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Pulse 54: January / February 2016

Thursday 25 February 2016 3:02pm

PVC's welcome

Peter Crampton, PVC Health SciencesKia ora koutou kātoa

Welcome to the first edition of Pulse for 2016.

This is an opportunity to reflect on our successes of the past year, of which there are many. In addition to numerous promotions (including eight professorial promotions and 16 promotions to associate professor), amongst other things the Division launched the Master of Nursing Science programme, has seen the second-year medical intake reflect New Zealand population in terms of Māori admitted (and for 2016 Pacific students as well), and celebrated our first cohort of BPharm(Hons) graduates.

Last year the Division launched two National Science Challenges, which we are also hosting: Ageing Well and Healthier Lives. We have signed MOUs with Counties Manukau DHB and Kapiti Youth Support. And perhaps most long-awaited, work has started on Dentistry's new building.

These developments have coincided with continuing high performance by our research-active staff, who collectively published almost 1900 journal articles, 83 book chapters, and 11 books and edited books in 2015.

I thank all staff for your contribution to the Division's ongoing success, and wish you well for an exciting and fruitful year!

Professor Peter Crampton
Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Division of Health Sciences

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General news

2015 Highlights

Awards and promotions

  • 8 professorial promotions and 16 promotions to Associate Professor
  • 3/5 University Early Career Awards to Health Sciences
  • Professor Kevin Pringle awarded ONZM in the New Year's Honours List
  • Carl Smith and Rowheath Trust Award to Associate Professor Suetonia Palmer
  • Prime Minister's Supreme Award for Tertiary Teaching Excellence to Associate Professor Suzanne Pitama
  • Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching to Dr Ros Kemp
  • James Cook Research Fellowship to Professor Antony Braithwaite
  • Rutherford Discovery Fellowship to Dr Logan Walker
  • Sir Charles Hercus Fellowship to Dr Tania Slatter

Programme developments

  • Master of Nursing Science (MNSc) programme launched
  • Second-year medical intake reflects New Zealand population in terms of Māori students admitted
  • First cohort of BPharm(Hons) graduates

National programmes

  • Launches of Ageing Well and Healthier Lives National Science Challenges

Divisional initiatives

  • MOUs signed with Counties Manukau DHB, KYS
  • Successfully revamped Research Forum to the Spotlight series


  • External research income of NZ$67.2 million

Building projects

  • Dental building project commenced


  • Journal articles: 1861 published
  • Book chapters: 83 published
  • Books and edited books: 11


Number of Disclosures and Deals

Number of Health Sciences Disclosures and Deals 

Disclosures by Department

Disclosures by Division or Department are not available prior to 2011.

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Otago Medical School Collaborative Grants 2015

Proposals: 40
Funded: 12

There was a very strong response to the call for proposals that went out in late-2015. Forty proposals were received and all had researchers from at least two different schools on them. The standard and strategic potential of the applications was perceived by the assessing panel to be high and we were very pleased with this response from researchers.

Overall there is a good spread of research across basic, clinical, and public health, and also an even distribution of key PIs across the different schools. Outside of the Otago Medical School, Pharmacy were named as collaborators in three of the funded proposals and a proposal involving Dentistry narrowly missed out. 

Numbers of key PIs in funded proposals

School Key PI numbers
Dunedin School of Medicine 8
Otago School of Medical Sciences 7
School of Pharmacy 3
University of Otago, Christchurch 9
University of Otago, Wellington 7

A total of NZ$762,312 was awarded for 2016.

It is hoped that a further round will happen in 2016 for funding in 2017. This will be decided in the next two months.

