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Infectious Disease Research Centre Launched

18 October 2012, at 9:04am

NEW ZEALAND - Massey University is bringing together researchers from across the University to combat infectious diseases that pose a threat to health, biosecurity and trade.

The Infectious Disease Research Centre will build on the University’s world-leading research into infectious disease. It will be launched at an inaugural symposium this month.

Centre director Professor French says the centre brings a “one health” approach to the work being carried out at Massey. It also builds on the University’s proven record of producing relevant research that can be quickly applied to bring about interventions with real health and economic benefits.

“No single discipline has all the knowledge and skills needed to meet the challenges faced by human, animal, plant and ecosystem health,” he says. “There is a growing global recognition that multidisciplinary teams are essential to tackle both the current disease problems and those that will emerge in the future.”

This interdisciplinary approach has already led to major health and economic gains, he says. “It was research led by Massey epidemiological staff that informed the national strategy to combat campylobacteriosis,” he says. “That has led to a halving of notified cases and a NZ$40 million annual saving.”

The centre will be made up of research groups from across the University:

  • mEpiLab: molecular epidemiology and veterinary public health group (Professor Nigel French)
  • Epicentre: veterinary epidemiology and economics (Professor Tim Carpenter)
  • The Rainey Lab: ecological processes and evolutionary genetics (Professor Paul Rainey)
  • Institute of Information and Mathematical Sciences: infectious disease modelling (Professor Mick Roberts)
  • Centre for Public Health Research: public health effects of microbial exposures (Professor Jeroen Douwes)
  • Statistics and Bioinformatics Group: spatial and temporal modelling of disease (Professor Martin Hazelton)

The symposium, at the Palmerston North Convention Centre from 23-24 October, will feature introductory presentations by the group leaders and some of their leading researchers, as well as keynote addresses from Professor Bruce Levin of Emory University in the United States, Professor Christopher Dye of the World Health Organisation, Professor Ian Gardner of the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada, and Associate Professor Michael Baker of the University of Otago.

The centre launch function will be held at Wharerata on the Manawatu campus at 6.30pm on Tuesday 23 October. More information about the symposium and keynote speakers can be found on the IDReC website: www.idrec.ac.nz