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Gravida applauds demand for new health/agriculture knowledge

Gravida applauds demand for new health and agriculture knowledge

The people of New Zealand have clearly shown their desire for putting the health of our children and families first in the results of the National Science Challenges, says Gravida: National Centre for Growth and Development.

The newly announced National Science challenges of ‘a better start for young New Zealanders, and healthier lives, as well as aging well’ show New Zealanders have a hunger and demand for personal health knowledge that all scientists now need to heed and work together to supply, Gravida Director Professor Phil Baker says.

“New and exciting fields of research such as epigenetics and developmental plasticity are showing us that not only genetics but environmental factors are influencing early life growth and development and going on to have long term consequences for health and disease risks later in life,” Professor Baker says.

“Our researchers are working on projects for example, that look at how a variety of pregnancy complications and experiences can increase risk for heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and obesity in both mothers and their children. We are also looking at how to prevent these risks from developing and being passed on – fighting disease before it starts.

‘”This sort of emerging science knowledge is set to be hugely influential on future health policy and clinical guidelines.

“Gravida members are also actively working to increase the productivity of primary production in partnership with AgResearch and Landcorp, and as a group we will respond to the ‘our land and water’ challenge too. We are looking forward to lending our scientific expertise to the task of better balancing our environment with primary production,” Professor Baker says.

“As a national organisation drawing members from all New Zealand universities, centres and institutes in the field of growth and development, Gravida already works in a collaborative model. The ‘CoRE’ model proves institutions can put aside boundaries and cross-fertilise ideas. We’re also able to provide leadership in education outreach, as proven by our successful relationship with the LENScience school programme and farmer learning programmes. We’re committed to expanding further and working with other organisations to develop these National Science Challenges, to translate the latest science into clinical practice, primary production, health promotion and education.”

About Gravida: National Centre for Growth and Development
Gravida is a Government-funded national Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE) which draws its members from New Zealand’s universities, medical schools, research institutions and farm sites. Its members are biomedical, clinical and animal scientists dedicated to finding out what factors and processes influence early life growth and development in both humans and animals, in order to identify future health and disease risk in the years to come. Findings in animal health often illuminate new scientific areas in human health, and vice versa. Gravida members benefit from international peer review, improved linkages and collaboration on research projects, funding and education events. The organisation is actively involved in the translation of its scientific findings into clinical practice, animal productivity, human health promotion and education outreach in order to ensure the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders.

Gravida is hosted by The University of Auckland. Its founding partners include AgResearch, Landcorp, The University of Auckland, The University of Canterbury, Massey University and The University of Otago.

Find out more about Gravida on the web: www.gravida.org.nz or Twitter: @gravidanz

ENDS

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