Awarded grants

  • A new cancer diagnostics approach – proof of concept
    • Corresponding PI Associate Professor Nigel Anderson (Radiology, UOC)
    • Key collaborating PIs Dr Greg Walker (Pharmacy)
    • Other collaborators Associate Professor Peter Sykes, Dr Dhiraj Kumar, Dr Raj Panta (UOC); Dr Khaled Greish, Neha Parayath (OSMS)
  • Developing an alternative inhaler therapy for treatment-resistant asthma
    • Corresponding PI Dr John Ashton (Pharmacology and Toxicology, OSMS)
    • Key collaborating PIs Associate Professor Bob Hancox (Preventive and Social Medicine, DSM); Dr Shyamal Das (Pharmacy)
    • Other collaborators Dr Andrea Vernal (Pharmacy); Associate Professor Ivan Sammut (OSMS); Associate Professor Michelle Glass (Auckland); Dr Cat Chang (Waikato DHB)
  • Behavioural analysis of sustained release therapeutic vaccines for treating methamphetamine addiction in preclinical mouse and guinea pig models
    • Corresponding PI Dr Andrew Clarkson (Anatomy, OSMS)
    • Key collaborating PIs Professor Sarah Hook (Pharmacy)
    • Other collaborators Dr Andrea Vernall (Pharmacy); Dr Max Berry (UOW); Dr Phillip Rendle (Victoria)
  • Empowering people with osteoarthritis to be physically active through primary care
    • Corresponding PI Dr Ben Darlow (Primary Health Care and General Practice, UOW)
    • Key collaborating PIs Dr Browyn Thompson, (Orthopaedic Surgery and Musculoskeletal Medicine, UOC); Dr Ben Hudson (General Practice, UOC); Dr Rebecca Grainger (Medicine, UOW); Associate Professor Haxby Abbott (Surgical Sciences, DSM)
    • Other collaborators Dr James Stanley, Eileen McKinlay (UOW)
  • See one, do one. Can video training improve self-performed joint counts in rheumatoid arthritis for remote disease monitoring?
    • Corresponding PI Dr Rebecca Grainger, (Medicine, UOW)
    • Key collaborating PIs Professor Lisa Stamp, (Medicine, UOC); Associate Professor Simon Stebbings (Medicine, DSM)
    • Other collaborators Associate Professor Will Taylor, Associate Professor Andrew Harrison, Dalice Sim (UOW)
  • Myoregulin: A secret code underlying heart disease
    • Corresponding PI Dr Regis Lamberts (Physiology, OSMS)
    • Key collaborating PIs Associate Professor Chris Pemberton (Medicine, UOC)
    • Other collaborator None
  • Unexpected loss of DNA methylation: Defining the mechanism of active demethylation
    • Corresponding PI Professor Ian Morison (Pathology, DSM)
    • Key collaborating PIs Professor Margreet Visseers, (Pathology, UOC); Dr Tim Hore (Anatomy, OSMS); Professor Parry Guilford (Biochemistry, OSMS)
    • Other collaborators Professor Mark Hampton, Dr Karina O'Connor (UOC); Dr Rob Weeks (DSM)
  • A clinical trial of a collaborative care package for mood disorders
    • Corresponding PI Professor Richard Porter (Psychological Medicine, UOC)
    • Key collaborating PIs Dr Giles Newton-Howes (Psychological Medicine, UOW); Dr Trudy Sullivan (Preventive and Social Medicine, DSM)
    • Other collaborators Professor Marie Crowe, Dr Marie Inder, Dr Katie Douglas (UOC); Dr Richard Tranter (Nelson–Marlborough DHB)
  • A feasibility study: Improving management of comorbidity in patients with colorectal cance
    • Corresponding PI Professor Diana Sarfati (Public Health, UOW)
    • Key collaborating PIs Dr Chris Jackson (Medicine, DSM)
    • Other collaborators Professor John McCall, Dr Stephen Chalcroft, Dr Marie McLaughlin, Dr Stephanie Ferrand (DSM); Dr K Holst, Dr Claire Hardie, Dr R Issacs (MidCentral DHB); Tracy Steine (Southern DHB); James Stanley, Virginia Signal (PhD Student) (UOW)
  • Analysis of antimicrobial resistance and its transmission among gram negative pathogens in Myanmar by whole genome sequencing
    • Corresponding PI Dr James Ussher (Microbiology and Immunology, OSMS)
    • Key collaborating PIs Professor John Crump (Centre for International Health, DSM); Professor David Murdoch (Pathology, UOC); Dr Ambarish Biswas (Microbiology and Immunology, OSMS); Professor Wah Win Htike (Medical School Yangon, Myanmar)
  • Probiotics for preventing recurrent respiratory tract infections in children
    • Corresponding PI Dr Tony Walls (Paediatrics, UOC)
    • Key collaborating PIs Professor Julian Crane (Medicine, UOW)
    • Other collaborators Associate Professor Philip Bird, Mr Steven Scott (UOC); Dr Rebecca Garland (UOW)
  • Do hypoglycaemia and sleep state impact cardiac autonomic function, T wave morphology and arrhythmia risk in youth with Type 1 diabetes?
    • Corresponding PI Associate Professor Esko Wiltshire (Paediatrics, UOW)
    • Key collaborating PIs Dr Benjamin Wheeler (Women's and Children's Health, DSM)
    • Other collaborators Professor Dawn Elder, Associate Professor Peter Larsen, Dr Angela Campbell (UOW); Associate Professor Barbara Galland, Dr Jill Hazard (DSM)

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2016 Pacific Welcome

Scene from the 2016 Pacific Welcome

On Tuesday night, the Division of Health Sciences held a formal welcome for our Pacific students and their families. It was also an opportunity to celebrate the Health Sciences Pacific Strategic Framework 2011–2015.

Invited dignatries included Fa'amatuainu Tino Pereira (High Chief, Samoa), Rev Alofa Lale (Pacific Leader), Matafanua Hilda Fa'asalele and Mrs Elizabeth Iro (Ministry of Health), and Dr Xaviour Walker (Pacific Alumni).

PVC Professor Peter Crampton received a special community acknowledgment for his work helping Pacific Island people in the fields of medicine and health sciences education.

Health Sciences Pacific Strategic Framework (PIRSSU)
Prof honoured at Pasifika welcome (ODT)

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Departmental news

Brain Health Research Centre

As part of Brain Week Otago 2016, the BHRC in association with Otago Museum and the Neurological Foundation are hosting a series of public events:

Friday, 11 March
  • Neurodome
    • The New Zealand premier of this internationally-recognised look inside the brain exploring the very fibres of our minds
    • 4.30pm and 4.45pm, Otago Museum Perpetual Guardian Planetarium (free)
    • Bookings essential (tel 03 474 7474)
  • The Power of Food on the Brain
    • Visiting Professor Massimiano Bucchi and BHRC's Professor Dave Grattan explore the role of food in culture and in the brain
    • 5.30pm–7pm, Hutton Theatre, Otago Museum
Saturday, 12 March
  • Unravelling the genetics of neurodegerative disorders
    • Professor Russell Snell discusses how genetics can influence treatment
    • 10am–11am, Hutton Theatre
  • The power of the subconscious; sleep and dreams
    • Professor David Bilkey and hypnotherapist Karen Hughes
    • 11am–12pm, Hutton Theatre
  • The power of the maternal and mind during pregnancy and foetal development
    • Associate Professor Christine Jasoni
    • 1pm–2pm, Hutton Theatre

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Dunedin School of Medicine

Department of Preventive and Social Medicine

A one-off PhD scholarship is available as part of a research programme entitled Health Future Mobility Solutions. The successful applicant will be expected to work with Alexandra Macmillan, and other members of the research team to develop a PhD project that connects with the Youth Mobility for Education, Employment or Training work stream. The aim of this work stream is to examine the spatial and transport needs of young New Zealanders (aged 15–24), by focusing on those not in education, employment or training (NEET) as an identified priority group.

