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HRC awards $7.29M in fellowships

HRC awards $7.29M in fellowships to develop emerging health researcher careers

Investment in the development of the future health research workforce is an essential and important activity for the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC).

Five emerging health research leaders have been awarded Sir Charles Hercus Health Research Fellowships by the HRC. The Fellowships, worth up to $0.5M over four years, will assist the researchers to complete advanced postdoctoral health research in scientific fields that have the potential to contribute to both the health and economic goals for the Government’s investment in research, science and technology.

Dr Haxby Abbott, from the University of Otago, Dunedin, will investigate what kind of treatment for osteoarthritis is the most cost-effective, and what type of patient is most likely to respond best with one kind of treatment versus another, to reduce disability and cost.

Over three quarters of women diagnosed with breast cancer receive anti-oestrogen therapy. Dr Anita Dunbier, also from the University of Otago, Dunedin, will investigate why some women respond to therapy better than others. She will examine three genes, which are closely related to the oestrogen receptor, to determine how they affect response to treatment and genetic susceptibility to breast cancer.

Dr Anna Pilbrow, from the University of Otago, Christchurch, will explore how family history contributes to susceptibility to heart disease. She will investigate biochemical pathways within the heart and blood vessels that are altered in people genetically predisposed to heart disease. This study will allow her research team to develop blood tests that indicate impending risk of a heart attack.

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Dr Shieak Tzeng, from the University of Otago, Wellington, will investigate how tobacco smoking, which is a major cardiovascular risk factor, alters Cerebral Autoregulation (CA), the mechanism that maintains brain blood flow within physiological ranges. CA, once impaired, increases the risk of brain haemorrhage, which is a debilitating form of cardiovascular disease and will test the hypothesis that smoking blunts CA.

Dr Mark Bolland, from The University of Auckland, will study how the use of calcium supplements is related to an increase in cardiovascular risk. He will investigate whether the increased risk persists after calcium is stopped, whether co-administered Vitamin D alters that risk, how calcium increases cardiovascular risk, whether the increased risk occurs with a different preparation of calcium, and determine the overall risk/benefit of calcium on health.

“The HRC is committed to investment in the development of the future health research workforce, and addressing the challenge of keeping future health research leaders in careers in New Zealand is an essential part of that,” says HRC Chief Executive, Dr Robin Olds.

“Our Career Development Awards support health research-related awards ranging from Summer Studentships, to advanced Postdoctoral Fellowships. These include Mâori and Pacific health research awards, which are aimed at fostering and developing the Mâori and Pacific health research workforce in New Zealand,” he says.

The full list of 2011 HRC Career Development Award recipients are outlined below:

Sir Charles Hercus Health Research Fellowship

Dr Haxby Abbott, University of Otago
Optimising cost-effectiveness in the management of osteoarthritis
4 years, $500,000

Dr Mark Bolland, The University of Auckland
Effect of calcium supplements on cardiovascular events and other health outcomes
4 years, $400,000

Dr Anita Dunbier, University of Otago
Investigation of genes involved in breast cancer susceptibility and response to therapy
4 years, $500,000

Dr Anna Pilbrow, University of Otago, Christchurch
Blood relations: finding circulating biomarkers for inherited heart disease
4 years, $500,000

Dr Shieak Tzeng, University of Otago
Influence of tobacco smoking on dynamic cerebral autoregulation
4 years, $500,000

Clinical Research Training Fellowship

Mrs Rosalind Case, University of Waikato
The impact of traumatic brain injury on school functioning in children aged 5-11 years
3 years, $250,000

Dr Mandira Chakraborty, The University of Auckland
Peripheral mitochondrial function in the management of acute pancreatitis
1 year, $80,000

Dr Ruth Cunningham, University of Otago
Health outcomes for mental health service users - exploring the case of cancer
4 years, $250,000

Silke Kuehl, University of Otago
The suicide and serious harm risk of 'Mixed Presenters' to emergency departments
4 years, $250,000

Dr Jeffrey Ngu, University of Otago, Christchurch
Autoimmune liver diseases in NZ: population-based epidemiology, genetics and therapeutics
3 years, $250,000

Ms Rachael Parke, The University of Auckland
Can nasal high flow therapy prevent nasal complications following cardiac surgery?
42 months, $145,833

Dr Simon Thornley, The University of Auckland
Cardiovascular disease risk prediction in the era of effective drug treatment
3 years, $250,000

Dr Deborah Wright, The University of Auckland
Prognostic modelling of colorectal cancer using multiple data sources
3 years, $250,000

Dr Tzu-Chieh Yu, The University of Auckland
Targeting peritoneal inflammation and injury in paediatric acute appendicitis
2 years, $170,000

