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Major health issues research at Otago

Ngā take matua o te hauora

Our major health issues cluster highlights research groups investigating and responding to prevalent diseases affecting our lives and wellbeing in New Zealand.

Visit the listings of our research groups or our featured projects:

ASPIRE2025

A University of Otago Research Theme

Research to achieve a tobacco-free Aotearoa

Vaping device in a handASPIRE2025 is a partnership between major New Zealand research groups carrying out research to help achieve the Government's goal of a tobacco-free Aotearoa by 2025. ASPIRE2025 brings together leading tobacco-free researchers and health service groups in New Zealand and strengthens existing collaborations. ASPIRE2025 was awarded the status of a University of Otago Research Theme in November 2011.

Email aspire2025@otago.ac.nz
Web aspire2025.org.nz

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Brain Health Research Centre | Te Pokapū Rakahau Hauora Hinekaro

A University of Otago Research Centre

Enhancing our understanding of brain health and disease

Scientists 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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Brain Research New Zealand | Rangahau Roro Aotearoa

Established as a Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE)

Developing capacity and capability in age-related neuroscience

BRNZ is co-hosted by University of Otago and University of Auckland. The Centre involves collaboration from researchers at Canterbury University and AUT, and clinicians at various District Health Boards.

BRNZ draws on New Zealand's world-class brain research capability to create a cohesive and mutually reinforcing national team. This collaboration brings researchers engaged in ageing-related neuroscience under one virtual roof, reducing competition and encouraging cooperation.

Brain Research New Zealand is a national enterprise that, through a coordinated research, training and education programme, develops new capacity and capability to address the increasing burden of ageing-related brain disorders

Email brnzadmin@otago.ac.nz
Web http://www.brnz.ac.nz/

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Cancer Research at Otago | Rangahau Mate Pukupuku o Ōtākou

A University of Otago Research Strength

Cancer research expertise across the spectrum

Blue fractured spiralCancer Research at Otago is a directory of research groups and collaborations associated with the University of Otago.

Explore our cancer research:

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

Email healthsciences.research@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/cancer-research

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Cardiovascular Disease at Otago | Mate Iaia-Manawa ki Ōtākou

A University of Otago Research Strength

Addressing the health burden of CVD in New Zealand

Blue capules and an ECG graphCardiovascular 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 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 cardiovascular disease research:

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

Email healthsciences.research@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/cvd

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Centre for Health Systems and Technology | Te Pokapū Pūnaha Hauora, Hangarau Hauora

The Centre for Health Systems and Technology (CHeST) has a particular focus on the applied end of health system and technology research, supporting the translation of research into practice.

CHeST research has five themes:

  • Health Care Delivery
  • Health System Architecture, Management, and Performance
  • Health Quality, Safety, and Community Engagement
  • Health Workforce
  • Health Technology

Email chest@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/healthsystems

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Centre for Translational Cancer Research | Te Aho Matatū

A University of Otago Research Centre

Bridging the gap between laboratory-based science and treatment in the clinic

Paua shellTranslational 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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Christchurch Heart Institute | Rangahau Manawa o Ōtautahi

A University of Otago Research Centre

Working to reduce the impact of cardiovascular disease

Clinical research centreHere 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 focus includes:

  • 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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COVID-19 research - He Kitenga special edition

Meet our researchers at the leading edge of New Zealand's response to COVID-19

He Kitenga 2020 COVID-19 editionVisit He Kitenga for special in-depth interviews with University of Otago researchers working in the early phases of our research response to COVID-19 in New Zealand.

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Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research (EDOR)

A University of Otago Research Centre

Reducing the global burden of diabetes and obesity

EDOR directorsWe 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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Heart Otago | Manawa Ōtākou

A University of Otago Research Theme

Understanding the molecular nature of cardiac disease

Microscopic heart tissueHeart Otago is comprised of cardiovascular researchers and clinicians located at the University of Otago and Dunedin Hospital. The goal of the group is to expand upon traditional cell and animal models to better understand the molecular nature of cardiac disease in patients with heart disease and to translate the laboratory-based cardiovascular research into the clinical setting.

The strong link between fundamental researchers and clinicians allows the group to study cardiac disease from genetic mutations within a single protein, through tissue and animal models, to patients presenting with a range of cardiac anomalies.

Investigations involve a wide range of techniques including:

  • Electrophysiology
  • Cell imaging
  • Genetic and biomarker screening
  • Multicellular human tissue and whole animal heart function measurements
  • Human and animal in vivo cardiac function via echocardiography

Email heart@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/heart-otago

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Infectious Disease Research at Otago | Rangahau Mate-hōapa ki Ōtākou

A University of Otago Research Strength

Addressing the health burden of infectious disease in New Zealand

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.

Infectious Disease Research at Otago is a directory of research groups and collaborations associated with the University of Otago.

