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Source: University of Otago

Seventeen early and mid-career researchers (EMCR) have received a boost from the Division of Health Sciences with an Accelerator Grant.
Professor Roslyn Kemp
Professor Roslyn Kemp, Associate Dean Research for the Division says the grants fill an important funding gap for these researchers, “These awards highlight the innovative and exciting research from early and mid-career researchers in the Division, with new ideas and independent research projects.”
Dr Catherine Collins, Co-Chair EMCR Management Committee, says this is the second year the grants have been awarded and the Committee is pleased to be able to follow on from the success of last year’s round.
Dr Collins says the purpose of this grant is to help EMCRs strengthen and develop relationships with Māori and Pacific communities, access resources not available in their current labs, or carry out pilot studies to support future grant applications.
“The calibre of applications suggests we have some exciting research projects from Health Sciences early and mid-career researchers to keep an eye out for in the future,” Dr Collins says.Applications were reviewed by a panel of early to mid-career researchers from across the Division’s different schools and offices.
Division of Health Sciences Acceleration Grants awardees:
Early career researchers:
Dr Katerina Achilleos, Biochemistry, School of Biomedical Sciences, $1,890Project: Unlocking the secrets of biomineralization in invertebrate ecosystem engineers
Dr Sumit Dadhwal, School of Pharmacy, $1,891Project: Targeted and responsive delivery of antisense oligonucleotides for triple negative breast cancer therapy
Dr Naomi Daniels, Microbiology and Immunology, School of Biomedical Sciences, $2,000Project: Evasion of BCG-mediated trained innate immunity by hypervirulent strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Dr Rachel Darnell, Microbiology and Immunology, School of Biomedical Sciences, $2,000Project: Identifying antimicrobial tolerance in the bacterial pathogen Enterococcus faecalis
Dr Emily Gray, School of Physiotherapy, $1,250Project: Exploring what it means to partner with Māori and Pacific peoples in cardiac rehabilitation research
Dr Jerry Hsu, Psychological Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, $2,000*Project: A New Narrative: Material Development for Ethnic Bias Training for Trainee Health Practitioners (*pending final ethics approval for the project)
Dr Chi Lynch-Sutherland, Pathology, Dunedin School of Medicine, $1,920Project: Repeating the past: a role for early developmental genes in malignancy
Dr Silke Morrison, Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, $1,925Project: Sweet dreams – can enhancing sleep improve diet and wellbeing in tamariki?
Dr Helen Owen, Preventive and Social Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, $2,000Prevalence and predictors of psychological distress at 12 years post-injury
Dr Sarah Rhodes, School of Physiotherapy, $2,000Project: Exploring the essential elements of a primary care based long COVID clinic
Dr Melyssa Roy, Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, $2,000Project: The use of continuous glucose monitoring to enhance the metabolic benefits of exercise and nutrition interventions
Dr Debina Sarkar, Biochemistry, School of Biomedical Sciences, $2,000Project: Investigation of circular RNAs (circRNAs) as prognostic biomarkers for breast cancer metastasis
Mid-career researchers
Dr Matthias Fellner, Biochemistry, School of Biomedical Sciences, $2,000Project: A new target for treatment of S. aureus infections
Dr Natasha Flack, Anatomy, School of Biomedical Sciences, $2,000Project: Improving clinical anatomy research of the leg for Pacifica
Dr Marina Kazantseva, Pathology, Dunedin School of Medicine, $1,999Project: Investigating protein targets network implicated in drug resistance in lung cancer
Dr Sarah McKenzie, Psychological Medicine, University of Otago, Wellington, $1,000Project: Through the Eyes of Men: A virtual photovoice project to understand men’s mental illness and suicidality
Dr Erik Wibowo, Anatomy, School of Biomedical Sciences, $1,800Project: Educational experience and wellbeing of Pasifika anatomy students