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

 

Waikato science students tackle cancer and memory research

25 February, 2014

Waikato science students tackle cancer and memory research


Click for big version.

Biomedical research at Waikato University: From back left, Dr Michael Jameson, Dr Steven Bird, Greg Jacobson and Dr Logan Voss. From front left, Laura Bell, Dr Linda Peters, Kirsty Mayall and Stephen Evans.

Preventing breast cancer, reducing the toxicity of radiotherapy and chemotherapy side effects, and analysing memory function during anaesthesia, were the topics for three students from the University of Waikato, who have just completed summer studentships.

Laura Bell, Kirsty Mayall and Stephen Evans were each awarded a Waikato Clinical School Summer Studentship worth $5000. Laura and Kirsty are about to embark on their second year of a Master of Science (MSc), while Stephen is in his first year of a PhD. All three students are focusing on biomedical science and will each take their studentship research topic to the next level throughout 2014, as part of their degree.

Breast cancer prevention

Former Hamilton Girls’ High student Kirsty Mayall’s studentship research focuses on breast cancer prevention, and is co-supervised by University of Waikato lecturer and molecular geneticist Dr Linda Peters, and medical research scientist and consultant oncologist Dr Michael Jameson from the Waikato Hospital’s Oncology department.

“Selenium (Se) is an essential trace mineral that has critical roles in maintaining health in humans. Depending on the concentration and type of selenium, it can cause or prevent breast cancer,” says Kirsty.

The aim of this study is to test two different types of selenium at three concentrations each in human breast cancer cells that carry the BRCA1 mutation (an inherited breast and ovarian cancer gene).

“During my MSc I’ll be looking at the different concentrations of selenium on the breast cancer cell lines and what dose is lethal for the cells. From there we’ll investigate what dose is most effective at reducing the levels of DNA damage present in the cells.”

Reducing toxicity of radiotherapy and chemotherapy

Stephen Evans is supervised by Dr Jameson and Waikato University’s Dr Steve Bird, with additional support from Dr Peters and Dr Ray Cursons.

His study will also focus on selenium, but instead of cancer prevention, he will look at reducing the negative effects of cancer treatment.

“High doses of selenium have been shown to reduce chemotherapy and radiotherapy-induced toxicities towards blood forming stem cells in both animal and human studies. My project examines the effects of selenium on the growth of such cells when they are exposed to these toxic cancer treatments,” says Stephen.

Memory function during anaesthesia

Laura Bell was originally inspired to study biology by her Year 12 Hillcrest High School science teacher. Her research focuses on the effects of general anaesthetics on a patient’s memory and is supervised by Dr Peters alongside Dr Logan Voss from the Anaesthesia Department at Waikato Hospital.

“The mechanism by which anaesthetics disrupt memory is not well understood, but is likely to involve an interruption to gene expression and protein synthesis pathways,” says Laura.

Laura explains that previous studies have focused on the effect of anaesthetics in the hippocampal area of the brain. However, the cerebral cortex is also an important site for memory and this is the area that she will be investigating.

“In this study we will investigate anaesthetic effects on genes related to memory in the brain. In particular, we will determine whether general anaesthetics alter expression of genes related to signalling mechanisms.”

Collaboration
The projects provide further collaborative research links between staff from the University of Waikato and Waikato Hospital, which Dr Peters says is exciting for the development of biomedical science research at the University.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Science Media Centre: Funding For R&D In New Zealand – Expert Reaction

Research, Science and Innovation Minister Dr Megan Woods has today announced $401.3 million funding for research and development through Budget 2020 and the COVID Response and Recovery Fund. The fund includes $150 million for an R&D loan scheme, ... More>>

ALSO:

Maritime NZ: NZ Joins Global Initiative Keeping Ports Open And Freight Moving

New Zealand has joined an international port authorities’ global initiative for safe and efficient movement of goods and shipping during the COVID-19 crisis. World-wide, 56 port authorities have agreed how they will work together facilitating maritime ... More>>

ALSO:

National: National Backs Businesses With $10k JobStart

National will provide a $10,000 cash payment to businesses that hire additional staff as part of our commitment to keeping New Zealanders in jobs, National Party Leader Todd Muller and Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith have announced. Our JobStart ... More>>

