.  They spent the week learning all about the knee -  its structures and movement, the mechanics of how the knee works, and how easily it can be damaged through sporting activity or old age.

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Anatomy success at BMS awards

Thursday, 21 December 2017 9:48am

Congratulations to our seven staff members who received School of Biomedical Sciences (BMS) Awards for their outstanding contribution to research and teaching throughout 2017. 

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Graduation day the beginning of new lives

Tuesday, 19 December 2017 11:15am

The sun shone brightly upon thirty-nine Anatomy students as they graduated with their degrees at the weekend.  Many of them, along with their friends and family, gathered in the Department beforehand to mark the special occasion.

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Spreading the joy of Christmas

Friday, 15 December 2017 11:18am

The spirit of Christmas is alive and well in the Department this season.  Staff and postgraduate students have donated a fabulous selection of toys and wrapping paper to the Santa’s Little Helper fundraiser, run by Santa’s very-own little helper, Shane Waldron. 

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Peter Hurst Scholarship awarded

Friday, 1 December 2017 1:15pm

Third year medical student Brennan Carne is the first recipient of the Peter Hurst Summer Studentship Scholarship.  Brennan is undertaking a summer research project in the Department of Anatomy with Associate Professor George Dias.  The Scholarship will provide him with financial support while he undertakes his research over the summer.

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Sneaky males adopt ‘female-like’ brains to fool big brutes

Wednesday, 29 November 2017 2:13pm

In the ever-competitive mating scene, new University of Otago research has revealed how males of some species revert to deception and disguise in order to lure females.

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A face from the past

Friday, 24 November 2017 2:10pm

The facial approximation of Otago Museum’s Egyptian mummy by Dr Louisa Baillie has brought to life the presence of a woman who lived over 2400 years ago. She is believed to have come from the ancient city of Thebes, now modern-day Luxor. Mummification was a common burial method for people living in Egypt at that time.

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Consequences of gene drive technologies for ecosystems

Friday, 17 November 2017 11:44am

Scientists working in the vanguard of new genetic technologies have issued a call to ensure that possible applications in conservation will only affect local populations.

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Postgrad receives appreciation award

Thursday, 16 November 2017 4:06pm

Congratulations to postgraduate student Anu Kaw who has received a University of Otago Disability Information and Support Appreciation Award for providing first-class tutoring support to students with a disability.

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Anatomy neuroscience researchers receive funding

Monday, 13 November 2017 2:57pm

Over $800,000 from Brain Research New Zealand (BRNZ) Rangahau Roro Aotearoa has been awarded to four researchers in the Department.  The five Project and Explorer grants will support and help develop new research in the Department in the areas of brain stimulation, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

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PhD candidate awarded best paper prize

Friday, 10 November 2017 4:21pm

A paper written by PhD candidate Vivek Perumal, as lead author, has been judged the best research paper published by an enrolled Anatomy postgraduate student in 2017.   The paper, published in Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy, looks at the fovea capitis on the head of the femur, an attachment site of the ligament of the head of femur (LHF/ligamentum teres of the hip).

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Outstanding research projects attract Marsden funding

Monday, 6 November 2017 2:05pm

Five researchers in the Department of Anatomy have attracted $3.3m in funding from the latest Marsden Fund round.  Head of Department Professor Neil Gemmell said he was delighted the excellent research undertaken in the Department has been recognised with this prestigious funding, and he was especially thrilled for the two early career researchers who have received Fast Start grants.

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Researcher awarded Hercus Fellowship

Friday, 3 November 2017 12:44pm

Congratulations to Dr Mike Pankhurst who has received a Hercus Fellowship from the Health Research Council.  Dr Pankhurst says the four-year fellowship will enable him to pursue new directions in his investigations into how anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) signalling operates in the ovary.

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Research Fellow gains Rutherford Fellowship

Thursday, 2 November 2017 10:34am

Congratulations to Dr Erica Todd who has been awarded a two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship by the Royal Society Te Apārangi Rutherford Foundation Trust.  

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Students present 400-level research projects

Monday, 30 October 2017 4:02pm

Congratulations to all our 400-level postgraduate students who took part in the Department’s 400-level Poster Day.  The event was an opportunity for them to present and discuss their research with their fellow students and staff of the Department.

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Mental Health Series: Making mental health a workplace priority

Wednesday, 11 October 2017 11:28am

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, staff members from across the University have kindly agreed to share their own mental health stories. In the final installment of this three-part series we hear from Anatomy Manager Rachel Kinnaird, who makes the mental health of her team a priority.

