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Research groups at University of Otago, Christchurch

Te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo ki Ōtautahi – Tira rangahau

The University of Otago is New Zealand's most research intensive university. It is also the top-ranked university for research quality (based on PBRF evaluations).

Big Data and Better Ageing Research Group

The Big Data and Better Ageing Research group focuses on using “big data” to help understand, model and manage health conditions.


Biostatisticians in the University of Otago, Christchurch are involved in research, consultancy and teaching.

Canterbury Comprehensive Cancer Centre (C4)

The C4 brings together all those managing patients with cancer, those researching cancer, together with support groups and NGOs, and the community. It is a virtual centre which aims to bring best care for cancer in our community, enhance relevant research and to de-mystify cancer and its treatment. Contributing organisations include the University of Otago, Christchurch, the CDHB, Canterbury University and the Cancer Society.

Canterbury Rheumatology & Immunology Research Group

The Canterbury Rheumatology & Immunology Research Group undertakes research in the broad field of rheumatic diseases

Carney Centre for Pharmacogenomics

Pharmacogenomics is the study of how genes influence a patient's responses to drugs.

Centre for Free Radical Research

The Centre for Free Radical Research is undertaking a range of research projects related to the causes and consequences of oxidative stress in human disease. They are developing new methods to measure oxidative stress and its impact on cell function, and they are exploring ways to modify these processes for the improved treatment of infectious disease, cancer, and neurological disease.

Centre for Postgraduate Nursing Studies

The Centre is actively involved in research that advances nursing practice and improves health outcomes for patients nationally and internationally.

Christchurch Health & Development Study

We have followed the health, education and life progress of a group of 1,265 children born in the Christchurch (New Zealand) urban region during mid 1977.

Christchurch Heart Institute

The Institute is a multidisciplinary research unit focusing on neurohumoral factors involved in the regulation of blood pressure and salt/water balance, particularly with respect to their role in the pathophysiology of heart failure.

Christchurch Regenerative Medicine and Tissue Engineering (CReATE) Group

Tissue engineering (TE) strategies which aim to combine patient’s own cells, biodegradable scaffolds and growth factors may offer considerable advantages over current surgical interventions used to repair or regenerate damaged tissues following trauma or disease.

Clinical Pharmacology Research Group

The main research focus for the group is on the clinical application of pharmacology knowledge.

Eye Movement Research

In the Eye Movement Laboratory we use a variety of methods to make digital recordings of saccades, smooth pursuit eye movements and nystagmus.

Gene Structure and Function Laboratory

Research in the Gene Structure and Function Laboratory (GSFL) centers around the role of genetic variation in the development and treatment of disease.

General Practice Research Group

The Christchurch General Practice Research Group focuses on clinical research, where the results can be directly translated into clinical practice.


Our main area of research interest is the immunobiology of cancer and leukaemia. Our long term aim is to develop better methods for the diagnosis and treatment of malignant disease.

Health Care of the Elderly

This is a group of academic gerontologists and geriatricians with interests and enthusiasm in teaching, research and service related to care of older people.

Inflammation Research Group

The group has an active research programme on the molecular pharmacology and molecular pathology of various inflammatory conditions such as acute pancreatitis, polymicrobial sepsis and burns with the long-term goal of developing clinically effective therapeutic approaches.

Laboratory for Cell and Protein Regulation

The main themes are endocrine regulation of reproduction, female fertility, assessment of fetal welfare and gynaecological cancer.

Mackenzie Cancer Research Group

We are interested in the pathology of human tumours and in identifying the genetic changes that give rise to cancer. Our research focuses on the molecular regulation of tumour growth, metastasis and response to therapy.

Māori Indigenous Health Institute (MIHI)

The opening of the Māori/Indigenous Health Institute (MIHI) represents a major milestone in the development of Māori-focused teaching and research at the University of Otago, Christchurch.

Maternal & Fetal Health

Ongoing data is collected for both the (i) Fetal Medicine clinical unit which reviews women with complicated fetal problems or those at risk for them, and the (ii) Maternal Medical clinic where women attend with underlying medical problems.

Nutrition in Medicine Research Group

Improving patient health outcomes with bench-to-bedside nutrient research.

Mental Health Clinical Research Unit

Current studies include a psychotherapy treatment trial in depression, a psychotherapy trial in people with bipolar disorder, a comparison of three psychotherapies for binge eating, a social anxiety disorder study and a study on the genetics of depression and personality.

Molecular Pathology Lab

The Molecular Pathology Laboratory is one of the leading molecular diagnostic laboratories in Australasia.

National Addiction Centre

A university-based National Centre dedicated to developing and promoting effective interventions for people with addiction and co-existing disorders related problems in Aotearoa New Zealand.

New Zealand Brain Research Institute

Experienced researchers and talented young students use sophisticated technologies to push back the boundaries of knowledge in brain disorders.

New Zealand Multiple Sclerosis

To find out more about MS in New Zealand, a team of researchers from the Universities of Otago and Canterbury are carrying out a national prevalence study in conjunction with the MS Society of NZ.

Paediatric Research Group

The department has had long established interests in paediatric urology especially reflux, community child health, SIDS, and neonatal research.
Ongoing research activities include respiratory medicine, gastroenterology, nutrition, neonatal medicine, infectious diseases and childhood cancer.

Public Health Research

Public Health is the study and practice of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting the health of the population through the organised efforts of society.

Rural Health Academic Centre, Ashburton

The Rural Health Academic Centre (RHAC), Ashburton focuses on rurally relevant and inter-professional research, education, clinical skills, and simulation training.

Surgery Research

Including Emergency Medicine, General Surgery, Clinical Trials, Clinical Studies, Laboratory-based Research, Ophthalmology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Paediatric Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Urology, Vascular Endovascular and Transplant Surgery (VETS)

The Infection Group

We are particularly interested in the development, application and implementation of diagnostic tests that lead to real improvements in management, outcomes and surveillance of infections of global importance.