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Pūranga karere

Webster Family Chair in Pathogenesis appointment

Miguel Quiñones-Mateu (2019) thumbnail

Friday 22 March 2019

Following an extensive international search, Professor Miguel Quiñones-Mateu has been appointed as the second holder of the Webster Family Chair in Viral Pathogenesis in the University of Otago’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Biomedical Sciences.

Webster Centre awards conference scholarships


Wednesday 10 October 2018

The Webster Centre for Infectious Diseases has awarded three conference attendance scholarships to young researchers to attend 'Microbes and Molecules' in November 2018.

Webster researchers feature in Otago Spotlight Series

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Thursday 4 October 2018

At the 2018 Otago Spotlight Series: Infectious Disease Research forum held in Wellington, four of the Webster Centre's leading researchers presented their work.  Recordings of their presentations are now available.

Chaffer Fellow will share advanced microscopy techniques

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Tuesday 25 September 2018

Chaffer Fellow, Dr Kelly Rogers, will deliver lectures on advanced microscopy techniques, a research seminar about her latest work, and a workshop on image analysis, to staff and students at the University of Otago.

Early immune response research wins Otago Spotlight Award

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Thursday 13 September 2018

Brin Ryder, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, won the Otago Spotlight student poster competition. As one of five finalists he presented his work, on early immune response, to a large audience at the Infectious Disease research forum in Wellington, and gained first place from the judges.

Flu Hunter: Unlocking the Secrets of a Virus

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Wednesday 5 September 2018

Flu Hunter is Robert G Webster’s gripping, first-person account of the tenacious scientific detective work involved in revealing the secrets of this killer virus.

Join the crew to track the flu!

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Thursday 30 August 2018

The Ministry of Health is looking for volunteers to help track influenza. People who live in New Zealand who have easy access to email on a weekly basis are being invited to help . 

Relapse - why we're under attack


Saturday 10 March 2018

Webster Centre for Infectious Diseases' members appear in ODT newspaper Cover Story on 'Relapse - why we're under attack'.

More than 41,000 New Zealanders are isolated in hospitals to stop the spread of disease

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Sunday 7 January 2018

Professor Kurt Krause, member of the Webster Centre for Infectious Diseases, appeared in the NZ Herald stating contact precautions were effective and essential because many pathogenic bacteria are spread by contact – touching a surface with the bacteria on it and then touching your face or food.  Contact isolation was not particularly harsh on patients, whereas airborne isolation could be very difficult for a patient because they can feel quite cut off.

Clock ticking on plan for superbugs


Saturday 18 November 2017

Dr James Ussher, co-convenor of the Australasian Society of Infectious Disease New Zealand Annual Scientific Conference, met with Ministry of Health representatives backed by the Ministry for Primary Industries, teamed up with infectious disease specialists to tackle this "emerging threat globally".

Smart Idea Project awarded MBIE 2017 Funding


Thursday 16 November 2017

Webster Centre for Infectious Diseases Members, Professor Vernon Ward (Dean of School of Biomedical Sciences) and Professor Kurt Krause (Department of Biochemistry), were awarded MBIE 2017 funding for their Smart Idea Project.

Dr Michael Knapp and Professor Greg Cook awarded MBIE 2017 Funding

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Wednesday 8 November 2017

Dr Michael Knapp, Department of Anatomy, and Professor Greg Cook, Webster Centre Steering Committee member, University Otago, were awarded $920,000 MBIE 2017 funding for "TB or not TB - examining the origin and evolution of tuberculosis in the pre-European Pacific".

One Health Aotearoa Symposium

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Wednesday 25 October 2017

The One Health Aotearoa Symposium was held 13 – 14 December 2017 at Wellington, NZ. 

Cook team wins Otago Research Group Award


Thursday 19 October 2017

A world-leading team of microbiologists, led by Professor Greg Cook whose work on a novel way to fight TB infections, has been selected as the recipient of the University of Otago's latest Research Group Award.

