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National Research Centre Celebrates First Year


National Research Centre Celebrates First Year

The National Research Centre for Growth and Development (NRCGD), one of seven government funded Centres of Research Excellence (CoRE), celebrated it’s first year of operation by inviting the Prime Minister, Helen Clark to officially open new headquarters at the Liggins Institute in Auckland.

Welcomed by NRCGD Director, Professor Peter Gluckman FRS and Mrs Alison Paterson, Chairperson of the NRCGD Board of Governance, the Prime Minister was presented with the NRCGD Annual Report and addressed an audience of more than 100 dignitaries from the Universities of Auckland, Otago and Massey and AgResearch. She then toured the facilities, visiting laboratories and discussing the seven major research projects being undertaken by NRCGD personnel.

In her speech, the Prime Minister commented on the unique, inter-institutional nature of the NRCGD.

“This Centre of Research Excellence has brought together some of the best minds in the country in their respective fields, from some of the best research institutions, to tackle issues of both national and international importance.

“One of New Zealand’s key strengths in the future will surely be our ability to apply our longstanding expertise in the sciences and research from which biotechnology stems in an innovative way. This Centre is evidence of that: it doesn’t see boundaries between agri-biotech and medical biotech: it sees opportunities for synergies. It doesn’t see differences between disciplines: it sees complementarity,” Ms Clark said.

Professor Peter Gluckman said that the NRCGD is playing a major role in understanding the biology of growth and development which is crucial to reducing the disease burden both in New Zealand and globally.

“Such research can have major social and economic benefits through contributions to our health system and to our budding pharmaceutical industry. Growth and development is the basis of the pastoral economy and our research also aims to use our leading edge to enhance productivity in pastoral agriculture.

“We are trying to capitalise on the internationally recognised strengths that New Zealand scientists hold in the science of growth and development and in fields extending from genomics to systems biology. We are here to exploit the latent synergies that were hidden until now because the tools to create inter-institutional and interdisciplinary activity were just not there before, “ Professor Gluckman said.

The NRCGD combines skills and research from The University of Auckland incorporating the Liggins Institute, Massey University, University of Otago and AgResearch Limited. It is comprised of 120 staff and students with recognised capabilities spanning human genomics, biomedical science, mammalian physiology, endocrinology, neurobiology, cell biology, systems biology and agricultural biotechnology.

THE NATIONAL RESEARCH CENTRE FOR GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

The National Research Centre for Growth and Development (NRCGD) is one of seven Centres of Research Excellence (CoRE) set up by the government to ensure that New Zealand’s tertiary educational system is underpinned by a robust and internationally recognised academic research enterprise.

The NRCGD combines skills and research from The University of Auckland incorporating the Liggins Institute, Massey University, University of Otago and AgResearch Limited.

The NRCGD comprises 120 staff and students with recognised capabilities spanning human genomics, biomedical science, mammalian physiology, endocrinology, neurobiology, cell biology, systems biology and agricultural biotechnology.

The focus of the NRCGD is on that most important component of biology; namely growth and development. The magic of how a single cell grows and develops into a complete organism encompasses some of the most complex biology and New Zealand is fortunate in having several clusters of true internationally recognised scientists in this area.

Concentrating on this biology of early development and its life-long consequences for health and disease, the NRCGD has four main areas of research focus:

The causes and consequences of low birth weight and prematurity Gene-environment interactions in growth and disease Saving new born babies from brain injury Treatment of neurodegenerative disease in adults

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