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Wednesday 1 November 2017 8:40am

PVC's welcome

Peter Crampton, PVC Health Sciences
Professor Peter Crampton.

Kia ora koutou kātoa.

Welcome to the September / October edition of Pulse.

As our students near the end of their academic year with the sitting of exams our staff continue to shine in their respective areas of expertise.

I would like to congratulate our many staff who have received national honours for their endeavours. Congratulations to Johnathan Broadbent who has recently been awarded the HRC's Liley Medal for his research into the association between upbringing and oral health as an adult.

Congratulations to those who have been tremendously successful in the Government's Endeavour Fund. Peter Dearden was awarded funding for a Smart Idea project and for a Research Programme, along with Smart Idea projects awarded to Shieak Tzeng, Monica Gerth, and Vernon Ward, and another Research Programme for Jo-Ann Stanton.

Rutherford Trust Awards have also been awarded to early career researchers Charlotte Steel and Erica Todd.

Within the University community we also have much to celebrate. Warm congratulations to Parry Guilford who has been awarded the Distinguished Research Medal, the University's highest research honour.

Congratulations also to Greg Cook's team who have been awarded the University's Research Group Award.

Our annual Divisional research forum in Wellington, focusing on child health, was an extremely successful event that was attended by many of our important external stakeholders, along with a large contingent of our own staff. Thank you to the team who organised this year's event as it continues to grow in size and impact.

In just over a month, graduation ceremonies will begin marking the end of the academic year. Many thanks to staff for supporting our students and their whānau by assisting and attending ceremonies and celebrations.

Professor Peter Crampton

Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Division of Health Sciences

General news

Liley Medal for research into oral health inequailty

Jonathan BroadbentAssociate Professor Jonathan Broadbent's study showing a clear long-term association between a child's upbringing and the state of their teeth as a middle-aged adult has seen him awarded the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) Liley Medal at the Royal Society Te Apārangi Research Honours in Auckland.

The study helps explain how socioeconomic inequalities in dental health arise, using 40 years of data following participants from the world-renowned Dunedin Multidisciplinary Study.
Otago researchers' achievements recognised at 2017 NZ Research Honours Dinner

Endeavour Fund success

The Division has had a number of staff who have been successful in obtaining funding from the Government's Endeavour Fund both in the Smart Ideas and Research Programmes categories. All of the successful projects demonstrate a strong potential to improve a range of outcomes for New Zealand.

Smart Ideas

Professor Peter Dearden (Biochemistry)
Building Better Biocontrols by switching reproduction in parasitoid wasps
(Three years, $939,999)

Associate Professor Shieak Tzeng (Surgery and Anaesthesia)
Medical device for comprehensive brain monitoring using portable magnetic resonance technology
(Two years, $999,998)

Dr Monica Gerth (Biochemistry)
Mātauranga Māori guided discovery and development of new control methods for Phytophthora
(Two years, $1,000,000)

Professor Vernon Ward (Microbiology and Immunology)
Targeting unique virus proteins with small molecule inhibitors
(Two years, $927,440)

Research Programmes

Professor Peter Dearden (Biochemistry)
Developing and applying next generation genomic selection to rapidly improve honeybee performance
(Five years, $6,344,620)

Dr Jo-Ann Stanton (Anatomy)
Real-time analytical molecular diagnostic laboratory in the palm of one's hand
(Four years, $5,999,792)

Prestigious Rutherford Trust Awards

Otago's Ms Charlotte Steel and Dr Erica Todd are among seven highly promising researchers at an early stage of their career to be awarded Rutherford fellowships and scholarships, the Royal Society Te Apārangi announced.

Ms Charlotte Steel, who is finishing a BSc(Hons) in Neuroscience at Otago, receives a three-year Cambridge-Rutherford Memorial PhD Scholarship while Dr Erica Todd, an Department of Anatomy researcher in the Gemmell Lab, has gained a two-year New Zealand Postdoctoral Fellowship.
Up-and-coming Otago scientists gain prestigious Rutherford Trust Award

2017 Distinguished Research Medal Lecture

Parry Guilford Professor Parry Guilford, an internationally renowned cancer genetics and biology expert, has been selected as the University's latest recipient of the Distinguished Research Medal, the University of Otago's highest distinction.
World leading cancer geneticist to receive Otago's highest honour

Professor Guilford will present his Distinguished Research Medal Lecture: Evolution, families and cancer at 5.30pm, Wednesday 22 November at the College of Education Auditorium, Dunedin. All welcome.
Distinguished Research Lecture: Evolution, families and cancer

Cook team wins Otago Group Research Award

Professor Greg Cook's world-leading team of microbiologists, whose work on a novel new way to fight TB infections shows great promise, has been selected as the recipient of the University of Otago's latest Research Group Award.

The prestigious award recognises outstanding research performance at a high international level at the University, where a team effort has led to the recognised contributions.
Cook team wins Otago Group Research Award


Division sends medical equipment to Samoa

Airbourne teddy bears with students and staffThe Office of Associate Dean (Pacific) provided the support to pull together all necessary arrangements and funds to send a 40 foot container of medical equipment to Samoa. The Dunedin community gave generously through several organisations and individuals (Otago's School of Biomedical Sciences, ITS, Clinical Skills Lab, Pacific Islands Centre, Anatomy Museum, Rotary, Mercy Hospital, ALSCO, Dunedin Public Hospital and Green Island Medical Centre and Lesley Dennison).

When the container arrives in Samoa in November, both Faumuina Associate Professor Fa'afetai Sopoaga and Pacific Islands Centre Manager Tofilau Nina Kirifi-Alai, along with a representative from Mercy Hospital, will be there to present the contents of the container to the Director General of Health, Dr Take Naseri. They will also present more than a 100 distraction bears knitted by the Division's staff and students, which will be given to children to distract them during hospital procedures.

Faumuina said this endeavour is an ongoing one as we seek to have an open channel with as many Pacific Island nations as possible. She acknowledged Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Crampton for his ongoing and pivotal support with this endeavour. Contributions, sponsorship and ideas to keep this channel open are always welcome.

Associate Dean Student Experience: Maree Steel

Maree SteelThe purpose of this newly established role is to provide strategic leadership to facilitate division-wide co-ordination and provision of student support and related infrastructure outside of the University of Otago Dunedin campus for domestic and international undergraduate and postgraduate students studying in the Division of Health Sciences.

A key objective is to refine and implement the Division of Health Sciences Framework to Support Student Success which is underpinned by four key concepts: outstanding student experience, effective support services, quality infrastructure, and leadership. Implementing the framework will be a collaborative effort, working with a wide range of stakeholders to develop and implement innovative structures, collaborative practices and support services that positively impact on student experiences, campus environment and student success.

The intention in the first few months of the role is to prepare a 12-month work plan that is endorsed by the Divisional Executive, assemble a governance group with a representative range of stakeholders to oversee implementation of the Framework for Student Success, engage with Associate Dean Māori and Pacific, and meet with key staff from central services, northern campuses and regional hubs. These actions will enable a clear communication pathway to be established, which is imperative for success of our collaborative efforts.

Departmental name update

The Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Otago, Wellington, has been renamed Department of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Women's Health to reflect recent changes. Staff are in the process of working through updates of websites to reflect this change.

Dunedin School of Medicine

Dean's Teaching Awards 2017

The award ceremony, held on 18 October, celebrated clinical teachers who had made outstanding contributions to the teaching and learning environment. Professor Barry Taylor presented the 2017 Awards to winners who had been nominated by year 4,5 and 6 medical students, and who had been endorsed by colleagues:

  • Child Health teaching team (Convenor Liza Edmonds): Innovation in Teaching
  • John Dunbar (Surgical Sciences): Senior Staff Award for Quality in Teaching
  • Wendy Busby (Medicine): Commendation to Senior Staff for Teaching
  • Stacey Goodson and Mike Reeves: Commendation to Invercargill Teaching Staff
  • Rob Handley (Medicine): Certificate to the Registrar Who Has Shown Commitment and Quality in Teaching
  • Keith Lee: Commendation to the Registrar Who Has Shown Commitment and Quality in Teaching
  • Jamie Leong (Women's and Children's Health): Certificate to the House Officer Who Has Shown Commitment and Quality in Teaching
  • Mostafa Amer (Medicine): Commendation to the House Officer Who Has Shown Commitment and Quality in Teaching
  • Kimberley Lee: Certificate to the Trainee Intern Who Has Shown Commitment and Aptitude for Teaching
  • Stephanie Lynch: Commendation to the Trainee Intern Who Has Shown Commitment and Aptitude for Teaching
  • Orthopaedic / Fracture Team: Certificate to the Nursing Team Who Has Provided the Best Learning Environment

Surgeon thought teaching award was a 'hoax'(ODT website)

Faculty of Dentistry

Professor Jonathan Broadbent was awarded the HRC Liley Medal.

