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Cardiology Research Unit

Stethoscope thumbnailThe Cardiology Research Unit's research involves contributing to multi-centre trials, including trials of new devices for coronary angioplasty, and clinical trials of new drugs for management of heart attacks, cholesterol levels, and arrhythmia.

Local research includes assessment of biomarkers as predictors of coronary stent re-stenosis after implantation.

The Research Unit is also performing a prospective study in patients with aortic valve disease evaluating what genes might be important in the development of narrowed heart valves in older persons.


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Cardiovascular and respiratory physiology

Within the Department of Physiology severalRed veins thumbnail laboratories conduct research concerned with the regulation of cardiovascular and respiratory function in both health and disease.

Specific areas of interest include:

  • How hormonal, neuronal and intrinsic processes control the heart
  • Understanding the vasculature of the lungs
  • Describing calcium regulation of heart rhythms
  • Identifying pathogenic mechanisms operating in diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart failure, hypertension and cardiac arrhythmia.


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Centre for Free Radical Research

View of Christchurch city thumbnailWe're advancing health by exploring the biology of free radicals and antioxidants.

We are an internationally-recognised leader in the field of free radical research. We apply basic scientific knowledge to underpin research into the roles of free radicals and antioxidants in human health and disease.

Our mission is to discover how free radicals and antioxidants work inside the body and how this knowledge can be used to diagnose and treat human disease and maintain optimal health.


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Centre for Translational Research

Bunch of electrodes thumbnailThe Centre for Translational Research (CTR) is a central research facility at the University of Otago, Wellington. It is designed to forge world-class research programmes that will accelerate the transfer of clinically-relevant scientific knowledge.

Translation of non-clinical research that results in real world clinical applications is a major challenge for biomedical researchers. With increasing sub-specialisation in both medical and basic biomedical disciplines, such knowledge transfer can become fragmented unless concerted efforts are made to promote their integration. A hallmark of those involved in the CTR is a willingness to collaborate on projects which utilise both scientific and clinical expertise. This is in recognition of the importance we believe translational research provides in generating answers to clinical problems.

The following topics are of particular interest:

  • Energy and metabolism
  • Neurocritical care
  • Cardiovascular genetics
  • Exercise and environmental physiology
  • Clinical physiology and biomedical engineering
  • Paediatrics
  • Acute and chronic airways disease
  • Sleep medicine


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Christchurch Heart Institute

Clinic thumbnailHere at the Christchurch Heart Institute we help save thousands of lives through research into improved diagnosis, better prediction and advanced treatments for heart disease. Our team of internationally-renowned experts directly play a role in increasing the survival of New Zealanders with heart disease.
Our research is focused on:

  • New blood tests for heart attack diagnosis and prognosis
  • Using new methods for treating heart failure and improving outcomes
  • Understanding the genetics of heart disease; why heart disease runs in some families


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D4 Network

Green capsules thumbnail D4—Diagnostics, Drugs, Devices and Discovery focuses on translational research for improving care via:

  • Creating novel point-of-care diagnostics and devices enabling targeted and selective treatments
  • Developing smart drug delivery systems and devices to improve and optimise therapy
  • Drug discovery for innovative treatments

The network draws together the disciplines of bioengineering, pharmaceutical science and drug discovery with an emphasis on collaborating with commerce and industry.


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Genetics Otago

DNA model thumbnailGenetics lies at the root of many human diseases. At Genetics Otago, we have a remarkable breadth of human genetics research studying both complex and single-gene diseases. As an example, researchers at the Cancer Genetics Laboratory are world-leaders in their field.

Our human developmental disease research provides an insight into how human embryos work, and how that is related to human health. We study both the genetics and epigenetics of human development and cell division.

Pharmocogenomics is another major area of research—this is a modern approach to understanding the side-effects of, and sensitivities to, drug treatments—by analysing the effect of a person's genes on their response to drugs.


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Healthier Lives National Science Challenge

Family on a beach thumbnailThe Healthier Lives National Science Challenge is a national research collaboration dedicated to achieving healthier lives for all New Zealanders.

We are working on the prevention and treatment of four of New Zealand’s main non-communicable diseases:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

Our mission is to deliver the right prevention to the right population and the right treatment to the right patient.


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Heart Otago

heart tissue thumbHeart Otago is comprised of cardiovascular researchers and clinicians located at the University of Otago and Dunedin Hospital. The goal of the group is to expand upon traditional cell and animal models to better understand the molecular nature of cardiac disease in patients with heart disease and to translate the laboratory-based cardiovascular research into the clinical setting.

The strong link between fundamental researchers and clinicians allows the group to study cardiac disease from genetic mutations within a single protein, through tissue and animal models, to patients presenting with a range of cardiac anomalies.

