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Wednesday 21 June 2017 4:31pm

Three of Otago's 19 recipients in the latest HRC funding round: Professors Parry Guilford (left), Catherine Day and Iain Lamont of Biochemistry. Photo: Sharron Bennett.

A five-year programme to examine ways of reducing the burden of stomach cancer in New Zealand has received support in the latest Health Research Council (HRC) funding round announced last week, along with 18 other Otago projects.

The programme, being led by Biochemistry's Professor Parry Guilford, has been awarded just under $5M over 60 months. It will include a series of linked, multidisciplinary projects which seek to improve understanding of environmental and genetic risk factors, identify better diagnostic methods, and create more accurately targeted treatments.

"This funding will allow Otago researchers to build upon what they have already done and continue to contribute to improvements in the health and well-being of New Zealanders."

Stomach cancer is the second greatest cause of cancer death worldwide and in New Zealand its incidence in Māori and Pacific people is three times higher than in non-Māori.

Professor Guilford says he is thrilled the programme has received such significant funding.

Altogether Otago researchers have been awarded more than $24M in new HRC funding to support their world-class studies aimed at improving New Zealanders' health and well-being.

The recipients span the University's campuses in Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington, and the projects range from an implantable light stimulator to treat Parkinson's disease, to examining community exercise for long-term management of diabetes and multi-morbidity. The grants vary between $485,000 to more than $1.4M, and 13 of the contracts are worth more than $1M.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Richard Blaikie says the HRC funding serves to illustrate the great breadth, depth and outstanding quality of health research by University of Otago researchers.

"This funding will allow Otago researchers to build upon what they have already done and continue to contribute to improvements in the health and well-being of New Zealanders. Ongoing support from the HRC is central to this, with these prestigious awards recognising the reputation for excellence Otago researchers have forged," he says.

Otago's 2017 HRC funding recipients:

(Please note: Only the first named investigator is listed here)

Programme grant

Professor Parry Guilford (Biochemsitry)
Reducing the burden of gastric cancer in New Zealand
60 months

Project grants

Associate Professor Brian Cox (Preventive & Social Medicine)
The molecular pathological epidemiology of NHL
18 months

Professor Catherine Day (Biochemistry)
Integration of inflammatory signalling by TNF receptor associated factors
36 months

Professor Leigh Hale (Physiotherapy)
Community exercise for long-term management of diabetes and multimorbidity

36 months

Professor Allan Herbison (Physiology)
GnRH neuron control of ovulation
36 months

Professor Allan Herbison (Physiology)
Deciphering the dendron for fertility control
36 months

Associate Professor Keith Ireton (Microbiology and Immunology)
Role of host exocytosis in infection of human cells by Listeria monocytogenes
36 months

Dr Hamish Jamieson (Christchurch campus)
Using the InterRAI to improve identification and management of frailty
36 months

Associate Professor Greg Jones (Surgical Sciences)
An epigenome-wide study for coronary artery disease
36 months

Professor Iain Lamont (Biochemistry)
Unmasking genes for antibiotic resistance in a superbug
36 months

Associate Professor Beverley Lawton (Wellington campus)
He Tapu Te Whare Tangata
36 months

Dr Lianne Parkin (Preventive & Social Medicine)
Are treatments for COPD increasing the risk of acute coronary syndrome?
36 months

Dr Louise Parr-Brownlie (Anatomy)
Implantable light stimulator to treat Parkinson's disease
36 months

Dr Annemarei Ranta (Wellington campus)
Geographic and ethnic inequities in stroke outcomes
36 months

Professor Stephen Robertson (Pathology)
Defining human specific genetic variants in brain developmental disorders
36 months

Dr James Stanley (Wellington campus)
The impact of racism on the future health of adults: a prospective cohort study
36 months

Professor Richard Troughton (Christchurch campus)
Reducing heart failure readmission: The IMPERATIVE-HF study
36 months

Dr Logan Walker (Christchurch campus)
Genetic modifiers of risk of familial breast and ovarian cancer
36 months

Pacific project grant

Dr Rosalina Richards (Women's and Children's Health)
Sleep and well-being among Pacific children and adolescents
32 months

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