Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Young researchers among best future scientists

7 June 2006


Young health researchers among the best future scientists in the country

New research has found evidence that some people are more likely to become addicted to nicotine because of their genes.

Dr Rod Lea from Environmental Science and Research (ESR) in Wellington, is investigating how a liver enzyme called CYP2A6 metabolises nicotine and eliminates it from the body. He has found that people with a slow acting CYP2A6 gene tend to eliminate nicotine from their body more slowly, and therefore feel the addictive effects of nicotine for longer.

Leading health research such as Dr Lea’s, has featured strongly in this year’s MacDiarmid Young Scientists of the Year Awards.

Six awards were presented to health researchers, including Dr Lea, who has won the place of overall runner-up in the awards and first-equal in the Advancing Human Health category, which is sponsored by the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

The distinguished awards are named after Professor Alan MacDiarmid, a New Zealand born Nobel Prize winning scientist. They celebrate the achievements of New Zealand’s future scientific leaders and encourage others to follow in their footsteps. The awards are organised by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology and the principal sponsor is Fisher & Paykel Appliances.

Among the other health research award winners is Pei-Yu Wang, joint-winner of the Advancing Human Health category. Pei-Yu, a PhD student at the University of Otago, is researching how brain diseases with a gender bias develop, such as motor neuron disease in men and anorexia in women. By looking at the role of Mullerian Inhibiting Substance (MIS) in creating maleness in the brain, Pei-Yu hopes to improve scientific understanding in this area.

Developing a software tool to help doctors monitor patients with early signs of melanoma won Hayley Reynolds from Auckland the joint runner-up award in Advancing Human Health category. Kylie Quinn from Wellington shared this award for her research into how tuberculosis (TB) works to damage the body.

Competition was fierce in the Advancing Human Health category, with a total of 45 entries received, making up 44 per cent of the total entries this year.

Dr Bruce Scoggins, Chief Executive of the HRC, says he was delighted to see so many entries of high quality.

“Health research can look forward to having an outstanding next generation of health research scientists,” he says.

This year’s winners were selected from more than 100 entries submitted from around the country. Entrants prepare a poster to summarise their research work and are judged on science excellence and clear communication of ideas.

The full list of this year’s health research winners:

National Award Runner-Up:
Dr Rod Lea (Wellington), ‘Genes, Nicotine & Addiction’. Rod was also first equal in the Advancing Human Health category.

Winners (first equal) Advancing Human Health:
Rod Lea (Wellington), (see above under national award runner-up)
Pei-Yu Wang (Dunedin), ‘Brain Sex”

Runners-up Advancing Human Health (two):
Kylie Quinn (Wellington), ‘TB’s partner in crime’
Hayley Reynolds (Auckland), ‘Melanoma, Catch it before it’s too late’

Commendation Advancing Human Health:
Dr Karen Silvers (Christchurch), ‘Can Fish make you Happy’


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Media Mega Merger: StuffMe Hearing Argues Over Moveable Feast

New Zealand's two largest news publishers are appealing against the Commerce Commission's rejection of the proposal to merge their operations. More>>


Approval: Northern Corridor Decision Released

The approval gives the green light to construction of the last link of Auckland’s Western Ring Route, providing an alternative route from South Auckland to the North Shore. More>>


Crown Accounts: $4.1 Billion Surplus

The New Zealand Government has achieved its third fiscal surplus in a row with the Crown accounts for the year ended 30 June 2017 showing an OBEGAL surplus of $4.1 billion, $2.2 billion stronger than last year, Finance Minister Steven Joyce says. More>>


Mycoplasma Bovis: One New Property Tests Positive

The newly identified property... was already under a Restricted Place notice under the Biosecurity Act. More>>

Accounting Scandal: Suspension Of Fuji Xerox From All-Of-Government Contract

General Manager of New Zealand Government Procurement John Ivil says, “FXNZ has been formally suspended from the Print Technology and Associated Services (PTAS) contract and terminated from the Office Supplies contract.” More>>