Disability Research Placement Programme

Ms Elisa Lavelle, AUT University
Developing strategies to better meet the needs of partners of people with brain injury
3 years, $108,027

Ms Elizabeth Mayland, University of Otago
Disability foundations: Anxiety and injury perceptions after upper limb trauma
3 years, $107,105

Ms Janet McDonald, University of Otago
The process and experience of family carers managing nursing procedures at home
4 years, $113,450

Mâori Health Career Development Awards

PhD Scholarship in Mâori Health Research

Ms Arna Mitchell, Massey University
The impact of whakapapa exchange on the therapeutic alliance in therapy with Mâori clients
36 Months, $106,550

Ms Jennifer Reid, University of Otago
SICK TO DEATH: Mâori access to quality health care in Christchurch
18 Months, $78,550

Ms Pania Renati, University of Waikato
Whakapapa: An interpretation of Indigenous theory for the postvention of suicide for Mâori families
36 Months, $108,095

Masters Scholarship in Mâori Health Research

Ms Renei Ngawati, AUT University
Capacity building and self-determination in Indigenous communities
12 Months, $11,080

Ms Te Moana Rolleston, Massey University
How do different populations define family wellbeing?
12 Months, $11,600

Rangahau Hauora Award

Ms Leah Redstone, Ngaitai Iwi Authority
Sustainable Housing Development for Ngaitai families
6 Months, $12,000

Ms Ann Webster, Tu Kotahi Mâori Asthma Trust
Primary schools & Mâori children with asthma - A pilot
6 Months, $11,997

Erihapeti Rehu-Murchie Research Fellowship in Mâori Health

Dr Lillian George, Massey University
Nga ara hou: New pathways toward family wellbeing for incarcerated Mâori women
36 Months, $293,198

Dr Laurie Morrison, AUT University
Nga pou wahine: A kaupapa wahine intervention addressing gambling misuse
36 Months, $268,582

Hohua Tutengaehe Research Fellowship in Mâori Health

Ms Mera Penehira, University of Waikato
Mauri tangata: Re-Positioning Mâori resistance and wellbeing in sexual and reproductive health policy and service provision
36 Months, $296,297

Mâori Health Research Summer Studentships

The HRC also awarded nine Mâori Health Research Summer Studentships, valued at $5,000 each, to the following recipients:

Ms Te Hao Apaapa-Timu, Hapai te Hauora Tapui Limited
Ms Abbey Corbett, University of Otago
Ms Georgia Crosson, Massey University
Ms Chloe Hoeata, The University of Waikato
Mr Pita King, The University of Waikato
Ms Zoe McGavock, Massey University
Mr Brendan McIntosh, University of Otago
Ms Parewahaika Erenora Te Korowhiti Harris, University of Waikato
Ms Mariana Whareaitu, Massey University

Pacific Health Research Career Development Awards

Post Doctoral Fellowships

Dr Gerhard Sundborn, The University of Auckland
Changing the food, built and social environments with policy to address obesity in New Zealand
36 months, $350,000

Mr El-Shadan Tautolo, AUT University
Development & validation of a method to assess Pacific fathering behaviour & involvement
36 months, $350,000

Dr Jemaima Tiatia, The University of Auckland
Suicidal Behaviours and Ideation Amongst Samoan people: The Journey Towards Prevention
36 months, $245,000

PhD Scholarships

Ms Marianna Churchward, Victoria University of Wellington
An investigation of the intersection between resilience and risk factors for Samoan women living in Aotearoa/New Zealand during pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood
36 months, $107,150

Miss Radilaite Delaibatiki, University of Otago
Knowledge, attitudes and practices of family planning for Fijian women living in Fiji and NZ
36 months, $110,510

Ms Carmel Peteru, The University of Auckland
E Mapu i Fagalele: Landscapes of Wellbeing for Samoan Elderly People Living in New Zealand
12 months, $34,485

Mr Faasisila Savila, AUT University
Environmental Associations of Overweight and Obesity for Pacific Island Children in New Zealand
60 months, $91,338

Mr Byron Seiuli, University of Waikato
Gapatia i le maliu ma le tagiaue: Examining customs that support Samoan men through bereavement
36 months, $102,950

Pacific Summer Studentships

The HRC also awarded six Pacific Summer Studentships, valued at $5,000, each to the following recipients:

Ms Shavonne Duffy, The University of Auckland
Mr Rhys Faavae, University of Otago
Ms Jessica Gosche, University of Waikato
Ms Shivanjali Lingam, University of Otago
Ms Fialupe Lotoala, Massey University
Ms Monique Palaone, The University of Auckland


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