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No smoking sign thumbnailASPIRE2025 is a partnership between major New Zealand research groups carrying out research to help achieve the Government's goal of a tobacco-free Aotearoa by 2025. ASPIRE2025 brings together leading tobacco-free researchers and health service groups in New Zealand and strengthens existing collaborations.

Within ASPIRE2025 the Tobacco Treatment Forum (TTF) is made up of members from the University of Otago, Te Runanga O Toa Rangatira, Capital & Coast DHB, and Hutt Valley DHB. One of the major objectives of this forum is to promote the use of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and other evidence-based effective smokeless tobacco devices. While smoking cessation is always the most desired outcome, more options are needed to reduce harm for smokers not ready or able to quit.


The Canterbury Comprehensive Cancer Centre (C4)

Red interconnected ballsThe Canterbury Comprehensive Centre (C4) links together all health professionals involved in the clinical treatment and care of patients with cancer in the Canterbury region. This includes counsellors and support organisations working with cancer patients and their families, researchers with a cancer focus, non-governmental organisations, and the community.


Lymphoedema treatment with laser therapy

Running human anatomical figures thumbnailThe School of Physiotherapy is running the first clinical evaluation of laser treatment for lymphoedema in New Zealand. Professor David Baxter and his team are evaluating the potential effectiveness of low level laser therapy (LLLT) for breast cancer-related lymphoedema, its acceptability to patients and therapists, and the feasibility of incorporating the treatment into existing clinical practice within New Zealand's hospitals. LLLT is a non-invasive form of phototherapy, based on the principles of photobiomodulation that is light interacting with tissue to modulate biological processes, typically tissue repair.



Green capsules thumbnailThe School of Pharmacy has a very active research programme with disciplines ranging from science to humanities.

We have three main research areas:

  • Pharmaceutical Sciences: drug discovery, drug metabolism and drug action to extend the range of drugs available and to provide a scientific basis for the quality use of medicines and bioactive substances.
  • Clinical Pharmacy: concerned with patient care and the optimisation of medicine use in order to promote health and wellness, and prevent disease.
  • Social Pharmacy: our research focuses mainly on access to, and use of medicines.


Research in radiation therapy

Radiation equipment thumbnailThe Radiation Therapy Department has a very varied research portfolio ranging from preclinical cancer research and educational research to research into radiation-induced side effects, cancer patient education and information, self care of radiation therapists and advanced radiation therapy practise.


Search the Health Sciences Expertise Database

Blue human anatomical figuresThe Division of Health Sciences benefits from its high calibre of staff and their wide range of skills and research expertise.

Our Staff Expertise Database provides details on University of Otago, Health Sciences staff. Each staff profile provides information on qualifications, current academic position, contact details, and a summary of research and publications.

You can search our database by keyword (eg cancer) or by name.

Health Sciences expertise database

Social and Behavioural Research Unit

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The Social and Behavioural Research Unit was established in 1990 with core funding from the Cancer Society of New Zealand and the support of the University of Otago. Presently it has research programmes in priority areas of tobacco control, ultraviolet radiation exposure, physical activity and nutrition, psycho-social-spiritual factors, alcohol, and Hauora Māori.

Videos and research features

Exercise in cancer recovery

Postgraduate Zara Taylor's profile describes her study, research, and work with people recovering from cancer.

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From left: Zara Taylor and client.

Psycho-social-spiritual dimensions of care

View Associate Professor Richard Egan's work presented at the Otago Spotlight Series: Cancer research symposium.

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Psycho-social-spiritual dimensions of care
(video approx 18 mins)
Psycho-social-spiritual dimensions of care (PDF 1.4MB)

Therapeutic claims in pharmaceutical ads come under scrutiny

New University of Otago research suggests a need for greater monitoring of pharmaceutical advertising in New Zealand to ensure that the therapeutic claims they make are justified.

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Professor Lianne Parkin

Skin reactions during radiation therapy preventable

Severe skin reactions during radiation therapy could be prevented by applying a thin transparent silicone dressing to the skin from the first day of treatment, a clinical trial shows.

Patries Herst
Associate Professor Patries Herst

View Patries' video presentation about this research:
Reducing skin damage in radiation therapy (video approx 19 mins)
Reducing skin damage in radiation therapy (PDF 904 KB)

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