Re­search group award for mi­cro­bi­ol­ogy team

Otago Daily Times - - General - JOHN GIBB

A PI­O­NEER­ING Univer­sity of Otago mi­cro­bi­ol­ogy team, led by Prof Greg Cook, has been se­lected as the re­cip­i­ent of the univer­sity’s lat­est re­search group award.

The group’s work on a novel way to fight Tb in­fec­tions showed great prom­ise, award or­gan­is­ers said.

The award recog­nises a team ef­fort lead­ing to ‘‘recog­nised con­tri­bu­tions’’ and out­stand­ing re­search per­for­mance at the univer­sity at a high in­ter­na­tional level.

Prof Cook leads the bac­te­rial en­er­get­ics and an­timi­cro­bial re­sis­tance group, which is mak­ing ad­vances in the war against dis­eases such as Tb, in­clud­ing the drug­re­sis­tant strains of its causative bac­terium and other pathogens against which ex­ist­ing drugs are prov­ing in­creas­ingly in­ef­fec­tive.

The award was ‘‘great recog­ni­tion’’ for the group, and he was ‘‘de­lighted’’ for the mem­bers, and this ‘‘great hon­our had re­flected ‘‘all the hard work’’ put in over a long time, he said yes­ter­day.

As well as his group’s work to­wards de­vel­op­ing a class of an­tibi­otics aimed at crip­pling the me­tab­o­lism of such Tb and other bac­te­ria, and side­step­ping ex­ist­ing bac­te­rial drug­re­sis­tance mech­a­nisms, mem­bers are also mak­ing progress in ap­ply­ing the ap­proach for agricul­ tu­ral ap­pli­ca­tions.

Be­tween 2012 and last year, Prof Cook’s 22­strong group pub­lished 67 peer­re­viewed publi­ca­tions and re­ceived fund­ing from the Health Re­search Coun­cil of New Zealand, the Marsden Fund, MBIE, the Royal So­ci­ety and the NZ Fund for Global Part­ner­ships in Live­stock Emis­sions Re­search.

Deputy re­search and en­ter­prise vice­chan­cel­lor Prof Richard Blaikie said the group’s con­tin­u­ing work was ‘‘world­class sci­ence that has drawn con­sid­er­able at­ten­tion from lead­ing re­searchers around the world, with whom they have formed a number of key col­lab­o­ra­tions’’.

Win­ning team . . . Mem­bers of a Univer­sity of Otago mi­cro­bi­ol­ogy re­search team, led by Prof Greg Cook, front row, sec­ond from right, and in­clud­ing, in the front row, left to right, post­doc­toral fel­low Dr Htin Aung, as­sis­tant re­search fel­low Scott Ferguson and, at right, re­search fel­low Dr Yoshio Nakatani.

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