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Gene Expression in Alzheimer’s Disease a Winner

Gene Expression in Alzheimer’s Disease a Winner

PhD student Wendy Brooks has won the South Island section of the prestigious FiRST Scholarship Awards sponsored by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, for her research on Alzheimer’s Disease.

Wendy, who is currently completing her PhD at the University of Cambridge, England, is looking into the potential genetic and environmental influences leading to Alzheimer’s Disease, which affects 47% of people over 85 years. Her work, coupled with the findings of other researchers, will lead to stopping the disease in humans in the future.

The annual FiRST (Fellows in Research, Science and Technology) Scholarship Awards celebrate the work of New Zealand’s up-and-coming scientists and researchers. They are open to recipients of the Foundation’s five scholarship schemes, with participants being asked to provide an eye-catching, information-packed poster.

With science communication seen as a key factor in the success of the research, science and technology sector in the future, the posters were judged, in part, on how clearly the particular research project is communicated to a lay audience.

Awards were presented to the winners of each of the five sections, at an event in Christchurch today. Wendy won the overall regional prize for the South Island, and was the South Island Winner for the Top Achiever Doctoral Scholarship scheme. Top Achiever Doctoral Scholarships (a Bright Future scheme) recognise, support and reward excellent post-graduate New Zealand students. This scheme supports research at PhD level in all disciplines, at New Zealand tertiary education institutions or appropriate overseas institutions.

Other South Island winners are:

Verne Pere, who is currently studying for his Masters in Science, is the South Island Winner for the Tuapapa Putaiao Maori Fellowship scheme with his poster on the formation of a landslide dam near Ngatapa, Gisborne. Tuapapa Putaiao Maori Fellowships support Maori graduate students to undertake post-graduate study and research programmes at New Zealand tertiary education institutions. The scheme is supporting Maori students in science, engineering and technology disciplines.

Andy Van Houtte is the South Island Winner for the Technology for Industry Fellowship scheme with his poster on the Innovative Connections in Laminated Veneer Lumber using Expoxied Steel Rods. The Technology for Industry Fellowships (TIF) programme supports research undertaken in New Zealand business. TIF aims to enhance scientific and technical skills and competencies in New Zealand businesses and create research and technology of benefit for businesses. The Fellow must spend a minimum of 50% of their time on the project in the company.

Li Hong is the South Island Winner for the Enterprise Scholarship scheme, with her poster on the immunity to Salmonella Brandenburg in sheep using a new attenuated vaccine. Enterprise Scholarships (a Bright Future scheme) support New Zealand students, in partnership with private companies, to undertake a course of study involving a significant research component at a New Zealand tertiary education institution. Half the funding for a student is provided by the company, and this is matched by the Government.

Dr Martin Jarvis is the South Island Winner for the NZ Science & Technology Post-Doctoral Fellowship scheme, for his study on the expression profiles of novel cardiovascular hormones in ventricular remodelling in ovine models of myocardial infarction and heart failure. NZ Science & Technology Post-Doctoral Fellowships provide early career support for New Zealand scientists, engineers and social scientists of outstanding talent, for post-doctoral research either in New Zealand or overseas. The scheme encourages New Zealanders who have recently completed doctoral degrees overseas to return to New Zealand, and also supports those who have completed doctoral degrees in New Zealand to work overseas, including in countries where few science contacts exist at present.

The FiRST Scholarship Awards aim to inspire others to follow in the footsteps of New Zealand’s world-class scientists and promote networks between researchers, universities and business.

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