ALSO:

DIY Law: Government Exempts Some Home Improvements From Costly Consents

Homeowners, builders and DIYers will soon have an easier time making basic home improvements as the Government scraps the need for consents for low-risk building work such as sleep-outs, sheds and carports – allowing the construction sector ... More>>

ALSO:

Media Awards: The New Zealand Herald Named Newspaper Of The Year, Website Of The Year At Voyager Media Awards

The New Zealand Herald has been labelled a “powerhouse news operation” as it claims the two biggest prizes – Newspaper of the Year and Website of the Year – along with many individual awards at the 2020 Voyager Media Awards Website of the ... More>>

ALSO:

ASB Bank: ASB Takes The Lead Again With New Low Home Loan Interest Rate

ASB has moved again to support its customers, cutting a number of home loan rates, including the two-year special rate to a new low of 2.69% p.a. Craig Sims, ASB executive general manager Retail Banking says the reduced rate will be welcome news for many ... More>>

ALSO:

Nathan Hoturoa Gray: The Problems With Testing And Case Statistics For Covid-19

To begin to understand disease transmission in a country requires adequate testing of your population with properly vetted, accurate tests. As the world struggles to find what 'adequate percentage' of the population is necessary, (estimates predict ... More>>

ALSO:

RNZ: Fletcher Building To Lay Off 1000 Staff In New Zealand

The construction company will cut around 10 percent of its workforce as it struggles with the fallout from Covid-19. More>>

ALSO:

Can Pay, Won't Pay: Cashflow Moves Urged

Government Ministers are asking significant private enterprises to adopt prompt payment practices in line with the state sector, as a way to improve cashflow for small businesses. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Why We Should Legally Protect The Right To Work From Home

For understandable reasons, the media messaging around Level Two has been all about “freedom” and “celebration”, but this is not necessarily going to be a universal experience. When it comes to workplace relations, Level Two is just as likely to ... More>>

ALSO:



New Zealand Government: Supporting Kiwi Businesses To Resolve Rent Disputes

The Government will legislate to ensure businesses that suffered as a result of the COVID-19 response will get help to resolve disputes over commercial rent issues, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today. More>>

ALSO:


Science Media Centre: Understanding 5G Concerns – Expert Q&A


Recent attacks on cell phone towers have brought concerns over the rollout of 5G technology into sharp relief.
While scientific research has consistently shown that the technology does not adversely affect human health, public concerns about its impact have spread around the world, fueled in part by growing misinformation online. The SMC asked experts to comment... More>>

ALSO:


Trade: Record Monthly Surplus As Imports Dive

Imports in April 2020 had their biggest fall since October 2009, resulting in a monthly trade surplus of $1.3 billion, Stats NZ said today. “This is the largest monthly trade surplus on record and the annual goods trade deficit is the lowest ... More>>

ALSO:


Media Blues: Stuff Chief Executive Buys Company For $1

Stuff chief executive Sinead Boucher has purchased Stuff from its Australian owners Nine Entertainment for $1.
The chief executive was returning the company to New Zealand ownership, with the sale is expected to be completed by 31 May.
"Our plan is to transition the ownership of Stuff to give staff a direct stake in the business as shareholders," Boucher said in a statement.... More>>

ALSO:

RNZ: Bar Reopening Night 'much, Much Quieter'

Pubs and bars are reporting a sluggish first day back after the lockdown, with the fear of going out, or perhaps the joy of staying home, thought to be a reason for the low numbers. More>>

ALSO:

Stats NZ: New Zealand’s Population Passes 5 Million

New Zealand's resident population provisionally reached 5 million in March 2020, Stats NZ said today. More>>

NIWA: Seven Weeks Of Clearing The Air Provides Huge Benefits: Scientist

Seven weeks of lockdown has provided evidence of how pollution can vanish overnight with benefits for the environment and individuals, says NIWA air quality scientist Dr Ian Longley. Dr Longley has been monitoring air quality in Auckland, Wellington ... More>>

ALSO:

Government: Milestone In Cash Flow Support To SMEs

A significant package of tax reforms will be pushed through all stages in Parliament today to throw a cash flow lifeline to small businesses. More>>

ALSO: