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Disease control

Disease control research at the University of Otago is extensive. It includes communicable and non-communicable diseases, developmental factors, and methods of treatment.

AIDS Epidemiology Group

Red folded ribbon thumbnailThe AIDS Epidemiology Group (AEG) has been responsible for national surveillance of AIDS and HIV infection in New Zealand since 1989.

Our aims are to:

  • Monitor the epidemic of HIV/AIDS in New Zealand through ongoing surveillance
  • Develop, and when appropriate, to apply, new methods of monitoring and evaluation, and
  • Contribute to the wider knowledge of HIV infection and AIDS

Email aidsepigroup@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/aidsepigroup

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Brain Health Research Centre

Blue and green cells thumbnailScientists at the Brain Health Research Centre are undertaking cutting-edge internationally recognised research into the workings of the brain in health and disease, and are developing new treatments for neurological disorders.

Email bhrc@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/bhrc

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Cancer and Chronic Conditions (C3) research group

Large group of researchers thumbnailThe Cancer and Chronic Conditions (C3) research group is a collaborative group of researchers working at the interface between public health, health services research, and clinical medicine. Our work includes a range of projects aimed at reducing the impact of cancer and chronic conditions on population health and health inequalities through policy and health system change.

Email diana.sarfati@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/wellington/publichealth/research/cancercontrol

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Cancer Research at Otago

Blue and white segmented circles thumbnailAt Otago we have a huge number of researchers working to advance the prevention, detection, and management of cancer in New Zealand, and beyond.

Explore our directory of cancer research groups or select a topic:

Our cancer research website also has informative articles and short videos of researchers presenting easy-to-understand outlines of their research.

Web otago.ac.nz/cancer-research

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Cardiovascular Disease at Otago

Capsules and a medical chart thumbnailCardiovascular disease (CVD) is the collective term for diseases of the heart and blood vessels. CVD kills more than one in three New Zealanders, and is responsible for more than 30,000 hospital admissions each year.

Cardiovascular Disease at Otago is a directory of research groups and collaborations relevant to CVD research associated with the University of Otago.

We aim to reduce the health burden of CVD through cultivating research excellence and improving health policy, workforce training, and practice.

Explore our directory of CVD research groups or select a topic:

Our CVD website also has informative articles and short videos of researchers presenting easy-to-understand outlines of their research.

Web otago.ac.nz/cvd

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Centre for International Health

Children walk through a rural village thumbnail

The Centre for International Health facilitates and promotes research to contribute to the understanding and improvement of health in under-resourced countries, and focuses on postgraduate training and strategic mentorship of leaders.

Email cih@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/internationalhealth

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Centre for Neuroendocrinology

Rainbow arcuate thumbnailThe CNE comprises ten research groups focused upon understanding how the brain controls hormone levels and how hormones control brain function.

We have three themes of research that focus upon understanding the neural regulation of:

  • Reproduction
  • Body weight and metabolism
  • Stress

Email allan.herbison@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/neuroendocrinology

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Centre for Translational Cancer Research—Te Aho Matatū

Paua shell thumbnailTranslational cancer research bridges the gap between laboratory-based science and treatment in the clinic. We now have sufficient knowledge in the fields of cancer biology, molecular biology, and immunology to make a significant impact on the treatment and management of cancer.

We're bringing about rapid improvements in cancer outcomes by addressing defined clinical problems. Our research is accelerating the development and testing of new drugs and diagnostic tools that directly assist clinicians and their patients.

Email ctcr@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/ctcr

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Centre for Pacific Health

Pacific wooden pots on blue cloth thumbThe Centre for Pacific Health is home to a dedicated team of Pacific and non-Pacific researchers working in areas of importance to Pacific communities in New Zealand and internationally.

Pacific health is a holistic concept that encompasses broader ideas on well-being to encompass physical, mental, and spiritual aspects. With more than 20 different cultures captured under the umbrella of ‘Pacific’, there are unique approaches to health that mean health care, health systems and health services can be enriched with further understanding of Pacific-specific approaches to health.

Email centre.pacifichealth@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/centre-pacific-health

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Child Health Research at Otago

Young child flexing muscles thumbnailChild Health Research at Otago gathers together the research expertise and activities of scientists investigating health issues primarily affecting our youngest New Zealanders.

We also partner with a wide range of stakeholders, communities, institutions, and nations beyond New Zealand to collaborate on health issues of global significance.

Explore our research:

Email healthsciences.research@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/child-health-research

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Christchurch Heart Institute

Researcher in hospital ward thumbnailHere at the Christchurch Heart Institute we help save thousands of lives through research into improved diagnosis, better prediction and advanced treatments for heart disease. Our team of internationally-renowned experts directly play a role in increasing the survival of New Zealanders with heart disease.
Our research is focused on:

  • New blood tests for heart attack diagnosis and prognosis
  • Using new methods for treating heart failure and improving outcomes
  • Understanding the genetics of heart disease; why heart disease runs in some families

Email paula.deroeper@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/chch-heart-institute

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D4 Network

Green capsules thumbnail D4—Diagnostics, Drugs, Devices and Discovery focuses on translational research for improving care via:

  • Creating novel point-of-care diagnostics and devices enabling targeted and selective treatments
  • Developing smart drug delivery systems and devices to improve and optimise therapy
  • Drug discovery for innovative treatments

The network draws together the disciplines of bioengineering, pharmaceutical science and drug discovery with an emphasis on collaborating with commerce and industry.

Email joel.tyndall@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/d4

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Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research (EDOR)

Scrabble letters thumbnailOur mission is Reducing the global burden of diabetes and obesity. We aim to reduce the prevalence, and to improve the management, of diabetes and obesity by finding new ways to prevent and treat these conditions. By striving for research excellence and encouraging international collaboration we can bring the greatest benefit to New Zealanders and the wider world. We’re sharing our discoveries with individuals, communities, teachers, health professionals and policymakers.

Email diabetes@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/diabetes

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Genetics Otago

Model of DNA thumbnailGenetics Otago is the largest centre for advanced genetics research in Australasia, with researchers and facilities covering the full spectrum of genetics research. In relation to infectious diseases our research includes:

  • Applied genetics research
    Our researchers are at the forefront of selecting and producing new traits for biologically-based industries. These industries are the backbone of the New Zealand economy.
  • Developmental genetics research
    We study genes and development in numerous vertebrates and invertebrates. We work to identify genes associated with human developmental disease, and on epigenetics, and human and plant biology.
  • Microbial research
    Our researchers study the biology of these organisms, including how viruses interact with other organisms and the immune system, and how they might be harnessed to deliver health benefits.

Email go@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/genetics/research/

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Genomics Aotearoa

Graphic of DNA double helix thumbnailThe University of Otago is to lead a $35 million project known as Genomics Aotearoa, a new science platform supporting advanced genomics research.

GA is an alliance of Universities of Auckland, Massey and Otago and Crown Research Institutes: AgResearch, ESR, Landcare Research, and Plant & Food, together with 32 associates.

Genomics Aotearoa focuses on national collaborations between genomics and bioinformatics researchers and users in the areas of health, environment and primary production—life sciences that are centrally important to New Zealand's economic, environmental and social wellbeing.

GA will undertake nationally significant and enabling research activities including:

  • Understanding of the variation in the genomes of New Zealand population for use by health service providers
  • Determining how well an environment is functioning from analysis of DNA in samples of air, water or soil, and creating tools to determine how best to respond to threats such as climate change or invasive species
  • Using genomic knowledge of indigenous and pest species to inform conservation management of our endangered plants and animals
  • Documenting very complex genomes (genotype) and understanding how these affect the characteristics of an organism (phenotype) for pest eradication, and to improve breeding for primary production

Email genomics.aotearoa@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/biochemistry/research/themes/otago673820.html

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Hauora Manawa / Heart Health: The Community Heart Study

Researcher in hospital ward thumbnailThis research aims to collect data on the current levels of established heart disease, levels of previously undiagnosed diabetes, cardiovascular disease and their risk factors in randomly-selected population samples from two diverse Maori communities, Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairoa in Hawkes Bay, and Mana Whenua ki Waitaha in Canterbury, as well as a non-Maori control group in Canterbury.

Web otago.ac.nz/christchurch/research/hauoramanawa/

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Health Environment and Infection Research Unit (HEIRU)

Blue bacteria thumbnailThe Health, Environment and Infection Research Unit is a collaboration of researchers focused on the impact of infectious diseases and adverse environmental factors on population health. We use a range of research methods to investigate these health concerns; to identify effective interventions to reduce the burden of disease and inequalities; and to support the move to greater environmental sustainability. HEIRU aims to provide evidence-based recommendations and advice to support New Zealand and international agencies and practitioners in their disease prevention and control activities.

Email michael.baker@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/wellington/publichealth/research/heiru

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Healthier Lives National Science Challenge

Family at the beach thumbnailThe Healthier Lives National Science Challenge is a national research collaboration dedicated to achieving healthier lives for all New Zealanders.

We are working on the prevention and treatment of four of New Zealand’s main non-communicable diseases:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

Our mission is to deliver the right prevention to the right population and the right treatment to the right patient. We plan to do this in partnership with stakeholders and communities by generating world class research, and translating our research findings into innovative health policy, practice, and technology, designed for New Zealand’s unique communities.

Five high-level research programmes have been identified as priorities:

  • Personalised prevention through new technologies
  • Minimally invasive markers for effective cancer diagnosis and treatment
  • Enhanced CVD and diabetes risk reduction
  • Delivering culturally centred health initiatives
  • Slowing progression of prediabetes to diabetes

Email healthier.lives@otago.ac.nz
Web healthierlives.co.nz

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Hugh Adam Cancer Epidemiology Unit

Research article thumbnailThe Unit regularly examines trends in cancer incidence, mortality, and survival in New Zealand as well as conducting research into the causes, detection, and prevention of cancer. Collaborative studies are being, or have been, conducted of cancer of the prostate, breast, colon, rectum, cervix, skin (melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer), stomach, ovary, mouth and oral cavity, lung, head and neck, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia in New Zealand. In addition, with biomedical scientists, studies linking specific cancer risk factors with biological mechanisms of cancer development of are being undertaken.

The Unit also specialises in the design, evaluation and monitoring of national cancer screening programmes and the calculation of an individual's risk of specific cancers. The individual risk calculator for melanoma has been accepted internationally. The Unit has numerous collaborations with national and international institutions and also represents New Zealand in the International Cancer Screening Network of the National Cancer Institute (USA) and the International Lung Cancer Consortium of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (WHO).

Email hughadam.unit@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/dsm/hughadam

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The Infection Group

Blue virus particle thumbnailWe are a research collaboration between the University of Otago and the Canterbury District Health Board based in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The Infection Group is also an integral member of One Health Aotearoa, an alliance of New Zealand’s leading infectious diseases researchers who are committed to working together to tackle important infectious diseases locally and globally.The Infection Group are interested in all aspects of human infection, and our research aims to provide new insights into the prevention, management, surveillance and control of infections of global importance.

Infection Group research includes:

  • Antimicrobials
  • Application of molecular diagnostics in routine diagnostic microbiology
  • Breath research
  • Influenza
  • Invasive bacterial infections
  • Legionnaires' disease
  • Pneumonia
  • Vitamin D
  • Zoonotic disease transmission

Email the-infection-group@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/infection-group

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Infectious Disease Research at Otago

Infectious disease virus particlesThis website highlights the research expertise and activities of scientists investigating human, animal, and environmental infectious diseases in Aotearoa / New Zealand. We also partner with a wide range of stakeholders, institutions and communities to collaborate on infectious disease issues of global significance.

You can search the site via a list of all groups, or by topic:

Email healthsciences.research@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.z/infectious-disease

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Māori Indigenous Health Institute (MIHI)

Research volunteer having an echocardiogram thumbnailThe Māori Indigenous Health Institute (MIHI) undertakes and supports research that explores Māori health inequities and building excellence in research evidence that contributes to Māori health advancement.

  • Medical education research
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Heart Health: The Hauora Manawa community heart study
  • Respiratory disease
  • Mental health
  • Community service

Email mihi.uoc@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/christchurch/departments/mihi

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One Health Aotearoa

Hand reaching into a river thumbnailOne 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.

A key lesson from recent infectious diseases outbreaks, including Ebola in West Africa, and efforts to control antimicrobial resistance, is that now, more than ever, we need to work across sectors, and reverse the trend towards increasing compartmentalization. Importantly, issues are addressed in a real-world context, with early involvement of key stakeholders and easier translation into policy.

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

Email: one.health@otago.ac.nz
Web: onehealth.org.nz

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Otago Genomics Facility

Genomics dna strand thumbnailWe provide expertise and sequencing resources to New Zealand researchers and industry including:

  • Project design and advice
  • Illumina HiSeq sequencing
  • Illumina MiSeq sequencing
  • Nanostring nCounter Analysis System

The Otago Genomics Facility is an Illumina Propel-certified service provider for Illumina HiSeq 2500 and MiSeq sequencing platforms, and is also a Nanostring nCounter Analysis System core facility.

Email genomics@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/genomics

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Otago Global Health Institute (OGHI)

Gambia village thumbnailWe aim to improve global health and save lives, by identifying and evaluating solutions to important health problems in low-resource settings.

We work to address the world's most pressing health problems through research collaborations with low- and middle-income countries, and with disadvantaged groups in New Zealand.

We draw upon New Zealand's unique connections with Asia and the Pacific. Our extensive international partnerships and cross-disciplinary collaborations enable us to carry out innovative and rigorous research to advance global health.

Email jacqui.hadingham@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/global-health

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Pacific Health Research at Otago

Pacific floral garland thumbnailTalofa lava, kia orana, malo e lelei, fakaalofa lahi atu, bula vinaka, malo ni, halo ola keta, mauri, fakatalofa atu, and warm Pacific greetings!

We're celebrating our Pacific health research in the Division of Health Sciences.

Learn about what's going on in Pacific health research, how we can support researchers, and where to start if you're excited about research.

Email pirssu@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/pacific-health-research

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School of Pharmacy

Green capsules thumbnailThe School of Pharmacy has a very active research programme with disciplines ranging from science to humanities.

We have three main research areas:

  • Pharmaceutical Sciences: drug discovery, drug metabolism and drug action to extend the range of drugs available and to provide a scientific basis for the quality use of medicines and bioactive substances.
  • Clinical Pharmacy: concerned with patient care and the optimisation of medicine use in order to promote health and wellness, and prevent disease.
  • Social Pharmacy: our research focuses mainly on access to, and use of medicines.

Email pharmacy.research@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/pharmacy/research

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Sir John Walsh Research Institute for Oral Health

Jaw bone with dental attachments thumbnailWe advance research and increase knowledge for the improvement of oral health in New Zealand. Our research aims are to develop clinical research that translates discoveries into measurable health benefits, and to maintain fundamental research that underpins our teaching. From the molecular level through biological systems to the health of populations, our research is improving oral health in New Zealand.

Email sjwri.admin@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/sjwri

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Webster Centre for Infectious Diseases

Blue virus particlesOur scope extends from molecular to clinical research of infectious diseases affecting humans, animals, and plants.

We have over forty experts from across the university making fundamental discoveries and translating these discoveries into practical applications against infectious diseases.

Members of the Webster Centre use a variety of methods in their research, ranging from chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, bioinformatics, immunology and microbiology.

Key research:

Email webstercentre@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/webster

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