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Otago early-career researcher’s achievements rewarded

Friday 20 January 2012

Otago early-career researcher’s achievements rewarded

An early-career rheumatology researcher who has already made significant contributions to improving the treatment of arthritis and gout is the University of Otago’s latest Rowheath Trust Award and Carl Smith Medal recipient.

Associate Professor Lisa Stamp, who researches and teaches at the University of Otago’s Christchurch campus and is a consultant rheumatologist at Christchurch Hospital, receives the Award and Medal in recognition of her outstanding research performance as an early-career staff member at the University.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Richard Blaikie congratulated Associate Professor Stamp, saying that the Award and Medal are a thoroughly deserved recognition of her impressive achievements at an early stage of her career as a researcher.

“Since joining Otago as a senior lecturer in 2004, Associate Professor Stamp has forged an outstanding research career while also carrying significant teaching and clinical workloads,” Professor Blaikie says.

After completing undergraduate medical studies at Otago, Associate Professor Stamp undertook advanced training in Rheumatology in Christchurch, Auckland and Adelaide. She subsequently completed her PhD at the University of Adelaide in Australia.

She has published almost 60 papers in high-impact journals, received major awards in her field and has attracted significant grants from the Health Research Council and other funding bodies.

Associate Professor Stamp’s research interests include how best to tailor drug treatments for rheumatic conditions such as gout and rheumatoid arthritis for individual patients and determining the role of the immune system messenger interleukin-17 and other pro-inflammatory mediators in these diseases.

Her research revealing that the dose of the standard gout drug Allopurinol could be safely lifted above existing clinical guidelines to effectively cure gout in some patients has had a significant impact on clinical practice. Another study, showing that measuring blood levels of the frontline drug Methotrexate in rheumatoid arthritis patients is not useful in telling how well the disease is being controlled, has also been internationally influential.

Associate Professor Stamp says she is delighted to receive the Award and Medal and that her research achievements owe much to the support of her colleagues and patients.

“It has really been a team effort that has relied on the excellent work of my clinical and research colleagues as well as the willingness of patients to give up their time to come and take part in these studies.”

Associate Professor Stamp will be presented with the Carl Smith Medal at a public lecture she will present later this year. The Medal and Award are accompanied by a $5000 grant for personal scholarly development.

The Rowheath Trust was established in 1964 by Carl Smith – whose family lived in the Rowheath area of England – to support the University. Mr Smith received an honorary doctorate from Otago in 1968.


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