Professor Karl Lyons has been elected Vice-President of the Australia New Zealand Division of the International Association for Dental Research.

Dr Li Mei has been presented with the Oral Biology Award by the Australia New Zealand Division of the International Association for Dental Research.

Dr Kc Li has been presented with the Joan Chong Award in Dental Materials by the Australia New Zealand Division of the International Association for Dental Research.

School of Biomedical Sciences

Department of Anatomy

Erica Todd Congratulations to Dr Erica Todd who has been awarded a two-year Rutherford Postdoctoral Fellowship for her research project Epigenetic regulation of sex change. Erica will use fish such as the spotty (Notolabrus celiodotus) and bluehead (Thalassoma bifasciatum) wrasse to study the genetic and environmental bases of sex change. She will use cutting edge genome wide analysis of epigenetic DNA modifications and measures of gene expression in the wrasses to explore how natural sex change is initiated and controlled. She will also examine how manipulating DNA modifications affects the sex change process. This research will advance the understanding of vertebrate sexual development and plasticity, and may also provide insights into human disorders of sexual development.

Jo-Ann Stanton and colleagues Dr Jo-Ann Stanton and colleagues have been awarded $5,999,792 from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Endeavour Fund for a four-year Research Programme to design a hand-held analytical tool for on-the-spot diagnostic screening. The funding will enable the team to develop a 'sample-to-result' molecular diagnostics platform that will allow non-experts to deliver results rapidly at the point-of-care, enabling front-line professionals to take immediate action. The device will purify samples, detect the diagnostic marker and report the result to the operator in under 15 minutes.

Dr Andrew Clarkson and colleagues at The Ferrier Research Institute, Victoria University, have received $6,203,540 in funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Endeavour Fund for their research project entitled Tissue repair technologies based on novel sulphated sugars. The project focuses on preparing novel products that facilitate tissue repair. The technology being developed will replace existing treatments that have undesirable side effects. Andrew is working with lead PI Dr Simon Hinkley, and Professor Richard Furneaux and Peter Tyler of The Ferrier Research Institute, and Dr Azam Ali from the Centre for Materials Science and Technology at the University of Otago.

Congratulations to Dr Bradley Hurren who received a Sustained Excellence Award at the national Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards held at Parliament in August. Brad was recognised for his enthusiasm in creating an inclusive, supportive teaching environment and instilling a passion for science in students.

The Department of Anatomy held its annual Thanksgiving Service at the Glenroy Auditorium in Dunedin in September. Staff and students of the department gathered with family and friends of its body bequest donors to honour and thank those who have so generously donated their body to the Department for health science teaching and research.

Congratulations to PhD students Josh Houlton and Deanna Barwick who completed the Cadbury Dunedin half-marathon to raise funds and awareness for the New Zealand Stroke Foundation. They have surpassed their original target of raising $1,500 for the Foundation, and now have their sights set on the Queenstown marathon in November! Well done guys.

Department of Biochemistry

Major MBIE Endeavour funding successes

Congratulations to the four Biochemistry Department researchers who are recipients in the 2017 MBIE Endeavour Funding Round:

  • Peter Dearden Professor Peter Dearden is principal investigator in the Research Programme grant: Developing and applying next generation genomic selection to rapidly improve honeybee performance which was awarded $6,344,620, and also the Smart Ideas grant of $939,999 for Building Better Biocontrols by switching reproduction in parasitoid wasps.
  • Dr Monica Gerth, has been awarded a $1,000,000 Smart Ideas grant for Mātauranga Māori guided discovery and development of new control methods for Phytophthora (the group of pathogens that cause Kauri dieback disease and Avocado root rot).
  • Dr Paul Gardner, who is joining the Department in 2018, was awarded $939,999 for the Smart Idea Building bioinformatic software for controlling protein expression.
  • Professor Kurt Krause is an associate investigator in the Smart Ideas project led by Professor Vernon Ward (Department of Microbiology and Immunology), Targeting unique virus proteins with small molecule inhibitors, which was awarded $927,440.

MBIE Funding success for Biochemistry Researchers

Otago's Distinguished Research Medal

Our congratulations to Professor Parry Guilford, the University's latest recipient of the Distinguished Research Medal. This University of Otago Medal recognises his world-leading research into cancer genetics.

Professor Guilford will present his Distinguished Research Medal Lecture: Evolution, families and cancer at 5.30pm, Wednesday 22 November at the College of Education Auditorium, Dunedin. All welcome.
Distinguished Research Lecture: Evolution, families and cancer

Featured in the media

Glowworm bioluminescence research by Departments of Biochemistry and Chemistry was recently featured on a US public radio website:
Science Friday—Shedding light on the New Zealand glow worm

Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Professor Vernon Ward awarded grant from Endeavour Fund

Professor Vernon WardCongratulations to Professor Vernon Ward, who has received funding of $927,440 over two years from the New Zealand Government's Endeavour Fund.

The Endeavour Fund aims to invests in research that has the potential to positively transform New Zealand's future, economically, environmentally and socially.

Professor Ward's project is entitled, Targeting unique virus proteins with small molecule inhibitors.

Staff and students represent the department in style at QMB meeting

Many members of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology attended last week's QMB (Queenstown Molecular Biology) meeting, winning several awards and providing the 'wow' factor for judges.

Five students won poster prizes:

Dr Simon Jacksonreceived this year's Ilumina™ Emerging Researcher Award, recognising an emerging researcher who uses molecular biology tools in New Zealand.

And last but not least, the Nobel Laureate Professor Bruce Beutler presented the 2017 Andrew Shelling Memorial trophy (also known as the Fashionomics award) to Associate Professor Peter Fineranfor his bright and eye-catching bacteriophage costume.

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology


Students test for lead toxicity Dr Morgayn Read, Abigail Bland (MSc student), and Risha Jasmine Singh (PhD student) represented the department at the 2017 Hastings Science Wananga that was held in the Hawke's Bay from 6-8 September 2017. The purpose of the visit was to assist Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga iwi with teaching to their Years 9-10 rangatahi about underground water quality. Approximately 50 rangatahi from six schools were in attendance alongside their science teachers and members from the local community.

Students studying water quality in the labMorgayn, Abigail and Risha primarily demonstrated detection of lead toxicity in water, by measuring sea monkey survival and using a colourmetric assay. The students also made 'beads' out of fruit peel which were used to purify the water by absorbing the lead. The event was well received by both the students and teachers, with comments about the clever use of re-purposing waste products to purify our waterways. Additionally, the students were enthusiastic about studying and utilising sea monkeys to assess water safety.

Dr John Ashton has been appointed Chair of the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs (EACD). This is a Ministerial appointment to the committee that decides on the classification of drugs in New Zealand. This is well deserved recognition of the contributions that John has made in the field of neuropharmacology, and cannabinoid pharmacology in particular.

Funding Successes

Rhonda RosengrenProfessor Rhonda J Rosengren has received funding from Health Sciences Division and the School of Biomedical Sciences to further Toxicology initiatives within the university.

Professor Rhonda J Rosengren has received a University of Otago Research Grant for a collaborative project with Dr Mihnea Bostina and Laura Burga entitled Gene expression profiling in triple negative breast cancer cells infected with oncolytic Seneca Valley virus.

Dr Lyn Wise has received a Dunedin School of Medicine Dean's Bequest grant for a collaborative project with Dr Merilyn Hibma and Dr Heather Cunliffe entitled Investigating a novel role for Langerhans cells in the suppression of wound healing.

