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Marsden Fund success for Maurice Wilkins Centre investigators

8 November 2016

Researchers associated with the Maurice Wilkins Centre have received a major boost after several investigators received Marsden funding last week.

A total of 17 researchers affiliated with the Maurice Wilkins Centre were named as principal investigators on the Marsden Fund grants. Many other Maurice Wilkins Centre researchers will participate as associate investigators on the projects.

Maurice Wilkins Centre researchers have won the majority of awards available under the ‘Biomedical Sciences’ and ‘Cellular, Molecular and Physiological Biological’ categories where grants were only award to approximately 10 per cent of applicants.

Marsden Funds are highly competitive grants distributed over three years, paying for salaries, students and postdoctoral positions, institutional overheads and research consumables. The grants are managed by the Royal Society of New Zealand on behalf of the government.

2016 Marsden funded projects featuring MWC researchers as principal investigators:

  • Professor Vic Arcus, University of Waikato: “Macromolecular rate theory (MMRT) and the catalytic power of enzymes.”
  • Dr Jonathan Astin, University of Auckland: “Stop of go: unravelling the patterns behind lymphatic vessel patterning.”
  • Professor Greg Cook, University of Otago: “Unravelling the key role of cytochrome bd oxidase in antimicrobial lethality in tuberculosis.”
  • Professor Paul Donaldson, University of Auckland: “Spectacles in a bottle: Pharmacological regulation of the physiological optics of the optical lens.”
  • Professor Michael Eccles, University of Otago: “The genes of life and death: a role for placental-specific genes in cancer?”
  • Professor Antony Fairbanks, University of Canterbury: “A new paradigm of organelle targeting.”
  • Professor Dave Grattan, University of Otago: “Growth factors mediating prolactin-induced neurogenesis in the adult brain.”
  • Professor Debbie Hay, University of Auckland: “Making receptors fly: using mass spectrometry to reveal mechanisms of G protein-coupled receptor function.”
  • Associate Professor Julia Horsfield, University of Otago: “Becoming master of your destiny: insights into genome activation from nuclear structure.”
  • Drs Jodie Johnston and Ghader Bashiri, University of Auckland: “Understanding internal communication with proteins.”
  • Dr Troy Merry, University of Auckland: “The mechanics of mitochondrial derived peptides (MDP).”
  • Dr Yoshio Nakatani, University of Otago: “Uncovering the physiological roles of the multiple NDH2 in bacterial genomes.”
  • Associate Professor Thomas Proft, University of Auckland: “PiVax:  a novel peptide delivery strategy for the development of vaccines.”
  • Dr Mattie Timmer, Victoria University of Wellington: “The missing link: a traceless strategy for the conjugation of complex carbohydrates to proteins and peptides.”
  • Dr Alex Tups, University of Otago: “Hypothalamic Inflammation: Cause of leptin resistance and obesity?”
  • Dr Christopher Walker, University of Auckland: “Naturally biased? Exploring neuropeptide signal pathway bias in neurons.”