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Lactation hormone also helps a mother’s brain: Otago research

Tuesday, 26 September 2017 12:11pm

The same hormone that stimulates milk production for lactation, also acts in the brain to help establish the nurturing link between mother and baby, University of Otago researchers have revealed for the first time.

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Dawn of agriculture linked with poor start to life in ancient Atacama, Chile

Monday, 11 September 2017 9:29am

Learning to cultivate crops and other agricultural food – rather than relying on hunter-gathering – is often thought of as a key milestone in the history of humanity.

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Otago researchers investigate new stroke treatment

Friday, 8 September 2017 1:56pm

New Zealand stroke survivors are being sought by University of Otago researchers for an innovative study that holds promise for restoring their arm and hand function.

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Otago brain health researchers delve into dopamine

Friday, 25 August 2017 4:03pm

University of Otago researchers studying learning processes affected in brain disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have made new discoveries about how nerve impulses form memories, findings which have implications for developing new therapies for these conditions.

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Secrets of ancient Irish funeral practices revealed

Friday, 4 August 2017 12:17pm

New insights into the lifeways – and death rites – of the ancient people of Ireland are being provided through funerary studies led by a researcher at the University of Otago’s Department of Anatomy.

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Fussy fish use genetic compatibility to pick partners from afar

Thursday, 27 July 2017 11:17am

When salmon spawn, the sperm of competing males are in an all-or-nothing race to be the first to reach and fertilise the eggs.

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Otago cemetery research reveals insights into lives of early settlers

Monday, 24 July 2017 4:58pm

In the first research of its kind in New Zealand, University of Otago researchers are gaining fresh insights into the quality of life and identity of Otago’s early European settlers and farmers through excavating and analysing skeletons from unmarked graves in St. John’s Burial Ground, in Tokoiti, Milton.

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HRC funding to aid deep brain stimulation technology

Wednesday, 28 June 2017 9:47am

Dr Louise Parr-Brownlie has received $1.1M funding from the Health Research Council of New Zealand for a 3 year project grant which aims to improve the quality of life for Parkinson’s disease patients by developing the next generation of deep brain stimulation technology which has greater target specificity and reduced stimulation side effects.

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The fine line between playing God and saving species

Friday, 23 June 2017 12:57pm

New Zealand conservation workers are keen on gene-editing to eradicate pests but would rather avoid “playing God” with native species, a University of Otago study suggests.

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May graduation a day to remember

Wednesday, 21 June 2017 4:17pm

The Department shared in the celebrations of its graduates at the recent University of Otago May graduation ceremony.  It was a small but excited group of Anatomy graduands who gathered in the Department to mark the occasion.

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The amazing muscle-man a hit at open day

Wednesday, 21 June 2017 4:25pm

PhD student Josh Houlton, aka 'the amazing painted muscle-man' was a hit at the recent University of Otago Tertiary Information Day. 

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Teaching anatomy in Samoa

Tuesday, 20 June 2017 11:30am

Associate Professor George Dias recently spent two weeks at the National University of Samoa (NUS) teaching anatomy.  His visit was part of the ongoing development of the undergraduate medical programme at the University.

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Virtual reality a reality for anatomy dental students

Tuesday, 20 June 2017 4:08pm

Second year Dental students taking the first semester Anatomy paper have been using 3D virtual reality (VR) technology to reinforce their knowledge and understanding of the neuronal pathways of the head and neck.

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‘Trojan’ females may hold key to pest control

Friday, 16 June 2017 1:54pm

Pests like mice and wasps may one day be eradicated using a new technique which scientists have just proven in the laboratory on fruit flies.

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Teachers using own DNA for human evolution studies

Wednesday, 7 June 2017 12:38pm

School students who may have wondered where their teachers came from may not have to wonder much longer.

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Graduation day wedding proposal “memorable”

Wednesday, 31 May 2017 11:48am

Despite being filled with nerves, Zin Khant Aung dropped to one knee in the University’s Quad and proposed his girlfriend Rosemary Duffy on her graduation day this month – making the important day twice as special for the Bachelor of Applied Science graduate.

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New Zealand fish and chips hold human DNA clues

Wednesday, 26 April 2017 9:27am

Before you pop that piece of battered fish in your mouth, be aware it might just hold the key to understanding the origins of a form of DNA memory critical to human development.