Department of Physiology

Honours student awarded prestigious PhD scholarship

Charlotte SteelCongratulations to Charlotte Steel BSc(Hons) student (supervised by Assoc Prof Phil Sheard), who has been awarded a Royal Society of NZ Cambridge-Rutherford Memorial Scholarship. This extremely prestigious scholarship will provide full funding for Charlotte to undertake a PhD at Cambridge University in the UK. Only two PhD scholarships funded by the Rutherford Foundation and the Cambridge Commonwealth, European and International Trust, are funded each year. Charlotte's research project will be entitled How protein misfolding can be prevented in neurodegenerative disease.

More information on Charlotte's intended research:
Rutherford Foundation Scholarship recipient Charlotte Steel (Royal Society website)

Charlotte has also recently been appointed to the UNESCO Youth Reference Group. The successful candidates are high performing academically, display strong leadership qualities and are active in their communities. Charlotte says: “I am passionate about both the sciences and the arts, and I am interested in science communication for the benefit of the community, I hope that I can advocate for this cause as part of the Youth Reference Group, and anticipate that my involvement will be a valuable learning experience.”

Queenstown Research Week

Congratulations to the following staff and students who were awarded prizes:

  • Mauro da Silva: winner of the PSNZ Hubbard Memorial Prize for Excellence in studies towards a PhD; and winner of the Student Presentation Prize at the QRW Reproductive Biology Satellite.
  • Oby Ebenebe: winner of the PSNZ Mary Bullivant Prize for best PhD Student Presentation.
  • Colin Brown: awarded the PSNZ Triennial Medal in recognition of outstanding contribution to physiology internationally.

Sports supplements research in the media

Alison HeatherProfessor Alison Heather has been interviewed by various programmes / newspapers etc in September, including TV3 Newshub, regarding her research into sports supplements containing anabolic steroids.

TV3 Newshub coverage:
Six sports supplements sold in New Zealand found to contain steroids

47 years in Physiology book launch

A morning tea was held in the Department on 27th October to celebrate this book which was written by Nairn Smith. Nairn worked in the Department from 1965-2012 and penned his memories following his retirement.

Other congratulations

  • Professor Alison Heather who competed in (and finished!), the ITU Multisport World Championship representing Australia in Penticton, Canada on 28th August including a 3km swim, 120km bike and 30km run!
  • PhD completions: Congratulations to Adam Ware and Aaron Korpal.

School of Pharmacy

Farewell to long-standing staff members

The School farewells two iconic members of the pharmacy education this year with the retirement of John Fraser and Dr Dorothy Saville.

John Fraser 2009–2017

John Fraser John Fraser first joined the School of Pharmacy in 2009 as a professional Practice Fellow. John started as an apprentice pharmacist in 1957, gained the Diploma when a degree was not required for the profession and progressed to his position as Pharmacy Manager in 1966. John had numerous locum positions in New Zealand Hospitals and pharmacies before working as a pharmacist in New York, London and Scotland.

On returning to New Zealand, he became chief pharmacist at Balclutha Hospital for five years. In 1976 John gained his B.Sc. (Physiology), after which he accepted a position as a pharmacist at the Dunedin Hospital Pharmacy. John purchased Tuatapere Pharmacy in 1978 and Riverton Pharmacy in 1999, working a total of 30 years as a Pharmacy owner in the Southland area.

The School of Pharmacy commends John for his contributions to the School and the Pharmacy profession as he celebrates 60 years in pharmacy this December.

Dr Dorothy (Dot) Saville 1994–2017

Dorothy Saville with students in the labDot Saville is retiring after celebrating 23 years at the School of Pharmacy, University of Otago. Dot has made an outstanding contribution to the education of our future pharmacists and is well-known within the Pharmacy profession.

Dot lectured at Central Institute of Technology (Wellington) from 1972 until it closed in 1990. She began her career at the University of Otago in 1994 under the leadership of Professor Peter Coville.

The School of Pharmacy commends Dot for her contributions to the School and the Pharmacy profession, with her long career of educating future pharmacists.

Welcome Carla Dillon

Carla Dillon Welcome to Dr Carla Dillon who has joined the Professional Practice Fellow team to head the development of the skills content in the new curriculum. Carla moved from her Associate Dean in Undergraduate Studies position at Memorial University, Canada for a 1 year, fixed-term position at the School of Pharmacy. It is a privilege to have Carla in the School for this important time of transition in pharmacy education.

