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Research facilities

University of Otago has some of the best research facilities in the country, with recent additions of a new research vessel, the centre for trace element analysis and others increasing the range of research opportunities available.

ADHD clinic

This clinic facilitates research on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) within the Department of Psychology. An independently run unit, the Clinic maintains close links with the Departments of Paediatrics and Child and Family Services at Dunedin Hospital. Broadly defined, past and present research at the clinic includes studies on the diagnosis, aetiology, and management of ADHD and spans the areas of clinical psychology, applied behaviour analysis, and neuroscience. It also provides assessment and limited intervention services to children and families in the local community.

AgResearch Molecular Biology Unit

The AgResearch Molecular Biology Unit is a successful partnership between AgResearch, a Crown Research Institute, and the University of Otago.

It is the national centre and an international leader in the application of sheep and deer gene maps for agricultural and biomedical research.

Campbell Microanalytical Laboratory

The Campbell Microanalytical Laboratory in the Department of Chemistry has, for over 60 years, provided an internationally recognized, reliable microanalytical service for New Zealand and overseas scientists. It specializes in the elemental microanalysis of research, environmental and industrial samples. Specific analytical research on problem samples and the development of new methods are also undertaken. Attention to quality and accurate work are hallmarks of the Laboratory.

Cognitive Ergonomics and Human Decision-making Laboratory

Research projects on aeronautical decision making, safety, situational awareness, understanding weather forecasts, simulation and flight performance. Several research projects utilize our latest flight simulator which is set in a fibreglass cab equipped with a Precision Flight Controls Cirrus II Flight Console featuring fully functional analog flight controls along with a heavy-duty metal yoke. Flight instruments are presented on two 15" LCD flat panel monitors and can be configured to show a radio stack or moving-map GPS. The external view is produced by a high-resolution NEC WT600 short-throw projector and is viewed through a glass windshield.

Disease Research Laboratory

The DRL provides the scientific resources to study immunological markers associated with protection or disease caused by the Mycobacterial infections. Interactions between natural infection, vaccination, and experimental infection are covered in the work done by the laboratory.

Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry Unit

A service previously provided by Iso-trace NZ Ltd

The Isotope Ratio Mass Spectroscopy Unit conducts analyses using Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS) and works with samples that contain hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulphur. Iso-trace is equipped with a six isotope ratio mass spectrometers and a range of preparation devices including elemental analysers, and a gas chromatograph combustion isotope ratio mass spectrometer (GC-C-IRMS) for compound specific analysis. Isotrace is equipped to handle samples in solid, liquid, and gaseous form.

LINZ ®Activity & Health Research Unit

The LINZ ®Unit facilitates public health research, from inception and design of projects to collection, analysis and reporting of results. The Unit has a number of consultants, including nutrition, medicine, biostatistics, kinesiology, leisure and psychology.

Metabolic Facility Department of Human Nutrition

This unique facility provides clinic rooms for venepuncture and anthropometry, as well as kitchen and dining facilities. Studies conducted include projects in diabetes, hyperlipidaemia, insulin resistance, weight loss, weight maintenance, obesity prevention, toddler nutrition, trace element status, vitamin status and sports nutrition. Departmental laboratories provide a range of analyses (GCMS available). The facility works closely with Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research.

Otago Genomics Facility

The Otago Genomics Facility provides researchers with the ability to analyse patterns of human gene expression in normal growth and development and in disease. Equipment in the facility includes a robotic DNA microarrayer, four colour laser fluorescent scanner, robotics for DNA preparation and a laser dissection microscope.

Otago Palaeomagnetic Research Facility

The Otago Palaeomagnetic Research Facility is a nationally available state of the art palaeomagnetic research facility which is centred around a specially constructed "magnetic field-free room" and a purpose built automated high-sensitivity, high-resolution, long-core cryogenic magnetometer designed and constructed by 2G enterprises (USA).

Plant Extract Research Unit (PERU)

This Unit is a collaboration between Plant & Food Research and the University of Otago. New flavour chemicals, insect attractants and natural food colourings are some of the products being developed in this research.

Projects include:

Natural products chemistry: discovering new compounds in foods and in native plants, by isolation directed by biological assays, with structure identification by combined NMR spectroscopy and molecular modelling. We also study biosynthesis in plants and ecological roles of natural products.

Synthetic organic chemistry: studies on biomolecules to understand the relationship between structure and biological activity, and to produce more active and selective compounds.
Analytical chemistry: using NMR, LC, GC, MS and Raman microscopy, to locate and quantify food bioactives and flavour chemicals.
Protein Microchemistry Facility (PMF)

Otago's PMF offers sensitive identification and analysis of proteins, amino acids and other macromolecules. Amino acid analysis and automated N-terminal sequencing are available with low picomolar sensitivity. Proteomic research is supported with supplies and equipment for two-dimensional electrophoresis, complemented with mass spectroscopic analysis by specialist operators. The PMF offers both MALDI-TOF and electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry, with the option of on-line chromatographic separation.

SERF (Spatial Ecology Research Facility)

The Spatial Ecology Research Facility (SERF) is a computer laboratory dedicated to the application of remote sensing, GIS, and GPS technologies to enhance the ability of Otago ecologists, including staff and postgraduate students, to address research questions with a spatial dimension. Scientific resources are available to address research projects such as habitat and landcover mapping, modelling of habitat use and resource selection, population distribution and abundance.