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Health Research Excellence Awards winners

Wednesday 18 May 2016 8:37am

Winners of the Health Research Excellence Awards 2016, including Professor Rob Walker (centre, holding the Dean's Medal).

Professor Robert Walker has been awarded the prestigious Dunedin School of Medicine Dean’s Medal for Research Excellence.

The citation says Professor Walker is one of the Dunedin School of Medicine’s “most well-performed scientists”, as well as Head of the Department of Medicine, and a nephrologist (kidney specialist) at the Southern District Health Board.

His research has covered a broad range of topics relating to kidney function and resulted in well over 200 academic papers, along with membership of several national and international societies involved in kidney function research.

He received the medal last night during the annual Health Research Excellence Awards, which celebrate “the ongoing and unique research partnership” between the Dunedin School of Medicine and the Southern District Health Board.

Professor Rob Walker.

Professor Walker also won the Research Development Investment award, valued at $50,000.

His work aims to study the function of the kidneys as they age, particularly in people with complicating conditions such as diabetes.

There has not been much research on prescribing medication for such patients, when that approach is becoming increasingly relevant as the population ages and rates of those conditions rise.

Professor Walker’s work will focus on how the kidneys excrete drugs in those types of scenarios to identify more accurate and safer prescribing practices, and his research has already achieved international prominence.

Two health board staff have also been awarded inaugural Health Service Delivery grants, which demonstrates the collaboration between the health board and medical school that aims to improve patients’ care while reducing the costs of patients being readmitted to hospital.

The winners – who received the grant late last year – are Pharmacist Unit Manager Craig McKenzie and Oncologist (cancer specialist) Dr Chris Jackson.

Their particular focus was making prescribing more accurate and safer, with better communication between the hospital and health care teams that will care for patients in the community.

During the award ceremony at the Otago Museum’s Hutton Theatre, Occupational Therapist Luciana Blaga talked about her research into developing and implementing an education programme for patients on the waiting list of the Pain Service.

She received the Older Person’s Health, Clinical Support and Community Directorate Award.

Other award winners were:

Health Research Awards
Research Support Person Award
Mrs Pauline Dawson, (Women’s and Children’s Health)

Best Collaboration Award
Dr Susan Jack (Preventive and Social Medicine)

Research Publication Awards
Professor Kate Scott, (Psychological Medicine)
“Mental disorders and their association with subsequent chronic physical conditions”

Associate Professor Julia Horsfield, (Pathology)
“A neural crest origin for cohesinopathy heart defects”

Professor Philip Hill, (Preventive and Social Medicine)
“Impact of the introduction Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccination on Invasive Pneumococcal Disease in the Gambia: Population-Based Surveillance Before and After Vaccine Introduction”

Best Published Paper by a Masters or PhD Student Award
Imogen Roth (Pathology)
“The ∆133p53 Isoform and its mouse analogue ∆1222p53 promote invasion and metastasis involving pro-inflammatory molecules interleukin-6 and CCL2”

Southern District Health Board
Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Practitioners Award

Mrs Pauline Dawson (Women’s, Children’s and Public Health)

Dunedin School of Medicine Prizes and Scholarships
Gil Barbezat Summer Studentship Prize
Aaron Chester (Supervised by the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health)
“Patient-Targeted Googling: A cross-sectional study”

Highly commended
Candy Tang (Supervised by the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health)
“Exploring the Genetics and Cell Biology of Congenital Malformations”

The Lady King Scholarship
Dr Leehe Vardi (Women’s and Children’s Health)

The Dunedin School of Medicine Strategic Scholarship
Dr Joyce Lim (Surgical Sciences)

Clinical Research Scholarship
Dr Sam Taylor (Surgical Sciences)

Super Summer Studentship Award
Michael Yuan (Pathology)
Joshua Quon (Pathology)

Dunedin School of Medicine Departmental Awards
Research Support Award
Ms Anne Ryalls

General Practice and Rural Health
The Jan Breward Award for Research Excellence in General Practice
Dr Fiona Doolan-Noble

Women’s and Children’s Health
Outstanding sustained contribution to Research
Dr Ben Wheeler (Children’s Health)

Emerging Researcher Award
Dr Tania Slatter

Research Support Award
Anna Wiles

Preventive and Social Medicine
Early Career Research Award
Lindsay Robertson

Hauora Maori Leadership Award
Dr Emma Wyeth

Award for Research Impact
Associate Professor Tony Reeder

Biostatistics Award
Dr Claire Cameron

Research Support Award
Anne-Cathrine Petersen