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Carney Centre for Pharmacogenomics


Pharmacogenomics is the study of how genes influence a patient's responses to drugs. This research area is helping to clarify how genetic differences contribute to the risk of side effects or failure of drug treatment, and how we might better tailor treatment to each patient, leading to improved safety and effectiveness.

The Carney Centre


The Carney Centre for Pharmacogenomics was launched in May 2005, as a component of the University of Otago Leading Thinkers advancement campaign, and it received matching support from the government's Partnerships for Excellence programme. Objectives of the Centre are:

  • To carry out excellent research into pharmacogenomics, from molecule to bedside
  • To provide high quality postgraduate and medical training in pharmacogenomic areas
  • To disseminate pharmacogenomics information in ways that inform and improve clinical practice

Research Focus

The Centre comprises a cluster of interacting research groups at the University of Otago and elsewhere, with a major focus in Christchurch. Together these groups span a wide range of clinical, pharmacological and genetic expertise. As a result we have a strongly collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to pharmacogenomics with current research programmes in the following areas:

  • Mental disorders, particularly depression and bipolar disorder
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Asthma and airways disease
  • Heart disease
  • Drugs in breast milk

We use a range of methods including pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies, analysis of genetic variation in relation to drug responses, and genomic or proteomic methods for examining molecular aspects of drug action.


The Carney Centre is named in honour of our benefactors, the Jim and Mary Carney Charitable Trust.


For more information contact Professor Martin Kennedy.