The empirical research will be conducted in four Auckland locations. Applications close 2 March 2016.

Health future mobility solutions: Youth mobility for education, employment, and training (Health Sciences Postgraduate Research Opportunities Database)

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Faculty of Dentistry

Dentistry website screenshotThe new Faculty of Dentistry website was launched yesterday:

The Faculty undertakes over 60,000 patient treatments per year. For the first time, the website includes a section for patients—including information about where to go and what to expect on a first visit:

Pending additions to the website include an online payment system for patients and expanded information about Dentistry's new building project, featuring a live webcam view of the construction site.

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Genetics Otago

Big March for Genetics in Otago and New Zealand

An exciting month lies ahead for Genetics Otago members starting with celebrations of the first International Mendel Day on 8 March. It will also see our members joining a series of panels with BBC science presenter and geneticist Dr Adam Rutherford across New Zealand about the profound ways genetics will affect our lives and the environment.

Mendeling with genomes – celebrating the first Mendel Day on 8 March

To mark Gregor Mendel's unlocking of a key to life and evolution through his study of the traits of peas, Genetics Otago is presenting a free seminar about our understanding of the genomes behind traits and the ramifications of their ability to change. The seminar will be delivered by Professor Roger P. Hellens, Professor of Agricultural Biotechnology, Center for Tropical Crop and Biocommodities, Institute for Future Environments, Queensland University of Technology.

Free registration at

And for the children, Genetics Otago PhD students will help the young at heart extract DNA from bananas in the Otago Museum's Animal Attic, in the company of animals from throughout the ages. The free activity will run from 2pm–4pm on Sunday 6 March.

Gene Genie

In a series of live panels across the country, University of Otago geneticists will join BBC Four science presenter and geneticist Dr Adam Rutherford to discuss the implications of the dramatic progress in genetics research, for sex, paternity, medicine, weight control, food, species restoration, and perhaps even human survival. The five-part panel series is under the banner of the Royal Society and broadcast by RNZ National. It will include a panel on genetics and disease in Christchurch, with the University of Otago’s Professor Vicky Cameron of the Christchurch Heart Institute, and Professor Parry Guilford of the Cancer Genetics Laboratory. Other University of Otago researchers will join panels on genomics, conservation and genealogy in Dunedin, Wellington, and Tauranga.

More information at

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Otago School of Medical Sciences

Department of Anatomy

Congratulations to the following on their recent successes:

Associate Professor George Dias has received over 1800 citations for a review article published in Biomaterials in 2006. The review, co-written with Mark Staiger, Alexis Pietak, and Jerawala Huadmai of the University of Canterbury, looks at the properties, performance, challenges, and future directions of using magnesium-based biodegradable metallic biomaterials in orthopaedic implantation devices.

Biomaterials paper receives over 1800 citations (Department of Anatomy)

Dr Yusuf Cakmak has been awarded a University of Otago CALT University Teaching Development Grant to help develop his interactive avatar app. The app, currently called the Interactive Hand and Forearm Avatar, uses 3D technology to mimic the user's hand and finger movements onto a laptop screen.

Avatar app to aid anatomy learning (Department of Anatomy)

Simon Fisher's PhD thesis has been placed on the Division of Health Sciences List of Exceptional PhD Theses. The thesis, Action discovery in the basal ganglia through reinforcement of spike timing-dependent plasticity, was examined by three examiners, and defended by Simon at an oral examination in November.

Exceptional PhD thesis (Department of Anatomy)

Dr Louise Parr-Brownlie and Dr Megan Wilson have been granted funding from the New Zealand Neurological Foundation. Dr Parr-Brownlie has received a project grant for her research project Do basal ganglia inputs activate motor thalamus neurons? Dr Megan Wilson's project grant is entitled Sex-dimorphic brain development and disease: the role of non-coding RNA encoded within the Anti-Müllerian hormone locus.