Explore our infectious disease research:

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

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Mental Health Research at Otago | Rangahau Hauora Hinengaro ki Ōtākou

A University of Otago Research Strength

Addressing the mental health burden in New Zealand

Line of people linking armsMental health is a broad and complex issue facing New Zealanders – and a research strength of the University of Otago. This website brings together our investigators and teams contributing to New Zealand's research achievement in the field of mental health.

Explore our mental health research:

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

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One Health Aotearoa

A University of Otago Research Centre

An integrative approach to understanding, preventing, and controlling infectious disease

Hand reaching into a river One 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.

Many human infections are the result of interactions with animals and the environment. We have identified three key research themes to focus on: preventing emerging infectious diseases, ensuring healthy fresh water, and reducing antimicrobial resistance.

Mātauranga Māori is interwoven and underpins all of One Health Aotearoa’s research. We recognise the close alignment between Te Ao Māori (the Māori world) and the One Health paradigm.

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

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Pain at Otago

A University of Otago Research Theme

Reducing the burden of chronic pain

Chronic pain is the third largest cause of illness-related disability for New Zealanders. The prevalence of chronic pain makes it a major health issue and a critical public health problem internationally in terms of disability adjusted life years. Chronic pain creates a health care cost burden, loss of productivity in the workplace, and has a significant impact on daily wellbeing.

Our research will incorporate basic, clinical and population level research. Translational and clinical outcomes are ultimately designed to reduce the burden of chronic pain at an individual and national level.

Research focus:

  • Understanding mechanisms of pain
  • Predictors of pain chronicity
  • Management of pain
  • Pain education and curriculum

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

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Public Health Expert

A University of Otago blog

Improving public health

Public Health expert blog asks what could we do, and what should we not do, to improve public health? This blog has postings from public health experts on issues such as efficiency, equity, interventions, politics, cost effectiveness and much more.

Email bode3@otago.ac.nz
Web blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert/

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Public Health Research at Otago | Rangahau Hauora Tūmatanui o Ōtākou

A University of Otago Research Strength

Providing a spotlight on research excellence in Public Health

Blurred image of people walking beside a railingThis website brings together our investigators and teams contributing to New Zealand's research achievement in the field of public health.

Explore our public health research:

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

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Sir John Walsh Research Institute | Te Pokapū Rakahau o Tā John Walsh

A University of Otago Research Centre

Improving oral health through advancing research and improving knowledge

Oral health is essential for wellbeing. We lead the advancement of oral health research, and practice in New Zealand by combining the strengths of biological, clinical and public health expertise.

The SJWRI is uniquely placed within the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Otago, the only dental school in New Zealand. This enables researchers and clinicians to work together to solve specific oral health problems and to rapidly translate findings into improved clinical practice.

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

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Major health issues featured projects | Rangahau mō ngā take matua o te hauora

A global disrupter: The perils of populism

Robert Patman thumbnailThe perils of populism have been exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, argues Professor Robert Patman, however there are opportunities for positive diplomatic consequences in the long term.

“The key lesson of COVID-19 is that effective leadership must be informed, above all, by science and the realities of interdependence within and across the borders of nations.”

Bubble concept goes viral

Tristham Ingham thumbnailDr Tristram Ingham’s ‘bubble’ concept was initially intended for the disabled community, but it quickly captured the nation’s imagination, framing our lives under lockdown.

Law in lockdown: Societal impacts of a pandemic

Bridgette Toy Cronin thumbnailOtago law researchers are collaborating with Australian colleagues to analyse the experiences of people who have participated in online legal hearings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Māori mental health: Inequity and systemic change

Cameron LaceyLooking for long-term solutions includes developing a new system of integrated care that addresses that whole range of adverse drivers – and in a way that doesn’t exhaust the resources of whānau trying to navigate the current systems to get the best outcome.

Personalising treatment for cancer

Parry Guilford thumbnailProfessor Parry Guilford is leading a game-changing project to investigate the potential of ctDNA technology to better detect and treat New Zealand’s most prevalent cancers.

“If, by using a simple blood test, we can find cancers early enough to be cured by surgery then we can transform cancer survival rates in the Pacific. That, amongst others, is one of our dreams.”

'Proof of Concept' winners tackle antibiotic resistance

Allan Gamble Sarah Hook thumbA novel approach to combatting antibiotic resistance in farm animals has won Otago Innovation’s $100,000 Proof of Concept Grant competition for 2020.

Professor Sarah Hook and Dr Allan Gamble, from the School of Pharmacy, will use the prize to make chemically-modified antibiotics – known as prodrugs - which only activate in the presence of infection.

“If the animal is healthy the drug will just float round and do nothing. And because it's inactive it won’t push the development of antibiotic resistance,” Professor Hook explains.

Public housing marae-style

Cheryl Davies imageThe papakāinga is part of a far-reaching research project which will examine different models of public housing and assess their impact on well-being. It involves a unique partnership between the Wainuiōmata Marae Trust, the University of Otago, Wellington and state housing provider Kāinga Ora / Homes and Communities, and is supported by Hutt City Council and Te Puni Kōkiri.

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Research in our four academic divisions

View more research activity in our academic divisions: