$3 Million Allotted For Neuroendocrinology Research

By Xyla Joelle L. Fernandez

Nov 04, 2016 06:00 AM EDT

More than  $3 million in Marsden Fund grants has been awarded to four members of the University of Otago Centre for Neuroendocrinology to research how the brain controls hormones.The grants were among $13.7million to be awarded to 23  Otago University research projects by the fund which supports investigator-initiated research.

Centre for Neuroendocrinology (CNE) member Prof Allan Herbison, of the physiology department, said that to have four members of the center receive funding from one of the ''biggest funders'' of scientific research in New Zealand was crucial.

Prof Herbison said his research on the impact of estrogen on the brain and fertility control would not have been possible had he not received $825,000 from the fund.

About 25% of New Zealand couples were infertile, and the project would provide information which would underpin the development of new strategies to treat infertility, he said. CNE member Prof Colin Brown, of the physiology department, was awarded $825,000 for research on the retention of water by pregnant women and  preventing  pre-eclampsia.

University of Otago deputy vice-chancellor of research and enterprise Prof Richard Blaikie praised the Otago recipients, who represent 14 departments across the university. 

A total of $65.2million was awarded, the largest funding round to be allocated in the history of the fund. All projects run over three years and funding is spread over this period. The University of Auckland won $20.6million for 38 researchers and research projects.

Otago research projects ranged from how an embryo's genome is activated to the origins of New Zealand's pre-European musical instruments.

Aside from these, there are also funds that had been given to Otago like Dr Jennifer Cattermole, music, theatre and performing arts, $530,000; Dr Yawen Chen, computer science, $300,000; Dr Matthew Clarkson, chemistry, $300,000; Prof Greg Cook, microbiology and immunology, $825,000; Prof Mike Eccles, pathology, $825,000; Dr Anna Garden, chemistry, $300,000 and more.

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