Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Winterbourn Earns Otago’s Highest Research Honour

Christine Winterbourn Earns Otago’s Highest Research Honour

Renowned for her pioneering work on free-radicals and links to disease

Professor Christine Winterbourn, head of the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences’ Free-Radical Research Group, is this year’s recipient of the University of Otago’s Distinguished Research Medal.

Vice-Chancellor Dr Graeme Fogelberg made the announcement at today’s Senate meeting.

“It’s vital for a University to foster a culture of research excellence, and this culture is made possible by the leadership of people such as Professor Winterbourn,” Dr Fogelberg says. “She has been absolutely dedicated to the pursuit of research excellence, and by her own example she has inspired those who work with her to achieve the highest possible standards in research.

“And in her own right, Professor Winterbourn has made a significant scientific contribution to the fundamental understanding of the role of free radicals and antioxidants in the development of disease and the maintenance of health.

“I wish to congratulate Professor Winterbourn on her outstanding achievement.”

Upon learning of her honour, a delighted Professor Winterbourn said that it was “very gratifying to see the University recognising research and particularly for the Free Radical Research Group in Christchurch; after all, research is always a team effort.

“It’s also recognition for this great group of people who’ve been working with me for a long period.”

When Professor Winterbourn first started in the field 30 years ago, free-radical research was not widely recognised in relation to medicine and health issues. However, some of the work she was involved in at the time helped raise the awareness of the role played by free-radicals in health problems.

As a post-doc student working with Professor Robin Carroll – now at Cambridge University – Professor Winterbourn investigated how anaemia developed as a result of unstable haemoglobin destroying red blood cells.

“My work, along with others, showed that this abnormal haemoglobin was producing excessive amounts of superoxide radicals, which was a new finding at the time. And this opened up the idea that these radicals were being generated in the cell all the time, and what they do, and scientists became very interested in the action of free radicals inside cells and how they originate.”

Free radicals can cause major damage to cells within the human body, and have been linked to the development of diseases such as coronary heart disease, cancer, stroke and arthritis.

Professor Winterbourn is currently exploring a number of research topics, including the development and application of “biomarkers” which can trace the oxidative stress caused by free radicals, and the role of such stress and inflammation in chronic lung disease and brain injury in premature infants.

“I’ve always felt privileged to work in something I enjoy doing, and to be able to follow up areas that interest me,” she says. “The best thing is to concentrate on your research, and keep the frustrating aspects under control!”

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Reuben Moss' Property is Theft! & Kaitani at The Physics Room

Property is Theft! continues Moss’ interest in the contemporary urban environment as a space controlled by pulsing and unequal flows of capital and labour. Kaitani features work by the University of Canterbury Fijian Students Association and Kulimoe’anga Stone Maka. More>>

Handcrafted Form: Rare Treasures From Japan

This unique exhibition at Expressions Whirinaki represents 90 everyday objects made by contemporary Japanese artisans who employ various traditional craft techniques made in regional workshops. The works used in daily life are crafted from raw materials with techniques appropriate to bringing out the best of its medium, balancing ease of use with aesthetic appeal. More>>

Howard Davis Article: A Musical Axis - Brahms, Wagner, Sibelius

Brahms' warm and exquisitely subtle Symphony No. 3 in F major, Wagner's irrepressibly sentimental symphonic poem Siegfried Idyll, and Sibelius' chilling and immensely challenging Violin Concerto in D minor exemplify distinct stages of development in a tangled and convoluted series of skirmishes that came to define subsequent disputes about the nature of post-Romantic orchestral writing well into the following century. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: A Pale Ghost Writer

Reviewed by Ruth Brassington, Richard Flanagan's new novel is about a novelist hastily ghost-writing the biography of a crook about to go to trial. The reader is kept on a cliff-edge, as the narrator tries to get blood out of his stone man. More>>

New Zealand Wars Commemoration: Witi Ihimaera's Sleeps Standing Moetū

The second of several articles to mark Rā Maumahara, remembering the New Zealand Land Wars. The first was a Q&A with Vincent O’Malley, author of The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800–2000. More>>




  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland