Feast of funding for health research from gout to measles to critical care

The University of Auckland's medical faculty won a big share of the latest health research grants from the government.

Associate Dean Collin Tukuitonga... Covid-19 project.

New devices and drugs to prevent organ failure in critically ill patients are targeted in a $5 million project funded by the Health Research Council (HRC).

That project will see Professors John Windsor and Anthony Phillips, from the medical and science faculties respectively, working on treatments targeting the lymphatic system.

Two more projects in the medical faculty each get $5 million over five years from the HRC.
Professor Rod Jackson’s team will create an anonymised register of cardiovascular and related risks to help combat the likes of diabetes, gout, obesity and heart failure.

Donated human brain tissue studied by Professor Michael Dragunow and his colleagues may yield clues to target inflammation associated with neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's.

Here are the many Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences projects to get funding. (The HRC names one leader for each project.)

Pacific Projects

Dr Malakai Ofanoa: Pasifika intervention to increase uptake of urate-lowering therapy for gout, 36 months, $1,106,323

Associate Dean Collin Tukuitonga: Attitudes to Covid-19 among Pacific people in Aotearoa, 36 months, $1,199,482


Dr Emma Best: Understanding measles; severity and sequelae, 36 months, $1,104,966

Professor Vanessa Burholt: Improving continence management for people with dementia in the community, 36 months, $1,199,981

Professor Larry Chamley: How does preeclampsia in pregnancy lead to early cardiovascular disease? 36 months, $1,199,914

Professor Stuart Dalziel: RCT budesonide-formoterol vs salbutamol reliever therapy in preschool asthma, 36 months, $1,439,689

Dr Jack Flanagan: Lymphocyte specific kinase inhibitors for controlling immunotherapy toxicity, 36 months, $1,199,974

Associate Professor Christopher Hall: Uncovering the earliest events leading to tophaceous gout, 36 months, $1,194,917

Associate Professor Rinki Murphy: Predicting cardiovascular risk from diabetic eye screening photographs, 36 months, $1,198,293

Associate Professor Roshini Peiris-John: Intersectional ethnic minority youth, harnessing creativity for health gains, 36 months, $1,199,984

Associate Professor Nikki Turner: Developing an assessment tool to gauge barriers to vaccination, 36 months, $896,195

Associate Professor Natalie Walker. Two projects: Effectiveness of alcohol warning labels, 36 months, $1,199,999; and combining cytisine and nicotine vapes, a randomized trial in smoking cessation 36 months, $1,439,365

Dr Annika Winbo: A neurocardiac coculture approach to Long QT Syndrome (a heart condition that can involve fast and chaotic heartbeats), 36 months, $1,199,932

Media contact

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E: paul.panckhurst@auckland.ac.nz