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BHRC researcher wins top Health Research Excellence Award

Tuesday 4 June 2019 2:51pm

On Thursday evening Brain Health Research Centre researcher Prof Dirk De Ridder was awarded the prestigious Dean's Medal at the annual Health Research Excellence Awards, for his work on neuromodulation to treat brain conditions ranging from addiction to Parkinson's Disease.

Awarded for significant and long-standing achievement in research, the medal was one of more than 30 awards announced at a function acknowledging the unique partnership between the University of Otago's Dunedin School of Medicine and the Southern District Health Board, which attracted staff from both organisations.

Dean of the Dunedin School of Medicine Professor Barry Taylor says Professor De Ridder, who holds the Neurological Foundation Chair in Neurosurgery, is a leader in neuromodulation which applies electric and magnetic stimuli to modify brain function.

"Dirk has made a major contribution to neuroscience in Dunedin and indeed across the world, and that is what we are acknowledging in this award," he says.

"His research opens the way to understanding how you might change brain function to deal with some of the chronic problems we are facing in the country at the moment."

Professor De Ridder says as a neurosurgeon the research he does has to have practical applications.

"It has to be able to be translated to the clinic where it can be used to help people who have brain-related disorders," he says.

"We are trying to treat a lot of different pathologies. Our approach tries to look at what is common between them and then use that common mechanism in the brain to try and treat multiple different brain disorders."

You can read the full press release on the Awards here and the Otago Daily Times article about his win here.