The Canterbury Medical Research Foundation has pledged $824,037 towards researching a variety of causes, including bowel cancer and mental distress. Photo / Michael Craig
Eight research projects have been given the green light to go ahead in Christchurch to investigate the impacts of mental and physical health on the public.
The Canterbury Medical Research Foundation (CMRF) has pledged $824,037 towards researching a variety of causes, including bowel cancer and mental distress.
New Zealand has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world, with approximately 3000 people diagnosed every year and 1200 people dying as a result.
Now, Postdoctoral fellow Dr Annika Seddon has been given $110,000 to investigate the illness.
Seddon said there’s mounting evidence to suggest gut bacteria and inflammation play a role in bowel cancer, the research will aim to prove the link by studying immune cells.
“We hope this research will lead to new strategies for preventing or slowing the progression of this devastating disease. The ultimate goal is to save lives.”
Another grant given out has been to Dr Kaaren Mathias, a senior lecturer at the University of Canterbury who will study how those with mental distress and local communities co-design mental health services.
According to Mathias, professionals have designed one-size-fits-all approaches for mental health for decades.
“There are so many negative stories about mental health, but there are all sorts of strengths in communities we can build on,” she said.
“I’m fascinated by how the resources that are already within communities can be used to promote mental health.”
Six other researchers will benefit from the grant.
A study into preventing strokes during keyhole surgery is among the grants, along with research into reducing cancer cell invasion and pleural infections.
Dr Ruqayya Sulaiman-Hill has been given $110,000 to continue her research into the psychological impact of traumatic events, while Dr Christoph Goebl was granted the same amount to research novel methods of cancer diagnosis and treatment.
The grants fund a researcher to complete a major project over a two-year period, with the grant covering the cost of the researcher’s time, materials and resources.
CMRF director Melissa Haberfield said investing in world-class research is critical, and the foundation was proud to be supporting emerging talent as well as experienced researchers.
“It is a privilege to be able to financially support some of the brightest talents in our region,” she said.
“The research this funding enables will result in better health and wellbeing outcomes for the people of Canterbury and the world.”
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