New blog site

The School of Pharmacy have launched the 'Pharmacy Hub' website on Otago Blogs to improve communication within the University and the School of Pharmacy:

NZAPSO launch new website

The New Zealand Association of Pharmacy Students Otago launched their new website on World Pharmacist day, 25 September 2017 followed by the election of the 2018 executives on 29 September.

Congratulations to Laura Pidcock (President), Sophie Elliot-Buma (Secretary), Ash Singh (Treasurer), Jemma Fielding (Education Representative), Ruby Gallavin (Liaison Officer), Nadine King (Student Exchange Officer/ Welfare Representative), Rebecca Angus (Social Representative), March Rooney (Sports Representative), Emma Gray (Marketing Representative) and Mitchell Smith (Revue Representative).

NZAPSO executive October 2017 650
NZAPSO's new executive team members.

School of Physiotherapy

PhD news

Congratulations to Mandeep Kaur on the submission of her PhD thesis Long term outcomes of ACL reconstruction more than 2 years following injury.

Welcome to new PhD candidate, Suranga Dassanayake, who joins us from Sri Lanka. Suranga's topic is Risk of obstructive sleep apnoea in poorly controlled hypertension – a study of two population groups.

Upcoming research events

Postgraduate symposium: Health, Movement, Cultures, and Lifestyles: Multi-disciplinary Approaches 6–7 November

With the success of last year's Postgraduate Symposium, the School of Physiotherapy (CHARR) and the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences will be hosting the 2nd Postgraduate Symposium.

8th New Zealand/Aotearoa Mobilities Symposium: Pavements and paradigms: bringing community back into Mobilities

20-21st November 2017 University of Otago, School of Physiotherapy, Dunedin

Mobilities Public Lecture: Walkers, wheelers, and beyond: What will future shared footpaths look like

20th November, 5.30 -7pm, St David's Lecture Theatre

Research Impact Conference 'Realising the Potential'

21-22 November 2017, Dunedin, New Zealand
This conference is co-costed by CHARR, School of Physiotherapy, Ageing Well National Science Challenge, and CARE Research Theme.

Research Impact Conference Public Lecture: For the people, by the people 'Steady as you go' falls prevention programme
21st November 2017, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, 5pm

University of Otago, Christchurch

One Health Aotearoa Symposium

The One Health Aotearoa Symposium brings together infectious diseases scientists and professionals from the fields of human, animal and environmental health in order to address priority infectious diseases issues such as foodborne and waterborne diseases and antibiotic resistance.

The Symposium will be held on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 December 2017 in the Nordmeyer Theatre at the University of Otago, Wellington.

Register now

Invited plenary speakers include:

  • Professor Richard Webby, St Jude Children's Research Hospital, USA
  • Dr Margot Parkes, University of Northern British Colombia, Canada
  • Professor Edward Holmes, The University of Sydney, Australia
  • Professor Helen Moewaka-Barnes, Massey University, New Zealand

One Health Aotearoa website

One Health Aotearoa river imageOne Health Aotearoa is an alliance of New Zealand's leading infectious diseases researchers committed to working together to address important health hazards in New Zealand, and beyond.

Visit our website for more about our integrative approach to understanding, preventing, and controlling infectious disease.


Other news

Upcoming IPLs

Professor Carlo Marra: The red pill or the blue? The power of decisions
School of Pharmacy
Tuesday 14 November, 5.30pm, Barnett Lecture Theatre, First Floor, Dunedin Hospital

Professor John Reynolds: Teaching an old brain new tricks
Department of Anatomy, School of Biomedical Sciences
Tuesday 21 November, 5.30pm, Archway 4 Lecture Theatre, Union Street East, Dunedin

New websites

Pharmacoepidemiology Research Network Symposium

Are you interested in the safety and utilisation of medicines and medical devices? Interested in using administrative data for health research?

Red flowers and greens leaveIf so, you might like to attend a one-day symposium which is being hosted by the Pharmacoepidemiology Research Network, and sponsored by PHARMAC and Medsafe.

Keynote address: Professor Eelko Hak (Department of PharmacoTherapy, Epidemiology, and Economics, University of Groningen) will present some examples of medicine safety research he and his colleagues have undertaken using big healthcare data in the Netherlands, as well as some of the 'smart study designs' they have employed to deal with unmeasured confounding.

Other presentations: Other speakers, including representatives from Medsafe and PHARMAC, will discuss a broad range of topics and methodological issues, including:

  • Medsafe: a life-cycle approach to medicines safety in New Zealand
  • PHARMAC and research: what we've got and what we need
  • Patterns of use of long-acting bronchodilators in New Zealanders with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: are they consistent with international treatment guidelines?
  • Co-prescribing of contraindicated and use-with-caution drugs in a national cohort of new users of simvastatin: how well are prescribing guidelines followed?
  • Are doses of lamotrigine or levetiracetam adjusted during pregnancy?
  • Codeine and tramadol use in a paediatric population in New Zealand
  • What causes the geographical variation of Parkinson's in New Zealand?
  • Simvastatin dose and acute kidney injury without concurrent muscle injury: is there a relationship?
  • Using a non-randomised step-wedge design to control for unmeasured confounding in pharmacoepidemiology studies with chronic exposures and outcomes
  • Creation of a New Zealand pregnancy cohort for medicine utilisation and safety studies
  • What difference do prescription charges make? A proposed randomised controlled trial
  • Improving metformin adherence and persistence in people with type 2 diabetes

When: 10am – 4.30pm, Wednesday 22 November

Where: St Margaret's College, 333 Leith Street, Dunedin

To register, please go to the following link:

2018 Zonta Science Awards applications open

The 2018 Zonta Science Award is a post-doctoral Award for New Zealand women scientists. The Award is aimed at an emerging scientist rather than someone well-established in their career and preference is given to a woman within seven years of obtaining PhD, working or studying within the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). The winner receives $15,000 cash, $3,000 towards overseas travel and a commemorative medal.

For further information on the 2018 award contact
Online application forms are now available at

Applications close Monday 5 February 2018.

Otago Spotlight Series: Child Health Research wrap up

Our guests including funders, policymakers, clinicians, research institutions, colleagues, and community and government agencies made for an interesting day of exploring a diverse range of disciplines, sharing ideas, making connections, and getting input from end-users. Thank you to everyone who supported, participated in, helped, and provided valuable feedback.

Most of the research presentations are now available as videos to view again at your leisure, and to share with colleagues who were unable to attend.
Spotlight Series videos now available

The finalists of the Student Poster Competition also presented their research work to the large Spotlight Series audience for final judging, and were very well received.
We congratulate them:

First place

Fraser JefferyA cost benefit analysis of the use of routine serology in reducing the burden of re-immunisation in children who have undergone chemotherapy for childhood cancer.

Fraser Jeffery1,Tony Walls2, Siobhan Cross3
1 Medical student, University of Otago, Christchurch
2 Department of Paediatrics, University of Otago, Christchurch
3 Children's Haematology Oncology Centre, Canterbury District Health Board

Second place – Otago Medical Research Society Prize

Hannah Best Therapeutic targeting of cellular clearance pathways in neurodegenerative Batten disease.

Hannah Best1, Katherine White2, Jill Weimer2, Stephanie Hughes1
1 Department of Biochemistry, Brain Health Research Centre, University of Otago
2 Pediatric and Rare Disease Group, Sanford Research, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA

Highly Commended presentations

Heather BarnesInvestigating potential NAFLD predisposition in preterm guinea pigs.

Heather Barnes1, Rebecca Dyson1, Clint Gray1, Jane Anderson2, Max Berry1
1 Perinatal and Developmental Physiology group, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Otago, Wellington
2 Department of Pathology, University of Otago, Wellington

Conway NiuIntermittent hypoxia in preterm and term infants up to 42 weeks postmenstrual age: Preliminary results of a 1-year longitudinal observational study

Conway Niu1, Angela Campbell2, Peter Larsen3,Dawn Elder1
1 Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Otago, Wellington
2 WellSleep, Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Wellington
3 Department of Surgery and Anaesthesia, University of Otago, Wellington

2017 Child Health Research Student poster competition
Posters on display at the University of Otago, Wellington.

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