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John Reynolds to Direct First Year Health Sciences

Wednesday, 15 February 2017 9:08pm

Professor John Reynolds of Anatomy has been appointed to a newly created role at the University of Otago aimed at overseeing the hugely popular Health Sciences First Year (HSFY) programme.

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Severe inbreeding threatens Long Island’s little spotted kiwi

Wednesday, 18 January 2017 2:02pm

A population of rare little spotted kiwi (LSK) that was thought to be thriving in a Marlborough island sanctuary is actually seriously threatened by the silent effects of inbreeding, new research led by a University of Otago scientist suggests.

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Graduation a special occasion for all

Wednesday, 21 December 2016 1:32pm

The recent December graduation was an extra special occasion for the Department of Anatomy with thirty five students graduating with degrees from the Department - six PhDs, four Masters, three BBiomedSc with Honours, nine BSc Honours, two BA Honours, one Postgraduate Diploma in Science, and ten undergraduate BSc degrees. 

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Professorship tops off wonderful year for Otago academic

Thursday, 15 December 2016 2:28pm

Being promoted to full Professor is the icing on the cake of an incredible year for John Reynolds of Anatomy.

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Portable screening device has potential to diagnose heart disease

Tuesday, 6 December 2016 2:28pm

Congratulations to co-principle investigator Dr Yusuf Cakmak who, in collaboration with members from the Auckland Bioengineering Institute, has been awarded a MedTech CoRE Seed project grant of $50,000 to further explore the potential of a portable non-invasive camera-based instrument to measure indicators of heart disease.

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Study on sexual dimorphism judged best paper

Friday, 2 December 2016 11:23am

A paper published by Ann Liu, as first author, in the journal Biology of Sex Differences, has been awarded the Best Postgraduate Paper Prize at the Department’s annual research day.  The paper details the first transcriptomic analysis of sex differences in a protogynous fish.  Using RNA-Seq, the authors characterized the transcriptomic profiles and identified genes exhibiting sex-biased expression in the brain (forebrain and midbrain) and gonads of male and female bluehead wrasses as a first step towards understanding the basal states of the molecular cascade that progressively re-engineers a female into a male.

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PhD candidates produce exceptional theses

Friday, 25 November 2016 1:11pm

Congratulations to Laura Boddington and Papi Gustafson who have both had their doctoral theses placed on the Health Sciences Divisional List of Exceptional Theses.  The list comprises only those doctoral candidates whose research is assessed by examiners as being of an exceptional standard in every respect – research content, originality, quality of expression and accuracy of presentation – and amongst the top 10% of theses examined.

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Hands-On Activities Delight Students

Friday, 18 November 2016 9:12am

School children from around the lower South Island got hands-on with anatomy, conservation genetics and neuroscience activities thanks to the Department of Anatomy and Genetics Otago’s Lab in a Box.  The mobile science laboratory has been touring the South Island, and our staff caught up with it when it visited Te Anau, Gore, Stewart Island and Bluff.

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Marsden Grant Success

Tuesday, 8 November 2016 10:48am

Congratulations to Professor Neil Gemmell, Professor Dave Grattan and Dr Helen Taylor who have been awarded funding from the Royal Society of New Zealand’s Marsden Fund.  The Fund supports research excellence in science, engineering and maths, social sciences and the humanities from all tertiary/research institutions in New Zealand, and is regarded as the hallmark of excellence for research in New Zealand. 


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Vitamins A and C help erase “memory” in stem cells

Friday, 14 October 2016 11:18am

Vitamins A and C can enhance success in the challenging process of converting adult cells into stem cells, an international study co-led by a University of Otago researcher has found.

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How to clone a mammoth

Friday, 14 October 2016 9:16am

Beth Shapiro is an evolutionary biologist who specialises in the genetics of ice age animals and plants. View the podcast of her recent public lecture 'How to clone a mammoth'.

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Thesis of Exceptional Standard

Wednesday, 12 October 2016 3:51pm

Monica Tromp’s PhD Thesis, entitled "Lapita plants, people and pigs", has been placed on the University of Otago’s Health Sciences Divisional List of Exceptional Doctoral theses, after it was deemed to be of exceptional standard by the panel of examiners.  The three experienced examiners graded it among the top 10% of theses they had examined.

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Art and Space exhibition

Tuesday, 27 September 2016 11:59am

The fourth annual Art and Space exhibition has opened at the HD Skinner Annex, Otago Museum, and runs from 10am to 3pm each day, until October 2.

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Genetic history of Aboriginal Australians revealed

Thursday, 22 September 2016 10:05am

A University of Otago bioanthropologist is among an international group of scientists who have undertaken the first population genomic study of Aboriginal Australians.

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$14M Funding Success

Thursday, 15 September 2016 10:41am

Researchers from the Department of Anatomy have enjoyed major success with the funding of four projects by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Enterprise (MBIE), together totalling over NZ $14M.

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Another conservation genomics project for the Department of Anatomy!

Tuesday, 30 August 2016 1:46pm

New research project further enhances the Department of Anatomy’s reputation as the home of Conservation Genomics.

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Pacific interests land plum positions in Germany

Wednesday, 3 August 2016 4:21pm

Two Otago Anatomy PhD bioarchaeologists have been accepted for coveted postdoctorate positions at the new Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany.

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University of Otago honours research leader

Friday, 22 July 2016 11:07am

Professor Lisa Matisoo-Smith, an internationally renowned biological anthropologist who pioneered the use of evolutionary genetics to trace Pacific migrations, is the latest recipient of the Distinguished Research Medal, the University of Otago’s highest distinction.

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Bringing Anatomy to Life

Monday, 18 July 2016 11:43am

Anatomy staff bring science to life at the International Science festival.

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Health Research Council Funding Success

Tuesday, 28 June 2016 11:39am

Four researchers from the Department of Anatomy have been successful in securing funding worth around $7.3M

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Surgical Approaches Workshop a hit with young surgeons.

Friday, 10 June 2016 11:53am

Over the long Anzac weekend, while most of us were enjoying a relaxing time with family, eight young orthopaedic surgeons were toiling away in the Anatomy Department

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Unique forensic study of early Otago farmers proposed

Monday, 30 May 2016 2:31pm

University of Otago researchers are hoping to shed new light on the quality of life and identity of Otago’s early European settlers and farmers through a proposed study that would involve excavating and analysing skeletons from unmarked graves in Tokoiti, Milton.

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Ancient DNA study finds Phoenician from Carthage had European ancestry

Thursday, 26 May 2016 10:20am

A research team co-led by a University of Otago scientist has sequenced the first complete mitochondrial genome of a 2500-year-old Phoenician dubbed the “Young Man of Byrsa” or “Ariche”, whose tomb was discovered within a hill in Carthage, Tunisia in 1994.

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First evidence found that “cryptic female choice” is adaptive

Wednesday, 23 March 2016 1:12pm

University of Otago researchers studying chinook salmon have provided the first evidence that “cryptic female choice” (CFC) enhances fertilisation success and embryo survival.

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Anatomy Otago: Oh the places you'll go!

Friday, 5 February 2016 9:57am

Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Charlotte King and PhD students Gail Elliott and Anne Sohler-Snoddy have recently returned from a research trip to Chile.

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Anatomy staff dress up for Frocktober

Friday, 9 October 2015 3:28pm

The late Dr Elspeth Gold would be tremendously proud of her colleagues in the Department of Anatomy this month – as men and women alike don dresses to support “Frocktober”.

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Obituary: Dr Elspeth Joan Gold

Monday, 7 September 2015 1:30pm

Dr Elspeth Gold, a highly respected and valued colleague, mentor and friend to many in the University of Otago and beyond, lost her courageous battle with cancer on the 21 August 2015.

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Anatomy Administrator wins 2015 General Staff Award

Tuesday, 18 August 2015 7:45pm

Department of Anatomy Administrator Sally-Ann Howard has won this year’s University of Otago General Staff Award – the second award she has received this year recognising the competence, hard work and warmth she brings to her role.

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NZ ancestry study to sample DNA of ex-pats in London

Thursday, 21 May 2015 10:29am

A University of Otago biological anthropologist will head to London in June to collect 200 DNA samples from ex-pats to complete sampling for study of the genetic origins of New Zealanders.

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Otago anatomist contributes to “landmark” text

Wednesday, 20 May 2015 1:57pm

An Otago expert on clinical anatomy has contributed to the world’s first text book on the subject, entitled Teaching Anatomy: A Practical Guide.

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Anatomy lessons get a fashionable twist

Wednesday, 15 April 2015 4:18pm

Department of Anatomy Laboratory Manager and award winning fashion designer Fieke Neuman is using her skills to create hands-on teaching aids made of fabric and textiles.

