Biochemistry research at Otago University

Research in the Department is largely concerned with fundamental processes associated with a number of significant biomedical and biological problems: heart disease; cancer; diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and gout; memory and neurological disease; pathogenic viruses, micro-organisms and fungi; flowering, senescence, photosynthesis, nitrogen utilization in plants, symbiosis; mammalian preimplantation embryo development; cold adaptation; eukaryotic retroelements; body weight and cell signalling; molecular evolution; apoptosis; biodiversity. Extensive use is made of bioinformatics, microarray technology and proteomics tools. The Otago Genomics Facility, the Centre for Protein Research and the X-ray facility for protein structure determination are all located within the Department.

Extensive research programme

Members of the staff are very successful in obtaining grants for their research from a range of sources, including the Marsden Fund, Crown Research Institutes, the Health Research Council of New Zealand and the Foundation for Research Science and Technology. This enables a large number of grant-funded research staff (usually about 25 Research Fellows, Senior Research Fellows and Professorial Research Fellows; five to ten Postdoctoral Fellows; about 10 Assistant Research Fellows and 15 to 20 research technicians). Department staff are involved in several of the University's Research Themes.

A strong postgraduate presence

The Department’s extensive research programme also enables an active and productive postgraduate research programme with students enrolled for PhD (usually 35-45 at any one time), MSc (10 to 15) and fourth year (final year BScHons) students (20-30).