A researcher investigating ways to improve breast cancer
therapy is among five up-and-coming University of Otago
academics given an ''early-career'' award.
The recipients of this year's ''Early Career Awards for
Distinction in Research'' have been recognised for research
spanning breast cancer genetics, new anti-cancer
nano-medicines, testicular cancer rates, genetic factors
underlying heart disease and using mathematical techniques to
tackle philosophical problems.
Department of biochemistry senior lecturer Dr Anita Dunbier,
who is investigating ways of improving responses to breast
cancer therapy, said she was ''honoured'' to receive the
Her research aimed to identify which breast cancer patients
were at risk of having their cancer recur after surgery and
to develop better treatments for these patients.
She was about to start a clinical trial, funded by $199,583
in Health Research Council funding, looking at the affect of
combining aspirin with standard anti-hormone therapy for
women diagnosed with oestrogen-receptor-positive breast
It was hoped this would lead to better treatment, as
aspirin reduced inflammation.
''We have previously proven that inflammation helps the
tumours grow,'' Dr Dunbier said.
Deputy vice-chancellor Prof Richard Blaikie congratulated the
five researchers on their impressive records of achievement
at such an early stage of their research careers.
''These award recipients are exemplary early-career
researchers making energetic and fresh contributions to the
university's research effort and culture.
''Their notable achievements firmly place them to become
Otago's research leaders of tomorrow,'' Prof Blaikie said.
Each award winner receives a $5000 grant to use for research
and scholarly development, and becomes a member of the
university's O-Zone group of early-to-mid-career researchers.
The other recipients were: Dr Khaled Greish (pharmacology and
toxicology), Dr Jason Gurney (public health, Wellington), Dr
Anna Pilbrow (medicine, Christchurch) and Dr Zach Weber