Health research gets significant boost

06 June 2013

New health research programmes and projects at The University of Auckland have gained funding of nearly $32 million from the Health Research Council’s latest funding round.

Three major programmes have gained almost $5 million each for five-year research grants into; effective interventions and policies for healthier diets; drug design for cancer treatment; and understanding the determinants of abnormal heart rhythm in heart disease.

The HRC approved 13 health research projects totalling nearly $17 million in this funding round.

Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Professor John Fraser says “This is a wonderful success not only for the individual investigators who constructed these exciting proposals, but also for the faculty and the University in an incredibly competitive funding round.”

“The breadth of research covered by these grants is stunning and while I commiserate with those who were unsuccessful, my warmest congratulations to these PIs.”

The full list of successful health researchers at The University of Aucland and the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences includes:


  • Professor William Denny, The University of Auckland Rational design of kinase inhibitors to target cancer 60 months, $4,923,458
  • Professor Peter Hunter, The University of Auckland Mapping determinants of arrhythmia in structural heart disease 60 months, $4,993,669
  • Associate Professor Cliona Ni Mhurchu, The University of Auckland Effective interventions and policies to improve population nutrition and health 60 months, $4,994,336


  • Associate Professor Alan Davidson, The University of Auckland Understanding kidney injury and the role of HNF1beta 36 months, $884,664
  • Associate Professor Alan Davidson, The University of Auckland Understanding how WT1 and its binding partner WTX cause renal disease 36 months, $1,171,726
  • Dr Daniel Exeter, The University of Auckland Delivering a new measure of neighbourhood disadvantage for New Zealand 36 months, $1,104,296
  • Professor Merryn Gott, The University of Auckland Pakeketanga: Living and dying in advanced age 36 months, $1,191,255
  • Dr Katie Groom, The University of Auckland STRIDER (NZAus): RCT of sildenafil therapy in dismal prognosis early-onset intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) 36 months, $1,147,306
  • Dr Deborah Hay, The University of Auckland Adrenomedullin 1 receptor antagonists as novel anti-angiogenic agents 36 months, $1,199,853
  • Professor Jane Harding, The University of Auckland Preventing neonatal hypoglycaemia with oral dextrose gel 36 months, $1,197,340
  • Associate Professor Sally Merry, The University of Auckland Modular evidence-based treatment of child and adolescent mental health problems 24 months, $1,674,507
  • Professor Martyn Nash, The University of Auckland Characterising heart failure with clinical imaging and structure-based modelling 36 months, $1,183,076
  • Dr Jeffrey Smaill, The University of Auckland Novel small molecule therapeutics for treatment of smoking-related lung cancer 36 months, $1,180,810
  • Andrew Sporle, The University of Auckland Preventable Maori mortality 36 months, $1,199,945
  • Dr Benjamin Thompson, The University of Auckland A randomized clinical trial of a new binocular treatment for amblyopia 36 months, $1,167,538
  • Professor Peter Thorne, The University of Auckland Imaging the labyrinthine-blood barrier in Meniere's disease 36 months, $966,266

For more information contact:

Suzi Phillips, Media Relations Advisor Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences Communications, The University of Auckland Email Tel +64 9 373 7599 ext 87383 or Mob 021416396