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Wednesday 9 September 2015 9:07am

The Department of Pathology enjoyed triple success last week with three staff members gaining recognition in their respective fields:

Associate Professor Merilyn Hibma, a key member in a Smart Ideas research team programme, led by Dr Jo-Ann Stanton, has been awarded $999,999 over two years by the Government's Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The programme aims to develop a revolutionary method to extract genetic material for analysis using point-of-care diagnostics. Following on from the development and release of the Freedom4 PCR device in 2014, the team are developing a technique where DNA or RNA nucleic acid samples can be extracted for rapid on-the-spot diagnostics. The small battery powered device has huge potential particularly for rapid point-of-care diagnoses of infectious diseases. Contact Merilyn

Dr Aniruddha Chatterjee was the recipient The Illumina Emerging Researcher Award; a premier national level award developed to recognize and acknowledge an emerging researcher who uses molecular biology tools in New Zealand.

Anirruddha is currently applying his research to studying the processes involved in the spread of cancer in the body from a primary melanoma site. With New Zealand's high number of melanoma-related deaths, Aniruddha hopes his research will contribute to reducing such deaths.

Aniruddha also developed the first streamlined method and analysis pipeline in Australasia for large-scale mapping of DNA methylation marks across genome at single-nucleotide resolution. Although initially focused on understanding epigenetic variation in humans, Aniruddha successfully applied this method to understand epigenetic events in the model organism of zebrafish. He has since expanded his work in studying therole of alterted epigenetic profile in diseases (e.g., cancer), development and phenotypic fate. ODT article. Contact Aniruddha

Imogen Roth has been awarded Best Postgraduate Speaker prize at the inaugural Dunedin School of Medicine Symposium, with her talk: Tumour suppressor or otherwise: a p53 isoform story. Imogen is a phD student in Professor Antony Braithwaite's laboratory where her research focuses on the basic processes of cancer formation, with the main focus on a protein called p53 that prevents tumours forming and some variants (mutants and isoforms) that promote cancer. Contact Imogen

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