Researchers gain awards

University of Otago researchers (from left to right) Dr Emma Wyeth, Prof Richie Poulton, Prof...
University of Otago researchers (from left to right) Dr Emma Wyeth, Prof Richie Poulton, Prof Warren Tate and Associate Prof Suetonia Palmer, after receiving research awards in Wellington. Photo by Mark Tantrum.

University of Otago health researchers Prof Richie Poulton and Prof Warren Tate have received Health Research Council awards for "outstanding'' contributions to health research excellence.

Announcing the Celebrating Research Excellence Awards, an HRC spokeswoman said Prof Poulton, director of the university's Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit, was a "world-renowned'' longitudinal study researcher.

Biochemist Prof Tate was a "molecular science pioneer and mentor'', who had also made an outstanding contribution to health research excellence and leadership.

Otago emerging researchers Dr Emma Wyeth, of Dunedin, and Associate Prof Suetonia Palmer, of Otago's Christchurch campus, also received the awards, presented in Wellington this week as part of the HRC's 25-year anniversary celebrations.

The impact of Prof Poulton's research had been "immense'' both in New Zealand and internationally, acting HRC chief executive Dr Tania Pocock said.

The Dunedin Study had been largely funded by the HRC and its predecessor the Medical Research Council for more than 40 years.

A recent TVNZ documentary, Why am I?, focuses on some of the Dunedin Study's achievements.

Prof Tate's work had revolutionised the understanding of how proteins were synthesised in living cells, and provided important insights into the mechanisms behind diseases as diverse as Alzheimer's, HIV and chronic fatigue syndrome, Dr Pocock said.

Prof Palmer is a Christchurch kidney specialist and Dr Wyeth is director of the university's Ngai Tahu Maori Health Research Unit.

Dr Wyeth received an HRC Emerging Researcher First Grant in 2014.

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