The Rheumatology Research Unit has a long history and the University was the first to establish a dedicated research programme to study rheumatic disease in New Zealand.
The Rheumatology Research Unit has an active research agenda covering the following major themes:
- The immunopathology of rheumatoid arthritis
- Genetics of rheumatic diseases
- The impact of rheumatic disease on quality of life
- The evaluation of complimentary therapies for rheumatic disease
Dr Tony Merriman (Department of Biochemistry, Otago School of Biomedical Sciences) has also established a longterm collaboration investigating the genetics of gout in Aotearoa, which is part of a NZ$3.4m HRC programme grant.
The SAGE Study, a major multi-centre study investigating genetic and environmental factors in the aetiology of spondyloarthritis is coordinated through the Unit.
The Unit has received funding from the HRC for smoking cessation interventions in rheumatoid arthritis.
The Unit is active in both the Arthritis Research Theme and the Gut Health Network.
The Unit supervises a number of postgraduate students.
The Rheumatology Research Unit has a collaborative approach to research with ongoing research associations in New Zealand and overseas, including:
- Dr Rebecca Roberts Department of Surgerical Sciences: Genetics research
- Professor David Baxter School of Physiotherapy
- Dr Gareth Teharne Department of Psychology
- Associate Professor Jeremy Burton University of Western Ontario, Canada: Microbiology
- Professor John Highton Professor
- Dr Simon Stebbings Senior Lecturer