Otago researchers win awards

University of Otago researchers Aniruddha Chatterjee (pathology, left) and  Peter Fineran, of the...
University of Otago researchers Aniruddha Chatterjee (pathology, left) and Peter Fineran, of the Otago microbiology and immunology department, with the awards they received at the 2015 Queenstown Research Week last week. Photo by Denis Simonov
University of Otago researchers Peter Fineran and Aniruddha Chatterjee have received national awards at the recent Queenstown Research Week.

Associate Prof Fineran, who specialises in microbiology and immunology, was presented with the $4000 Thermo Fisher Scientific Award.

The award reflects research excellence, using molecular-based techniques, and is based on research published in international journals.

Dr Chatterjee, an Indian-born research fellow in pathology, received the $1000 illumina Emerging Researcher Award.

These extremely competitive awards were the meeting's top honours, a university spokesman said.

Prof Fineran is a microbiologist who uses molecular biology - with bioinformatics, genetics and biochemistry - to understand the interactions between bacteria, viruses that infect bacteria, and mobile genetic elements.

Prof Fineran said this ''fantastic honour'' reflected positively on other researchers in his laboratory.

Dr Chatterjee said he was ''really pleased'' to gain the award.

He had been applying his research to studying the processes involved in the spread of cancer in the body from a primary melanoma site.

New Zealand had a high melanoma death rate - 359 deaths in 2011 - and he hoped his research would contribute to reducing such deaths.

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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