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Translating our research to extend the fight against TB

Monday 3 March 2014 11:16am

Professor Greg Cook

Professor Greg Cook (Microbiology and Immunology) is the winner of the inaugural Division of Health Sciences Translational Research Grant to assist him to translate his ground-breaking research on TB into a product which will benefit society.

“We are delighted to receive this grant because it an essential stepping-stone in moving our basic research on tuberculosis into the translational phase.

“Most importantly this work will ultimately lead to a new generation of drugs to combat drug-resistant tuberculosis disease, “ Professor Cook explains.

Ian Tucker, Associate Dean (Research Commercialisation) said, “The assessment panel was mightily impressed by the quality of the research and the proposals from all groups. With TB being a re-emerging problem in our society, the panel recognized the value in Greg’s proposal for this proof-of-concept grant”.

Professor Cook’s project was selected from an initial field of 16 applications, nine of which were invited to present to the assessment panel. This panel included external members with huge experience in start-ups for innovative health products as well as Otago Innovation (OIL) and Divisional people.

Professor Cook will work in close collaboration with OIL to ensure the $50k grant is used to translate his research and hopefully result in a successful proof-of-concept.

The Translational Research Grant was developed to assist researchers in the pursuit of research that translates into societal benefits. This aligns with the Mission of the Division of Health Sciences “…and the translation of research into products and services to benefit society”. It also recognises the clear signals from government and the TEC for universities to “increase the impact universities can have on New Zealand’s development, through knowledge exchange, collaboration, research and commercialisation strategies”.

Other projects identified as having potential were Joanna Williams (Anatomy) looking at new diagnostics for Alzheimer’s Disease, Alex McLellan (Microbiology and Immunology) investigating a new diagnostic method for detecting problems with blood clotting in cancer patients, and Shakila Rizwan (Pharmacy) exploring a new device to deliver drugs directly to the brain to be used particularly for pain management.

Ian Tucker said “the competition will be held again at the end of this year and it will be advertised in August.”