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Dental plaque reveals key plant in prehistoric Easter Island diet

Tuesday, 16 December 2014 3:44pm

A University of Otago PhD student analysing dental calculus (hardened plaque) from ancient teeth is helping resolve the question of what plant foods Easter Islanders relied on before European contact.

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Revolutionary handheld DNA diagnostic unit allows lab-quality analysis in the field

Tuesday, 26 August 2014 8:31am

A revolutionary handheld and battery-powered DNA diagnostic device invented at the University of Otago is poised to become a commonly used field tool for rapidly detecting suspected viruses or bacteria in samples while also determining the level of infection.

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Otago researcher helps sequence sheep genome

Friday, 6 June 2014 9:00am

A University of Otago researcher is among an international team that has sequenced the sheep genome, pinpointing genes that are unique to sheep, including those that help support secretion of the grease needed to maintain wool.

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Researching disaster victim identification after shark attack

Friday, 7 March 2014 4:36pm

Jenny McDowell's PhD from the University of Otago will help identify juvenile victims of marine disasters.

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Otago researchers gain new insights into ancient Pacific settlers’ diet

Thursday, 6 March 2014 3:25pm

Researchers from New Zealand’s University of Otago studying 3000-year-old skeletons from the oldest known cemetery in the Pacific Islands are casting new light on the diet and lives of the enigmatic Lapita people, the likely ancestors of Polynesians.

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Radical new "Trojan Female” pest control approach shows great promise

Wednesday, 30 October 2013 3:51pm

An innovative, non-lethal approach to pest management has the potential to become a “game-changer” in providing lasting and effective control in a wide range of insect and animal pests, according to New Zealand scientists developing the technique.

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Study of salmon sperm success shows need for speed

Wednesday, 23 October 2013 3:25pm

When salmon spawn, males competing to fertilise eggs will win or lose based primarily on their sperm swimming speed, according to a collaborative study by researchers from the University of Otago and the University of Western Australia.

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New Otago research shows early Māori probably suffered from gout

Monday, 21 October 2013 10:21am

Discoveries of early Māori skeletal remains showing tell-tale signs of gout have been corroborated by new evidence that dispels the myth that the disease was largely an upper class European affliction that did not affect any indigenous populations.

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Otago researcher selected to contribute to Australian brain research think tank

Wednesday, 17 July 2013 9:54am

Deputy Director of Otago University’s Brain Health Research Centre, Associate Professor John Reynolds, will travel to Australia next week to attend the 2013 Theo Murphy High Flyers Think Tank.

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Light cast on lifestyle and diet of first New Zealanders

Thursday, 16 May 2013 3:25pm

A University of Otago-led multidisciplinary team of scientists have shed new light on the diet, lifestyles and movements of the first New Zealanders by analysing isotopes from their bones and teeth.

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New Zealanders’ genetic diversity to be mapped

Thursday, 6 December 2012 10:00am

A leading University of Otago biological anthropologist has won a prestigious two-year James Cook Research Fellowship to undertake the first-ever survey of the genetic diversity of New Zealand’s population.

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Otago researchers map genetic code of NZ’s first settlers

Tuesday, 23 October 2012 9:52am

In a landmark study, University of Otago researchers have achieved the feat of sequencing complete mitochondrial genomes for members of what was likely to be one of the first groups of Polynesians to settle New Zealand and have revealed a surprising degree of genetic variation among these pioneering voyagers.

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Otago researchers reveal new mechanism behind more male autism

Wednesday, 15 August 2012 4:14pm

New University of Otago research into two sex hormones released by the testes of male fetuses and boys may help solve the enduring mystery of why autism is much more common in boys than girls.

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Otago researchers delve into enigmatic burial rituals

Wednesday, 9 May 2012 9:53am

University of Otago researchers working in remote Cambodian mountains are shedding new light on the lost history of an unidentified people by studying their enigmatic burial rituals.

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Charitable blue collar workers most frequent body donors: Otago study

Friday, 20 April 2012 10:09am

People who donate their bodies to science are more likely to be blue collar workers who also regularly give blood, are registered organ donors, and give frequently to charity, according to an international study led by the University of Otago.

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Preventable nerve injuries from treatments need attention: Otago research

Tuesday, 28 February 2012 10:31am

New University of Otago research suggests that a stronger focus is needed on preventing accidental nerve injury during medical treatments in New Zealand.

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Brain cell communication findings pave way for new therapies

Tuesday, 13 July 2010 2:47pm

A previously hidden mechanism regulating how brain cells communicate has been discovered by a University of Otago scientist in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Aberdeen.