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Mātai Hāora - Centre for Redox Biology and Medicine (formerly the Centre for Free Radical Research) is a group of scientists who have combined their expertise in chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology to establish one of the most recognised centres for redox biology in the world.

Our mission is to reveal the fundamental processes associated with oxygen metabolism in cells, and use this knowledge to help diagnose and treat human disease.

Current research

Some of the projects we are interested in are:

  • Helping our immune system use oxygen to kill bacteria that cause serious infections
  • Blocking the ability of cancer cells to spread and to develop resistance to treatment by disrupting their antioxidant defences
  • Detecting early signs of damage in inflammatory diseases to assist with treatment decisions and the testing of new drugs
  • Measuring changes in our cells during ageing to help understand the underlying processes, and monitor strategies aimed at reducing the burden of age-related disease

Find out more about our current research

What is redox biology?

Oxygen is essential for life. Much of the energy we require to live comes from the controlled transfer of electrons from our food to oxygen. However, oxygen can also be dangerous, stealing electrons from critical parts of cells to cause damage. The movement of electrons to and from oxygen inside living cells involves reduction and oxidation reactions, and is termed “redox biology”.

What does the name Mātai Hāora mean?

In Māori, mātai means to investigate, while hāora is the word for oxygen. refers to the breath or essence of who we are (it is drawn into the body to be transformed and energise our bodies, similar to mitochondria using oxygen to convert our food into energy), while ora means wellbeing/health/life/vitality.

Our logo contains two koru (new beginnings and development). The meeting of the koru represents a hongi, a traditional Māori greeting where two individuals press their noses together to share the . It shows trust and connectedness through the shared breath. The craters in the koru’s are based on the traditional kape motif, representing the moon (marama). Within Te Ao Māori, mārama represents enlightenment.

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