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Centre for Translational Physiology

The Centre for Translational Physiology (CTP) is a central research facility at the University of Otago, Wellington. It is designed to forge world-class research programmes that will accelerate the transfer of clinically-relevant scientific knowledge.

Translation of non-clinical research that results in real world clinical applications is a major challenge for biomedical researchers. With increasing sub-specialisation in both medical and basic biomedical disciplines, such knowledge transfer can become fragmented unless concerted efforts are made to promote their integration. A hallmark of those involved in the CTP is a willingness to collaborate on projects which utilise both scientific and clinical expertise. This is in recognition of the importance we believe translational physiological research provides in generating answers to clinical problems.

Specialist expertise

Neurocritical care

With our specialist skills in the area of cerebral haemodynamics and blood pressure regulation, our group is ideally placed to investigate different modes of early identification and rehabilitation for acute neurological conditions.

Energy and metabolism

Energy balance and fuel utilisation are issues at the center of one of the developed world’s most pressing public health concerns – obesity. As obesity is a risk factor for a variety of other diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, a multi-modal and integrative approach to this research is required.

Clinical physiology and biomedical engineering

The clinical physiology research programme employs a mixture of physiological, imaging, and engineering techniques to understand human disease as functioning systems of molecules, cells, tissues, and organs.

Paediatric physiology

Clinicians and scientists work collaboratively in the Centre to investigate physiological impacts of infant sleep problems, physiological impacts of premature birth, and childhood diabetes.

Sleep medicine

Researchers from Otago’s WellSleep Centre work in CTP investigating efficacy of treatment options, and energy expenditure of sleep complications, particularly for those with obstructive sleep apnoea.

Human environmental chamber

The new state-of-the-art environmental chamber will allow researchers to manipulate the temperature (-20 to +50 degrees), and humidity (20% to 95%), whilst also simulating altitude (up to 5000m which is on a par with Mt Everest base camp), and pollution conditions.

It will also function as a whole-body calorimeter, which is a tool that allows us to take accurate measures of energy expenditure. This is extremely useful for investigations into the effect on, and treatment of, many medical conditions such as obesity and cardiovascular disease.

The chamber's capabilities offer a vast array of options, and allow most environmental conditions from around the world to be replicated.

Use of the chamber

For more information about either research or commercial use of the chamber please contact Terry O'Donnell, Laboratory Manager.

Researchers are already planning studies on:

  • The effects of cold and hot air exposure on airway function
  • Safety of air travel for term and pre-term infants
  • Altitude training for professional rugby players
  • Energy expenditure by ethnicity

More about the chamber and planned research