QMB/Webster Centre Infectious Diseases Symposium, Queenstown, New Zealand


Thursday 14 September 2017

The biennial Queenstown Molecular Biology/Webster Centre for Infectious Diseases Symposium will be held 7 – 8 September, Queenstown, New Zealand.  Read more for speakers covering sessions on microbial pathogen genomes, infection and immunity, tuberculosis, drug discovery and novel therapeutics and vaccines, GAS and viral pathogenesis.

Professor Krause receives Catalyst funding from RSNZ

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Wednesday 13 September 2017

Congratulations to Webster Centre Steering Committee member, Professor Kurt Krause, who received Catalyst Seeding funding from the RSNZ to target membrane proteins in mycobacteria to cure tuberculosis. 

16th International Conference on Pseudomonas

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Monday 7 August 2017

Webster Centre Steering Committee member, Professor Iain Lamont, will be attending the 16th International Conference on Pseudomonas to be held 5 – 9 September 2017 at Liverpool, England.

Otago finding new ways to beat an old and enduring enemy - TB

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Monday 31 July 2017

An innovative approach in drug discovery in combating one of the world’s greatest health scourges – tuberculosis (TB) – is being pioneered by an international research group that has Otago microbiologists as key leading members.

Drugs for bugs: beating AMR

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Friday 30 June 2017

Professor Greg Cook and Dr Adam Heikal appear in DairyNews to discuss how our armoury of antimicrobials has been eroded and the vision of developing narrow spectrum agents that specifically target bad bacteria.

Ask a scientist


Tuesday 6 June 2017

Professor Andrew Mercer, Director of the Webster Centre for Infectious Diseases answers an "Ask a Scientist" bacteria/virus question in the Otago Daily Times.

Germs are us

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Tuesday 30 May 2017

Webster Centre members feature in a recent ODT article outlining the good news and bad news around our microbes and us. 

Infections due to antimicrobial-resistant microbes could kill 10 million people globally per year by 2050

UNESCO's Clocktower Photo

Friday 19 May 2017

The Royal Society Te Apãrangi has published a summary of evidence on 'Antimicrobial resistance - Implications for New Zealanders', along with a short video summarising the key points.

Developing a faster way to detect antibiotic resistance


Wednesday 3 May 2017

Webster Centre members, Professor Sarah Hook, Dr James Ussher and Dr Jo Kirman, along with Dr Andrea Vernall, were part of a team who recently received Health Research Council funding to develop a faster way to detect antibiotic resistance. 

Antibiotic Emergency

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Friday 28 April 2017

Professor Kurt Krause features in the Listener magazine article "Antibiotic Emergency" by Sally Blundell and the NZ Medical Journal recommends establishing a national response plan to address a "clear and present danger" to antimicrobial resistance.

World leaders to meet at UN to discuss the global crisis and anti-microbial resistance

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Wednesday 21 September 2016

Professor Kurt Krause, Director of the Webster Centre for Infectious Diseases, appeared on Radio New Zealand to discuss the global crisis in anti–microbial resistance.  During the interview he pointed out the need for us to carefully use our currently available antibiotics as well as support research into developing new anti-microbial therapies.

Fighting Zika and other viruses

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Tuesday 13 September 2016

Professor Robert Webster, a world renowned virologist and pioneer researcher in influenza, was interviewed by Kathryn Ryan, Radio New Zealand on Tuesday, 13 September 2016 on fighting Zika and other viruses.

Professor Robert Webster Visiting NZ

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Wednesday 7 September 2016

The Webster Centre, which is completing its 10th year working in support of infectious diseases research in New Zealand, proudly announces that we sponsored a lecture tour in four locations - Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, by our namesake, Professor Robert Webster.  Professor Webster is a pioneering researcher in influenza and an early proponent of the modern concept of "One Health".

US ban on antibacterial products finds support

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Wednesday 7 September 2016

Professor Kurt Krause, Director of the Webster Centre for Infectious Diseases, appears in the Otago Daily Times newspaper on Wednesday, 7 September 2016 in an article entitled "US ban on antibacterial products finds support".

Scientist hopes to stop deadly TB

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Friday 15 July 2016

Webster Centre for Infectious Diseases Steering Committee member, Professor Greg Cook, appears in the NZ Herald on 13 July 2016 commenting on research that finds medicine could be repurposed against drug resistant strain with promise for Third World.

Cafe Sci: From Zika to Measles, Take Another Look at ... Infectious Diseases


Wednesday 13 July 2016

Prof Kurt Krause (Director of the Webster Centre for Infectious Diseases), along with other Webster members, Prof Greg Cook and Dr James Ussher (Department of Microbiology & Immunology), Prof Philip Hill and Prof John Crump (Co-Directors of Centre for International Health), and Dr Brendan Arnold (Southern District Health Board) looked at some of the current issues facing us from a local, national, and international perspective, whether it was the current concern over measles or the potential impact of Zika or some of the burning questions on infectious diseases.

On the Cover of Biochemical Journal


Thursday 26 May 2016

Recent research from the laboratory of the Director, Professor Kurt Krause, has appeared on the cover of the Biochemical Journal.  This work involved Professor Krause, Sinothai Poen, a recent PhD graduate, Yoshio Nakatani, Helen K Opel-Reading, Mortiz Lassé, Renwick D J Dobson and was titled "Exploring the Structure of Glutamate Racemase from Mycobacterium tuberculosis as a Template for Anti-mycobacterial Drug Discovery".

"Peak Antibiotics"


Tuesday 5 April 2016

Webster Centre steering committee members, Greg Cook and Debbie Williamson, were featured in a documentary appearing on Prime on 5 April 2016. The documentary focused on the dangers of current antibiotic resistance and the need for the development of new antibiotics for the future as well as the best way to preserve current treatment options.

Vaccine Cuts Rate of Major Disease in African Children in Half

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Thursday 17 March 2016

Professor Philip Hill's findings on monitoring a population of 200,000 people in The Gambia, West Africa, before and after the introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine appear in the prestigious Lancet Infectious Diseases.

New tool to accelerate health research

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Friday 26 February 2016

A new protein crystallography tool available to Otago researchers will help accelerate research into drug and vaccine design.

Volcanic bacteria take minimalist approach to survival

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Thursday 4 February 2016

Professor Greg Cook appeared as a co-author in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describing his work on volcanic bacteria entitled "Persistence of the dominant soil phylum Acidobacteria by trace gas scavenging".

MOH tenders for 300,000 doses of H5N1 vaccine

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Sunday 10 January 2016

In January 2016 Professor Kurt Krause commented on New Zealand’s preparation for pandemic influenza by the Ministry of Health tendering for 300,000 doses of vaccine for H5N1, one prominent strain of bird flu. He acknowledged that it is fair to be concerned about whether the correct strain was chosen because no-one knows for sure which bird flu strain, if any, will cause widespread human infection. However the H5N1 vaccine is probably the best bet we have right now.  Another big issue was how quickly countries could get hold of enough vaccinations for an entire population during a pandemic.

OIHRN Meeting

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Friday 13 November 2015

OIHRN Meeting

The 8th annual OIHRN meeting was held at St Margaret's College at Dunedin on 11 - 12 November 2015.  Steering committee members, Dr Deborah Wililamson, presented on "Poultry, Potions and Public Health: infectious diseases genomics in NZ and beyond” and Professor Philip Hill presented on “The Impact of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccines in the Gambia, West Africa”.  The Webster Centre was pleased to serve as a sponsor for this event.

Ebola and beyond—how bugs kill us

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Saturday 5 September 2015

On Monday, 31 August 2015, a free Public Outreach Question It meeting "Ebola and Beyond - How Bugs Kill Us" was held in the Queenstown Memorial Centre from 12 - 1pm.  Infectious disease researchers, Dr Siouxsie Wiles, Auckland University; Professors Kurt Krause, Otago University and Nigel French, Massey University were panel members in a discussion about the growing global problem of these deadly bugs and how to maximise your chances against them.

