Otago academics receive Fulbright awards

Neil Gemmell
Neil Gemmell
Two senior University of Otago academics, Profs Neil Gemmell and Tony Merriman, have received Fulbright New Zealand Scholar Awards to undertake research in the United States next year.

Each award provides up to $US37,500 to support research for three to five months in the US.

Prof Gemmell heads the Otago anatomy department, and also holds an AgResearch chair in reproduction and genomics, a professorial post established under the university’s Leading Thinkers initiatives.

He was likely to undertake his US research for three months, starting in mid-October. He will research the usefulness of new gene-editing, "gene drive" technologies for the control of predatory pests, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Broad Institute.

Tony Merriman
Tony Merriman
Prof Gemmell hoped "great headway" could be achieved through the award.

Prof Merriman, of the university’s biochemistry department, will research the genetic basis of urate control and gout in African-Americans during five months of sabbatical research at the University of Alabama Birmingham.

He was "very pleased" to gain the award, which he will take up late next year.His research was on gout, which affected  6% to 8% of Maori and Pasifika adults, he said.

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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