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MWC investigators awarded 14 grants in national health research funding

15 June 2016

Investigators with the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery have been awarded a total of 14 project grants in the annual Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) funding round.

The grants will support research on a wide range of topics including designing new drugs, researching cancer or infectious diseases and understanding bodyweight regulation.

The funding includes 14 projects funded for at least three years. Professors Rod Dunbar and John Windsor were both successful at securing two grants each.

The Health Research Council supports research that has the potential to improve health outcomes and delivery of healthcare, and to produce economic gain for New Zealand. Grants awarded to members of the Maurice Wilkins Centre network in the 2016 annual funding round include:


Dr David Ackerley, Victoria University of Wellington
Biodiscovery and biosynthesis of new drug candidates
36 months, $1,195,266

Professor Michael Baker, University of Otago, Wellington and associate investigator Dr Nikki Moreland, University of Auckland
Understanding GAS pharyngitis and skin infections as causes of rheumatic fever
36 months, $1,197,693

Research Professor Michael Berridge, Malaghan Institute of Medical Research
Intercellular mitochondrial transfer in glioblastoma
36 months, $1,095,884

Professor Margaret Brimble, University of Auckland
New generation lipopeptide antimicrobial agents using patented CLipPA technology
36 months, $1,199,021

Professor Gregory Cook, University of Otago, Dunedin
Repurposing amiloride derivatives as new agents for drug-resistant tuberculosis
36 months, $1,186,404

Professor Rod Dunbar, University of Auckland
Targeting cancer vaccines to human dendritic cells via CD301
36 months, $1,190,835

Professor Rod Dunbar, University of Auckland
Proliferating tumour-associated macrophages in human cancers
36 months, $1,173,502

Professor David Grattan, University of Otago, Dunedin
Role of hypothalamic beta-catenin in body weight regulation
36 months, $1,195,099

Associate Professor Michael Hay, University of Auckland
Novel radiosensitisers for head and neck cancer
36 months, $1,198,115

Professor Martin Kennedy, University of Otago, Christchurch
Genomic analysis of adverse drug reactions
36 months, $1,186,141

Dr Chris Pemberton, University of Otago, Christchurch
Novel biomarker for acute coronary syndromes
36 months, $1,164,058

Professor Peter Shepherd, University of Auckland
Potentiation of targeted cancer therapies by statins
36 months, $1,174,005

Professor John Windsor, University of Auckland
Targeting toxic gut lymph to treat acute disease
36 months, $1,176,441

Professor John Windsor, University of Auckland
Establishing drainage of thoracic duct lymph for longitudinal clinical studies
48 months, $1,158,581

The Maurice Wilkins Centre extends its congratulations to all principal and associate investigators on the successfully funded projects. Summaries of the research projects can be found at: - filter for ‘Researcher Initiated Proposals,’ ‘Projects’ and ‘2016’.