Rheumatic Fever Workshop


Saturday 21 March 2015

In conjunction with the Australasian Society of Infectious Diseases Annual Scientific Meeting, this workshop was held on Friday 20 March 2015, Rendezvous Hotel, Auckland. 

Antibiotic resistance and industry

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Tuesday 27 January 2015

Professor Kurt Krause responds to an opinion about industry's role in growing antibiotic resistance, in an interview with Kathryn Ryan on Radio NZ.

Huge toll from seasonal influenza

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Tuesday 25 November 2014

Professor Michael Baker discusses a new paper about the large public health impact of influenza in New Zealand.

Investigating natural immunity to TB

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Wednesday 19 November 2014

Dr Ayesha Verrall is investigating natural immunity to TB as part of her doctoral thesis. She is interviewed by the Otago Daily Times about her work.

NZ's role in fighting Ebola

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Wednesday 29 October 2014

Professor Michael Baker calls on the NZ Government to send health workers to Ebola affected areas of West Africa as part of a WHO effort.

Nuffield Scholarship awarded

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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Andrew Highton PhD, past winner of a Webster Centre Travel Award, has received a prestigious Nuffield Scholarship to Oxford University.

Health impacts of poor housing


Monday 15 September 2014

Professor Michael Baker, a Webster Centre for Infectious Diseases research leader, comments on the health risks of poor housing.

Distinguished Research Medal awarded

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Tuesday 5 August 2014

Professor Greg Cook received the 2014 Distinguished Research Medal for his substantial contribution to microbial research.

Renewed interest in alternative remedies

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Saturday 3 May 2014

Professor Kurt Krause, Director of the Webster Centre for Infectious Diseases, suggests that the post-antibiotic era may create renewed interest in alternative remedies.

Superbugs challenge antibiotics

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Thursday 1 May 2014

Resistance to antibiotics is no longer a prediction for the future according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), which claims it is happening now in every region of the world.

Evidence lacking for flu jab substitutes

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Thursday 3 April 2014

Professor Michael Baker, of the Webster Centre for Infectious Diseases, expresses concern about alternatives offered in place of flu vaccination.

Liley Medal presented to Professor Michael Baker

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Wednesday 27 November 2013

The prestigious Liley Medal 2013 was presented to Professor Michael Baker in recognition of his landmark 2012 study of infectious diseases and rising inequalities in NZ.

The end of antibiotics?

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Wednesday 20 November 2013

Professor Kurt Krause is interviewed on the end of antibiotics and the threat of superbugs.

EU consortium investigates TB and diabetes links

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Monday 3 December 2012

Professor Philip Hill, who has an extensive record in TB research in developing countries, will be part of a multi-disciplinary consortium exploring the link between TB and diabetes.

New Zealand's E.coli risk

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Monday 12 September 2011

Following the outbreak in Europe, Infectious Diseases experts discuss New Zealand's E.coli risk, on TVNZ programme Close Up.

TB susceptibility linked to gene

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Monday 16 August 2010

International health researcher, Professor Philip Hill,  is part of a consortium that has successfully used genome scanning to identify a gene associated with increased susceptibility to tuberculosis (TB) in African populations.

Risk of superbug to New Zealand

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Monday 12 April 2010

Professor Kurt Krause in interviewed on ONE News about the risk of a drug-resistant superbug travelling to New Zealand.

Health regulations tested by flu

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Monday 4 May 2009

University of Otago Associate Professor Michael Baker says, in an Otago Daily Times report, that the swine flu outbreak is providing a major test of new international health regulations.

Using Tamiflu effectively

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Thursday 30 April 2009

Professor Kurt Krause answers common questions about the drug Tamiflu, and how it can be best utilised against swine flu, on TVNZ's  Breakfast programme.

Tuberculosis resources poor

Monday 27 April 2009

Guest speaker, Dr Clifton Barry, at the Webster Centre for Infectious Diseases Symposium, expressed his concern about the lack of resources to address Tb.