Neurological Foundation grant success  (Department of Anatomy)

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Department of Biochemistry

The first SING Aotearoa programme was held at Otago from 24–29 January 2016.

The Summer internship for INdigenous peoples in Genomics (SING Aotearoa) programme is a Vision Matauranga Capability Fund project aimed at increasing Māori knowledge about advances in genetics and genomics. Sixteen interns with varying interests attended the workshop.

Faculty from the Biochemistry, Genetics, Anatomy, Māori, Mathematics and Statistics, and Anthropology departments, along with others from the Universities of Waikato and Auckland, Massey University, and AgResearch, led workshops about genetics and genomics, with particular reference to Māori populations and indigenous species.

The Department of Biochemistry and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics co-hosted laboratory courses on human genetics and the analysis of Totara DNA, which were run by Associate Professor Richard Macknight, Associate Professor Mik Black, Dr David Chagne, and Tanya Flynn from Biochemistry, together with Dr Phil Wilcox from Mathematics and Statistics.

SING-Aotearoa is modelled on an existing SING-USA programme. Two USA programme faculty mentors, Dr Nanibaa Garrison and Dr Jessica Bardill, joined SING Aotearoa to bring their experience working with American Indian and Alaska Native interns.

Rock Imager

The Department of Biochemistry has taken delivery of a new 'Rock Imager' crystal growth and imaging facility.

The Rock Imager, from Formulatrix, the leading crystal imaging platform available, allows researchers to simultaneously keep 190 plates in a temperature controlled environment, and automatically capture images of every experiment on any fixed schedule. This capacity means users can track up to 50,000 individual crystallisation trials, and check their progress from anywhere in the world over the internet. The facility has been established through combined support from a University of Otago Large Equipment Grant, a grant from Lotteries Health Research, and additional contributions from the Department of Biochemistry, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Pharmacy, and Faculty of Dentistry, as well as the Otago School of Medical Sciences and the Division of Health Sciences.

Knowledge of the exact three-dimensional structure of proteins and their complexes underpins many areas of biology. The most widely used method for determining protein structures is X-ray crystallography, which has been successfully used for decades and is used by groups at Otago across the Division of Health Sciences. However, determining a structure still hinges on the ability to grow crystals of that protein. In a typical crystallization experiment researchers will test a protein against ~500 or more chemicals, then each experiment must be checked individually in a regular manner. Traditionally this has been performed by hand using a standard light microscope. Modern projects demand the observation of protein crystallization experiments on a scale that is difficult to achieve manually. Aside from the time and physical challenge of observing thousands of microscopic experiments, manual observation misses transient crystals and tends to falsely report positive crystals. This is not surprising, given that we are only human and each crystallisation experiment is a tiny drop about 2 mm across, and 'good' crystals that do grow are normally less than 0.1 mm. Protein crystals that do grow are then exposed to powerful X-ray beams that allow researchers to determine the exact three-dimensional arrangement of atoms in that protein.

"The beauty of automated imaging is we can catch crystals that grow then disappear, or tell when a crystal has stopped growing and is ready to be harvested", says Dr Peter Mace who, with Professor Kurt Krause, has overseen establishment of the facility. "After only a few weeks we have already caught crystals that we would have missed otherwise, and now have new leads to follow up".

We are happy to report that Property Services did an excellent job in getting our second floor refurbishment completed over the Christmas break. The Day / Lamont / Brown labs have been using the undergraduate laboratories as their temporary home, so the schedule was tight and non-negotiable. The brand spanking new offices and labs are being moved back into now, with only a few small finishing touches still to be completed.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Congratulations to the Disease Research Laboratory led by Professor Frank Griffin, that has obtained a NZ$92,000 grant provided by AGMARDT, accompanied by NZ$69,000 worth of industry co-funding, to develop improved parasite diagnostic tests for the farming sector. The project also aims to identify biomarkers associated with protective immunity and host resistance. This will build on past work with Johne's disease, another significant infectious disease affecting ruminants. The group aims to develop rapid, quantitative, and species-specific DNA tests for parasite eggs and larvae that are shed by affected animals, as an alternative to conventional methods and as an adjunct to routine Johne's testing.

DRL receives Agribusiness Innovation Grant (Department of Microbiology and Immunology)

Dr Yoshio Nakatani, Research Fellow in the Cook Lab, has started a research collaboration in the field of infectious disease research with a Japanese pharmaceutical company. The research will utilise the recent findings in the Cook Lab, and the project leaders hope this will eventually lead to the development of new anti-infective drugs. Yoshio will receive collaborative research funding for two-years for the project.

Dr Yoshio Nakatani secures international collaboration funding for pathogen study (Department of Microbiology and Immunology)

Dr Adam Heikal, Research Fellow in the Cook Lab, will be bringing metabiotic development to the dairy sector with a NZ$126,988 funding grant to develop a new treatment for mastitis. The project entitled Mastitis metabiotics has been awarded an Agribusiness Innovation Grant, provided jointly by AGMARDT (The Agricultural and Marketing Development Trust) and Deosan, an innovative New Zealand-owned agribusiness. The goal of the project is to use recent landmark, advances in human biomedical drug discovery to develop the next generation of antimicrobial compounds for controlling mastitis in the New Zealand and global dairy sectors.

Dr Adam Heikel awarded Agribusiness Innovation Grant to develop mastitis treatment (Department of Microbiology and Immunology)

University students were still on holiday, but the Department was alive with bright young minds as high school students from around the country took part in the Hands-On at Otago programme. The goal of Hands-On at Otago, formerly known as Hands-On Science, is to demonstrate some of the activities that researchers are involved in and to encourage talented young New Zealanders to consider further study.  The groups attending sessions in the Microbiology and Immunology teaching labs learned flow cytometry skills, prepared blood smear slides and calculated their ELISA results using Excel.

High school students get hands-on in Department labs (Department of Microbiology and Immunology)

The Department has won two major grants from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), as part of an ongoing research commitment to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from pastoral livestock farming. The New Zealand Fund for Global Partnerships in Livestock Emissions Research, administered by MPI, co-funds internationally collaborative projects. The fund aims to achieve a portfolio of projects that balances innovation science with cost-effective and sustainable solutions for livestock farmers in New Zealand and around the world.

  • Discovery of new nitrification inhibitors to mitigate nitrous oxide emissions in grazed pasture systems
    • Professor Greg Cook
    • NZ$520,000
  • Biostimulating non-denitrifying nitrous oxide reducers
    • Dr Sergio Morales
    • NZ$189,000

Two grants from MPI (Department of Microbiology and Immunology)

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology


Dr John Ashton continues his RNZ interview series, speaking as our expert on various drugs, explaining how they work and how they affect the body and mind. John's latest interview was conducted on Saturday, 4 February 2016.

Drugs: asthma inhalers and how they work (RNZ)

Professor Paul Smith delivered a lecture in Geraldine to the University of the Third Age (U3A) on Wednesday, 10 February 2016, entitled Cannabinoid drugs for the treatment of chronic pain. Are they effective? Are they safe? The lecture was well attended and interest was such that an impromptu lecture followed relating to tinnitus and its treatment.

Dr Greg Giles will be leading a team to attend the Australian Synchrotron in Melbourne from 23–28 February 2016. While there, Greg and his team will conduct experiments on the infrared microscope beamline for the project Infrared analysis of the cellular damage response to nitric oxide.

Funding successes

Dr John Ashton received funding from the Otago Medical School Collaborative Grant round for his project Developing an alternative inhaler therapy for treatment-resistant asthma.  John will be working with Associate Professor Bob Hancox (Preventive and Social Medicine, DSM), Dr Shyamal Das and Dr Andrea Vernall (Pharmacy), Associate Professor Michelle Glass (University of Auckland), Associate Professor Ivan Sammut (Pharmacology and Toxicology, OSMS), and Dr Cat Chang (Waikato DHB).

Dr Yiwen Zheng received funding from the Otago School of Medical Sciences to attend the 10th International Tinnitus Research Initiative Conference that will be held in Nottingham, UK, from 16–18 March 2016.

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Department of Physiology

Success at OSMS Awards

The OSMS Awards and end-of-year celebration was held on Wednesday, 16 December, with Physiology staff winning three awards. Congratulations to the following people who were recognised at the Awards:

  • Dr Jeff Erickson – OSMS Emerging Researcher
  • Associate Professor Phil Sheard – OSMS Distinguished Academic Teacher
  • Best Research Paper of the Year by OSMS researcher(s) – awarded to Dr Rebecca Campbell’s lab for the paper: Moore, A. M., Prescott, M., Marshall, C. J., Yip, S.H., & Campbell, R. E. (2015). Enhancement of a robust arcuate GABAergic input to gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons in a model of polycystic ovarian syndrome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 112(2): 596–601.
Other successes

Dr Rebecca Campbell was interviewed on RNZ on 13 January.  The interview talks about the Nature Communications paper Rebecca and Professor Allan Herbison are co-authors on.

Otago Uni involved in cure to Polycystic ovary syndrome (RNZ)

Rebecca was also interviewed by The Listener recently regarding polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and the brain.

Associate Professor Ruth Empson has been awarded a Hoffman-La Roche research grant for one year.

Dr Regis Lamberts (co-PI Chris Pemberton) has been awarded an Otago Medical School Collaborative Research Grant.

OMRF Laurenson funding has been awarded to Dr Daryl Schwenke (AIs Regis Lamberts and Pete Jones).

OSMS Strategic Grants awarded to:

  • Dr Jeff Erickson  (collaborators Alison Heather, Martin Fronius, and Ivan Sammut)
  • Dr Pete Jones (co-PIs Rajesh Katare and Regis Lamberts)
  • Prof Alison Heather (for Doping in Sports Symposium)

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School of Pharmacy

We would like to welcome two new staff members into the School, Associate Professor Bruce Russell, Associate Professor in Clinical Pharmacy, and Dr Ailsa McGregor, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacology.

School of Pharmacy Research Award Winners
School of Pharmacy Research Award Winners from left: Dr Allan Gamble, Dr Prasad Nishtala, and Professor Stephen Duffull. Absent Professor Sarah Hook and Mohammed Salahudeen.

Congratulations to the following staff on their School of Pharmacy research awards for 2015:

  • Trophies:
    • Professor Stephen Duffull – Publications Diamond Medal (200 international peer-reviewed papers)
    • Professor Sarah Hook – Publications Gold Medal (75 international peer-reviewed papers)
    • Professor Sarah Hook – Researcher Excellence Award 2015
    • Dr Prasad Nishtala – Emerging Researcher Award 2015
  • Certificates:
    • Dr Allan Gamble – Best Paper Award 2015 Academic Winner
    • Mohammed Salahudeen – Best Paper Award 2015 Postgraduate Student Winner

Congratulations to the following staff on their recent funding successes:

  • Dr Shyamal Das, who was awarded NZ$40,000 from Otago Medical School Collaborative Research Grant for Developing an alternative inhaler therapy for treatment-resistant asthma. Also for his Laurenson Award (a grant in aid of NZ$28,000 for Pulmonary delivery of kanamycin dry powder for treating TB).
  • Dr Greg Walker, who was awarded NZ$110,000 from the Otago Medical School, Collaborative Research Grant for A new cancer Diagnostics approach – proof of concept.

Our guest speaker and School of Pharmacy Alumni, Angela Harwood, will address our new second year students at our White Coat Ceremony as they transition from being a student in Health Science First Year, to entering the first professional year of the Pharmacy Programme.

The White Cost Ceremony will be held on Saturday, 27 February 2016, at the Hunter Centre.

The School of Pharmacy website has more about our latest news and events.

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University of Otago, Christchurch

Professsor Lisa Stamp

Congratulations to Professor Lisa Stamp (Department of Medicine) who has been awarded one of Arthritis New Zealand's highest honours, the Jubilee Celebration Research Award which was awarded during their 50th anniversary celebrations. The award recognised Professor Stamp as a New Zealand-based academic whose research has made an impact worldwide. She is a key gout researcher both in New Zealand and internationally, and her investigations into rheumatoid arthritis have helped to improve the lives of patients living with the condition.

Arthritis researcher receives top honour (Otago Bulletin)

Teaching Awards announced at Academic Welcome

These are formal teaching awards presented each year—separate from the Gold Medal for Excellence in Teaching, which is not necessarily presented every year. These awards cover undergraduate and postgraduate teaching; and the criteria includes teaching performance, substantial contribution to course development, improving learning for teaching, PhD supervision over the previous three years.

The recipients for 2015 were:

  • Associate Professor Simon Adamson (Psychological Medicine)
  • Dr James Blake (Medicine)
  • Dr Jen Desrosiers (Population Health)
  • Associate Professor John Elliott (Medicine)
  • Dr Joanne Gullam (Obstetrics and Gynaecology)
  • Mr Scott Hallman (Dean's Department)
  • Ms Shirley Harris (Nursing)
  • Ms Tania Huria (Māori/Indigenous Health Institute)
  • Dr Wayne Morriss (Anaesthesia)
  • Professor Doug Sellman (Psychological Medicine)
  • Mr Jeremy Simcock (Surgery)
  • Dr David Smythe (Medicine)
  • Professor Margreet Vissers (Pathology)
  • Dr Anja Werno (Pathology)
Gold Medal for Excellence in Research and Gold Medal for Excellence in Teaching announced and presented at Academic Welcome
  • Research:
    • The criteria for this award is an h-index of 30, with most of the work to have been done at UOC. The 2015 recipient was Professor Richard Troughton (Medicine).
  • Teaching:
    • The criteria for this award is sustained, outstanding, excellent contribution to teaching. The 2015 recipients were Dr Andrew Miller (Pathology) and Dr Mike Hurrell (Radiology).

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Other news

Consulting biostatisticians

Within the Health Sciences Division in Dunedin there are five academic biostatisticians who are employed by the Division to provide biostatistical collaboration and advice to staff and research students in 2016, at no cost.

The biostatisticians are available for one-on-one consultations.  (If you are a research student seeking assistance, please ensure that your supervisor is informed of this and willing to accompany you to any consultation.)

The consulting biostatisticians are:

  • Dr Claire Cameron
  • Mr Andrew Gray
  • Dr Ella Iosua
  • Dr Ari Samaranayaka
  • Associate Professor Sheila Wiliams


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Changes to online staff profiles

The Health Sciences Staff Expertise Database by default now only displays authored books or book chapters, edited books, and journal articles.

Please use the Staff Profile Update Form to make changes to your profile, and log into MyResearch and choose your 'Top 25' to determine which publications are displayed.

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Pat Farry Trust Fun Run & Walk

The annual Pat Farry Trust Fun Run & Walk brings communities, healthcare professionals, and the New Zealand Rural General Practice Network together to highlight the importance and value of Rural GPs and the work of the Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust.

Previously held in Queenstown, Rotorua, and Wellington, the Fun Run & Walk has become a biennial event which will return to Dunedin this year, in conjunction with the National Rural Health Conference 2016.

The event will be held on Saturday, 2 April 2016. Pre race briefing at 6.30am with a 7am start. The course will start and finish at the Dunedin Railway Station with heading along the harbour towards Portobello.

Visit the Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust website for further details and entry forms.

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