Welcome to the Otago School of Medical Sciences
Summer Studentship Prize Winners Announced!
The Otago School of Medical Sciences (OSMS) would like to congratulate Susan Xian from the Pharmacology and Toxicology, and Matthew Fields from the Anatomy for winning the Dean’s Prize for the best summer research reports.
The Summer Research Scholarship Committee received a total thirty-two reports, and Susan and Michael’s research reports were the clear winners.
Susan’s report focused on the use of synthetic cannabinoids to combat breast and prostate cancer. Susan’s research aims to help produce more effective cancer drugs while also minimizing the adverse affects of treatment. Dr Khaled Greish from the Pharmacology and Toxicology department supervised Susan’s research.
Matthew’s report looked at methods to predict the likelihood of a person being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms develop. To do this Matthew’s research focuses on identifying biomarkers that can be used to identify the possibility of Alzheimer’s disease develop later in life. Dr Joanna Williams from the Anatomy department supervised Matthew’s research.
The OSMS expects great things in the future from such promising researchers!
He Waka Kōtuia
12 May 2015
One of the highlights of last week’s OSMS Postgraduate Symposium was a performance by He Waka Kōtuia, the combined Kapa Haka group from King’s and Queen's High Schools.
They performed 4 songs, including a song about the importance of Te Reo Māori and a traditional Haka.
The performance was very well received and particularly appreciated by our Australian guests.
He Waka Kōtuia is a group of very talented and passionate young people. Despite their very busy schedule, including regional and national competitions and some 50 performances a year, the students manage to thrive academically as well. Previous performances have included welcoming the All Blacks and the Dalai Lama to Dunedin.
It was an honour for the School to have this group perform at our symposium and we hope that they will be able to join us again next year.
Whakawhetai ki a koutou!
Click here to find out more about He Waka Kōtuia
OSMS Post Grad Poster Event and Symposium a Great Success
5 May 2015
The future of bio-medical research is in safe and exciting hands judging by the quality, variety and scope of presentations made by students at both a Poster Evening and Postgraduate Symposium staged by the Otago School of Medical Sciences at the Otago Museum’s Hutton Theatre.
Twenty-one post grad students (including two from the University of Queensland’s School of Biomedical Sciences) were joined at the event by Prof Vernon Ward, Dean of the OSMS, and Prof Greg Cook of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.
Also attending were Associate Professors Conrad Sernia and Peter Noakes from the University of Queensland who delivered a talk ‘The training of a global scientist: current experience and future directions’.
Topics covered by the posters and the presentation talks underlined the passion, commitment and ingenuity of the students who dealt with subjects ranging from latest brain research including tumours to Parkinson’s disease, the treatment of drug resistant TB and colorectal cancer to the use of microbial communities as a diagnostic tool for farm soil health.
The winners of the poster event were: 1st - Safina Gadeock (Physiology: Enteroids- a model of the colonic epithelium in IBD), 2nd - Rachel Heron (Microbiology and Immunology: BcrR – a novel regulator in antibiotic resistance), 3rd - Hannah Hampton (Microbiology and Immunology: Investigating the mode of action of the type 1V AbiE toxin-antitoxin phage resistance system).
The winners of the presentation talks were: 1st - Colin Davies (Microbiology and Immunology: Murine norovirus manipulation of the host cell cycle), 2nd - Megan Elder (Anatomy: Secreted amyloid precursor protein alpha regulates protein synthesis in primary hippocampal neuronal cultures), 3rd - Braeden Donaldson (Microbiology and Immunology: Combination immunotherapy for colorectal cancer with oncolytic VSV and chimaeric RHDV VLP vaccines). Safina and Colin have both won a trip to the University of Queensland School of Biomedical Sciences symposium later this year.
Distinguished Prof Margaret Brimble of the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Science opened the symposium by stressing the importance of the role played by chemistry in underpinning all commercial drug development.
Physiologist Prof Alison Heather in a talk entitled ‘Follow your heart’ outlined her own professional and personal accomplishments - including becoming an expert in identifying designer androgens some athletes use to enhance performance - to illustrate the many diverse and fascinating opportunities offered by a career in medical research. A sportsperson herself, she has completed a large number of ironman, marathon and half marathon competitions and is presently in training for both the NZ and Australian ironman events.
Also part of the event, University of Queensland’s Dr Jana Vukovic (UQ) spoke on the ‘Role of microglia in mediating exercise-induced neurogenesis’ and Assoc Prof Karen Moritz spoke on ‘The life-time legacy caused by drinking in the womb’.
By Steve Grbic
OSMS Postgraduate Colloquium Winners Crowned!
1 May 2015
The Otago School of Medical Sciences’ annual Postgraduate Colloquium has come to an end, with the prize giving for the Colloquium’s two events being held late Wednesday afternoon after a busy two days of presentations and discussions.
To kick-off the event, University of Auckland’s Professor Margaret Brimble, delivered the keynote lecture which was a very thought-provoking talk relating to her work as a chemist, and building up a New Zealand Pharmaceutical industry.
The first competitive event of the Colloquium was the Poster Evening on Tuesday, which saw Safina Gadeock, from the Physiology Department earn first place, with her poster titled “Enteroids - a model of the colonic epithelium in IBD”. Second place in the poster category went to Rachel Heron from Microbiology and Immunology, with third place going to Hannah Hampton, also from Microbiology and Immunology.
On Wednesday, students were invited to give brief oral presentations on their research. First place in this event went to Colin Davies from the Microbiology and Immunology department for his talk titled “Murine Norovirus Manipulation of the host Cell Cycle”. Second place went to Megan Elder from the Department of Anatomy, and third place to Braeden Donaldson from Microbiology & Immunology and Pathology.
Safina and Colin, our lucky winners, have both won a trip to the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Queensland to attend their Postgraduate Colloquium later in the year.
Wednesday also saw a series of academic lectures given by our guests from the University of Queensland, as well as an inspiring lecture from University of Otago’s own Professor Alison Heather, who talked about the ups and downs of academic life.
The OSMS office would like to thank everyone who was involved in the Colloquium, especially all the students who presented their research through posters and talks. Professor Greg Cook stated that it was the highest caliber of entries he has ever witnessed at a Postgraduate event, so everyone should be proud of their efforts!
A special thanks also has to go to our visitors, Professor Margaret Brimble from the University of Auckland, and our University of Queensland guests Associate Professor Conrad Sernia, Associate Professor Peter Noakes, Associate Professor Karen Moritz and Dr Jana Vukovic, as well as UQ students Kelvin Yin and Lucy Heap. Their presence made the OSMS Postgraduate Colloquium a truly global event, and helped a great deal in making the event such a great success!