Investigations involve a wide range of techniques including:

  • Electrophysiology
  • Cell imaging
  • Genetic and biomarker screening
  • Multicellular human tissue and whole animal heart function measurements
  • Human and animal in vivo cardiac function via echocardiography


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Otago Genomics Facility

Genomics dna strand thumbnailWe provide expertise and sequencing resources to New Zealand researchers and industry including:

  • Project design and advice
  • Illumina HiSeq sequencing
  • Illumina MiSeq sequencing
  • Nanostring nCounter Analysis System

The Otago Genomics Facility is an Illumina Propel-certified service provider for Illumina HiSeq 2500 and MiSeq sequencing platforms, and is also a Nanostring nCounter Analysis System core facility.


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Otago Micro and Nanoscale Imaging (OMNI)

red connected spheres on ablue background thumbnailFour well-established and highly respected research-expertise providers have joined together under one umbrella to offer:

All the expertise, highly sophisticated instrumentation, and stellar support remains in place, as do the existing locations of services on our Dunedin campus.

The four units have collaborated on a new website as a central repository of their capabilities and achievements.

For all you need to know about what can be offered, who can help, what services, training, and specialist expertise and advice is available, please contact us.


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Otago Vascular Diagnostics

Scanning equipment thumbnailWe are a team of vascular surgeons, technologists and research staff using various diagnostic investigations to research the causes and management of vascular conditions.

The unit provides clinical diagnostic services to the Southern District Health Board, and to the wider community, to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of vascular diseases such as:

  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Carotid artery disease
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Aortic aneurysms
  • Varicose veins and venous ulcer

Our services include:

  • Medical imaging using ultrasound to capture real-time images of blood vessels and blood flow
  • Physiological testing to measure how well the vascular system is functioning both during exercise and at rest
  • Treatment of varicose veins and vascular malformations using endovenous laser therapy (EVLT) and sclerotherapy

The unit is part of the Vascular Research Group and works closely with other research groups at local, national and international levels.


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Research Infrastructure Centre

Blue human anatomical model thumbOur Research Infrastructure Centre offers specialist expertise, technology and facilities in protein research, genomics, imaging, and biomedical research.

We support optimum design and analysis of your research, and provide skill development opportunities.

Our academic leadership is of the highest calibre and we have extensively experienced and skilled staff.

Our services are available to researchers in institutions, industry, government and private companies.


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Search the Health Sciences Expertise Database

Blue human anatomical figures thumbnailThe 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 cardiovascular) or by name.

Health Sciences expertise database

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Stroke neurology

Anna Ranta thumbnailProfessor Anna Ranta’s research focuses on stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA) epidemiology and service delivery optimisation, service integration, health equity, and knowledge translation.  She is currently a stroke neurologist with Capital Coast DHB alongside her senior lecturer role with University of Otago, Wellington.

Current projects include:

  • Analysis of the NZ Stroke thrombolysis register
  • Assessing an atrial fibrillation electronic decision-support tool (HRC project with cardiologist Professor Ralph Stewart)
  • Assessing motivational interviews post-stroke (HRC Take Charge Study)
  • Assessing TIA / stroke electronic decision support in primary care including the use of TIA scores (HRC FASTEST trial)
  • Evaluating NZ Telestroke pilot (MOH)
  • TIA incidence in greater Auckland (ARCOS IV)
  • Triple antiplatelet therapy in secondary prevention of stroke (International TARDIS trial)


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Vascular Research Group

Blue veins thumbnailThe Vascular Research Group, in the Department of Surgical Sciences, Dunedin School of Medicine, is headed by Professor Andre van Rij and Associate Professor Greg Jones, and conducts a wide range of research in the fields of vascular biology, genetics, and physiology.

This multidisciplinary group has a wide range of basic science and clinical skills, including molecular biology (genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics), immunohistopathology, cell culture, and vascular physiology (ultrasonography).

The Vascular Research Group's primary research interests:

  • The genetic basis of different forms of vascular disease including abdominal aortic aneurysm, coronary artery disease, lower limb arterial disease, stroke, and varicose veins
  • Determining the early processes in the formation of atherosclerosis (arterial disease)
  • The identification of circulating markers of vascular susceptibility and/or post-interventional outcome
  • Determining the pathophysiology of venous disease

The Vascular Research Group is currently funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

Our research group is a leading member of the Vascular Research Consortium of New Zealand, which aims to support collaborative vascular networks nationally.


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Wellington Cardiovascular Research Group

Wellington harbour view thumbnailCardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death, and a significant cause or morbidity in the western world. The Wellington Cardiovascular Research Group undertakes basic science projects, translational research and clinical research into ischaemic heart disease, heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia.

Our current areas of research interest include:

  • Platelet reactivity and inflammation in ischaemic heart disease
  • Technical aspects of interventional cardiology
  • Mechanisms of ventricular arrhythmia
  • Provision of implantable cardioverter defibrillator therapy
  • Applications of novel imaging techniques to aid in diagnostic processes
  • Scoring tools for risk stratification in cardiac disease


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