Welcome to the Otago School of Medical Sciences
Professor Clive Ronson published in prestigious Nature journal
Professor Clive Ronson (Microbiology & Immunology) is one of a team of international researchers who have worked together to improve our scientific understanding of how legumes are able to tell helpful and harmful bacteria apart.
Their research showed that a membrane-bound receptor kinase (a type of enzyme) encoded by the Epr3 gene binds directly with exopolysaccharides and regulates helpful bacteria’s course through the plant’s epidermal cell layer.
Professor Ronson commented that the mechanism governing microbiota colonisation of hosts is poorly understood and that the identification of an exopolysaccharide receptor is likely to inspire new approaches to understand the interaction between multicellular organisms and microbes.
Their findings, which alter the understanding of carbohydrates as signal molecules, have been published in the internationally recognized journal Nature.
For more information about Professor Ronson’s research, please click here for the full story
OSMS Assistant Research Fellow awarded esteemed prize
Congratulations to University of Otago’s Alice McSweeney (Microbiology & Immunology) on being awarded the 2015 Summer Research Scholarship Renshaw Prize.
The Renshaw prize is awarded annually by the Otago Medical Research Foundation (OMRF), and is named after one of the founders of the OMRF, the late Dr P.K. Renshaw.
The award is given to the student who is judged to have made the most worthwhile contribution to medical research. Alice’s winning research was titled How does mouse norovirus exit from cells?
For more information about the Renshaw Prize, and the OMRF please click here.
High School Students given taste of University through Brain Bee comp
Eighty Year 11 High School students from around the South Island gathered in Dunedin yesterday to take part in the annual Brain Bee competition, where the students compete against each other by answering questions about neuroscience. The successful students at the event can potentially represent New Zealand at the world championships.
Dunedin Television interviewed Dr Ruth Napper (Department of Anatomy) during the event, where Dr Napper said that the event allows students a chance to learn facts about neuroscience, which is not currently part of the High School curriculum in New Zealand.
Dr Napper also said that students enter the competition for various reasons, such as having family members with neurological conditions, where the student wants to gain a better understanding of their family member’s illness.
Students involved in the event spoke very highly of the competition. Many of those who took part identified science and medicine as subjects they would like to study further at a tertiary level at university when they leave high school.
For Dunedin Television’s coverage of the Brain Bee, and Dr Napper’s interview, please click here.
OSMS Staff and Students secure Otago Lottery Health Grants!
Congratulations to the eight staff members from the OSMS who were successful in the last round of Lottery Health grants. The OSMS prides itself on the excellence of its research, which would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of its staff and students.
These grants highlight the high level of competency and professionalism in the School, and it is very pleasing to note that we continue to produce such ground breaking and innovative research.
Successful OSMS awardees are:
Professor Greg Cook (Microbiology and Immunology) - $86,218 for whole genome sequencing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates for rapid diagnosis and genotyping.
Dr Elsepth Gold (Anatomy) secured $50,222 to search for a signature indicative of aggressive prostate cancer in tissue biopsies.
Dr James Ussher (Microbiology & Immunology) was awarded $41,008 to work on rapid detection of antibiotic resistance through LC-MS.
Dr Joanna Williams (Anatomy) was granted $120,000 to identify the prognostic value of a novel Alzheimer’s disease-related composite biomarker.
A number of OSMS staff received shared equipment grants:
Dr Augustine Chen (Biochemistry) - $50,000 to purchase shared equipment for automated high throughput cell imaging.
Dr Peter Jones (Physiology) - $50,000 to install a high speed, high sensitivity camera.
Professor Kurt Krause (Biochemistry) - $79,054 to set up an automated Protein Crystallography incubation and imaging facility.
Kirsten Ward-Hartstonge (Microbiology & Immunology) received a PhD Scholarship ($120,000) to support her research into understanding how the host immune response improves patient prognosis in colorectal cancer.
For a comprehensive list of all Otago Lottery Health grant recipients, please click here.