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Otago researchers funded to pursue projects benefiting NZ health

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Thursday 14 May 2015 4:17pm

Eight of the nine ‘Emerging Researcher First Grants’ awarded nationally in the Health Research Council’s (HRC) 2015 funding round have been won by up-and-coming Otago researchers.

Emerging researcher grants, which this year total more than $1.3M, support the career development of some of New Zealand’s best and brightest health researchers.

Announcing the funding results, HRC Chief Executive Dr Kathryn McPherson said recipients of emerging researcher grants are “outstanding in their respective research fields and with these grants they will be able to conduct research that will benefit the health of all New Zealanders”.

The Otago recipients include researchers from the University’s three main campuses in Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington. Their research projects range from studying how being born prematurely may affect later cardiovascular health to investigating the strong antibacterial activity of a unique subset of white blood cells known as MAIT cells.

The HRC also announced nine Feasibility Study recipients, five of whom are Otago researchers. These grants cover a range of topics including diabetes and pre-diabetes in pregnancy, and tart cherry concentrate as a potential treatment for gout flare-ups.

Otago Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Enterprise) Professor Richard Blaikie warmly congratulated all the grant recipients on their successes.

“I’m especially pleased by Otago’s exceptionally strong performance in the emerging researcher grants. This stellar showing reflects the large body of highly talented early-career staff at our University who are poised to become the research leaders of tomorrow,” Professor Blaikie says.

Otago researchers received a combined total of around $1.8M of the funding announced today by the HRC.

For more information, contact:

Professor Richard Blaikie
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Enterprise)
University of Otago
Tel 64 3 479 8513
Email dvc.research@otago.ac.nz

Otago’s HRC Emerging Researcher First Grant recipients for 2015

Dr Max Berry (Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Otago, Wellington)
Premature celebration? The late effects of early birth
24 months, $149,941
Telephone: (04) 385 5541

Dr Shyamal Das (Pharmacy)
Formulation of anti-tuberculosis drugs for high dose pulmonary delivery
36 months, $143,767
Telephone: (03) 470 4262

Dr Khoon Lim (Orthopaedic Surgery & Musculoskeletal Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch)
Growth factors delivery system for bone regeneration and vascularisation
36 months, $146,048
Telephone: (04) 388 2347

Dr Daniel Ribeiro (Physiotherapy)
The effectiveness of a monitor and feedback device for changing postural behaviour
36 months, $146,824
Telephone: (03) 479 7455

Dr Shakila Rizwan (Pharmacy)
The nose knows the way: An intranasal approach to treat drug-resistant epilepsy
36 months, $137,636
Telephone: (03) 479 5410

Dr Euan Rodger (Pathology, Dunedin)
Developing a diagnostic tool for myelodysplastic syndrome
36 months, $143,998
Telephone: (03) 470 3455

Dr Lisa Te Morenga (Human Nutrition)
Systematic review and meta-analyses on health effects of dietary carbohydrates
36 months, $149,999
Telephone: (03) 479 3978

Dr James Ussher (Microbiology & Immunology)
Mucosal associated invariant T cells: mechanisms of bacterial control in humans
36 months, $150,000
Telephone: (03) 479 5942

Otago’s HRC Feasibility Study recipients 2015

Dr Rosemary Hall (University of Otago, Wellington)
Diabetes in pregnancy effects on subsequent generations
12 months, $100,000
Telephone: (04) 806 2140

Dr Ruth Hughes (Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University of Otago, Christchurch)
PINTO: Pre-diabetes in pregnancy – can early intervention improve outcomes?
12 months, $149,966
Telephone: (03) 364 4031

Dr Sally Rose (Primary Health Care & General Practice, University of Otago, Wellington)
Facilitating partner notification and rescreening for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in primary care
12 months, $145,326
Telephone: (04) 918 6249

Professor Lisa Stamp (Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch
Effects of tart cherry concentrate on gout flares and serum urate
12 months, $144,384
Telephone: (03) 364 0253

Professor Margreet Vissers (Pathology, University of Otago, Christchurch
The efficacy and feasibility of modifying tumour metabolism for therapeutic gain
12 months, $100,000
Telephone: (03) 364 1524

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

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