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IRANZ submission to SSAG calls for support of IROs ▼
IRANZ news briefs ▼
HERA: Which matters more? Excellence or impact? ▼
Malaghan: Revolution in cancer care is near ▼
MRINZ: AI poised to revolutionise clinical trials ▼
Mātai: New brain blood flow metric offers insights into Alzheimer's ▼
Takarangi: A question of identity ▼
Motu study highlights wellbeing benefits for arts sector workers ▼
Bragato: Sequencing New Zealand taonga ▼
Cawthron: Toxic bloom affecting Waiheke beaches ▼
Lincoln Ag: Monitoring grazed pasture quality from space ▼
Aqualinc: Will regulatory changes help farmers? ▼
WSP: Trends spell more serious driver injuries ▼
BRANZ releases Industry Insights 2024 report ▼
Mātai: Tairāwhiti Study aims to 'revolutionise paediatric medicine' ▼
MRINZ: Asthma hospital admissions coming down ▼
Malaghan: The ever-evolving world of immunology research ▼
Malaghan: Making CAR T-cells more effective ▼
Bragato: Trials highlight aromatic profiles in Marlborough Sauv Blanc ▼
Bragato: Building vineyard soil health ▼
Aqualinc: Storage options for maintaining and growing resilience ▼
Lincoln Agritech: National maps show nitrate risk ▼
MRINZ: HRC Grant fuels landmark REMAP-CAP study ▼
Multimedia: Podcasts, radio, tv, video, and more from our members ▼
Follow us on social media ▼

IRANZ submission calls for expanded definition & support of IROs

In a move to redefine New Zealand’s science, innovation, and technology (SIT) landscape, the Independent Research Association of New Zealand (IRANZ) made a compelling submission to the Science System Advisory Group (SSAG) chaired by Sir Peter Gluckman. The submission, part of the Phase 1 IRANZ input, outlines key policy recommendations aimed at broadening the recognition and support for Independent Research Organisations (IROs) within the country’s public research framework.

During a meeting with IRANZ on 18 June, Sir Peter Gluckman acknowledged the importance of inclusive policies that support the diversity of New Zealand's research landscape, but said that change in the system was critical. “I think everybody agrees that the system as we have it is dated and needs change. In fact, in the 450 submissions between the two reviews, that was virtually the most common commentary that was made - that changes are needed,” Sir Peter remarked.

“There'll be debate over the detail, but I think the bottom line, the key messages are not too dissimilar. On the University side, it's more about getting the system to work as a system, rather than for the benefit of eight individual institutions where the institutional focus is dominant. But how do you actually do that while respecting academic autonomy, institutional autonomy, academic freedom, and also reducing the barriers that exist between universities, society, the research community, the policy community, and industry.”

“There are some big issues across the whole of the system. It's not just about what happens to CRIs, it's not just what happens to the funding mechanisms, what happens in infrastructure. It's also about the Independent Research Organisations, which are a broad mix, as it is about other entities in the education space. So there's a lot of moving parts here. And we need to move in a hurry because legislative change will be needed.”


Sir Peter Gluckman
Sir Peter Gluckman, president of the International Science Council, is leading the Science System Advisory Group.
IRANZ news briefs
  • IRANZ welcomes Hauhau Research
  • Bragato Research Institute appoints new CEO
  • Takarangi Research: Merata Kawharu guest presenter at Oxford conference
  • Cawthron scientists foster French connection
  • Malaghan: Kia Niwha Leader Fellowship for Malaghan vaccine researcher
  • MRINZ Deputy Director Matire Harwood Made Companion of the King’s Service Order
  • Motu’s Stuart Donovan appointed to the Housing Expert Advisory Group
  • Lincoln Agritech: Hydro-Metrics now a standalone company

Follow the link for more details on the June 2024 news briefs from our Independent Research Organisations.


Dr Juliet Ansell
Dr Juliet Ansell has been appointed CEO of the Bragato Research Institute. Photo: Bragato Research Institute.
HERA: Which matters more? Excellence or impact?

HERA CEO Dr Troy Coyle writes about the differences between excellent research that has impact vs impactful research that is excellent, and the potentially harmful bias in the New Zealand Science System. It's a timely article and a discussion we have been having ourselves at IRANZ as we prepared our submission for the Science System Advisory Group in May.

"The Aotearoa New Zealand research, science and innovation (RSI) system is one that purportedly values and rewards research excellence and research impact equally.

"Despite this, the current system favours an approach that focuses on excellent research that has impact vs impactful research that is excellent."

Dr Coyle writes that an alternative approach is to ensure that all proposals are assessed for both impact and excellence or that impact is the first hurdle. "Surely, all research must be high impact? Is there any point doing the most excellent research in the world if it has no impact?"


excellence or impact
"How have we got it so wrong? Is this a sensible way to do things? I can see why it is done this way. . .it leads to less resources being required for project assessment. However, is that the best outcome for how our major RSI funding is allocated?" Image: HERA.
Malaghan: Revolution in cancer care is near

In an article published earlier in May in The Post, Professor Graham Le Gros discusses the tantalising closeness of a revolution in cancer care, and what's needed to make it happen.

"We are on the cusp of a revolution in cancer care thanks to progress made over the last few decades in cancer immunotherapy.

"Among such treatments, CAR T-cell therapy, which uses a patient’s immune system to target and destroy cancer, has moved from a theoretical possibility to an approach that is increasingly proving to be a gentler, more effective treatment option for certain types of blood cancers.

"With research and clinical trials underway worldwide and here in New Zealand, CAR T-cell therapy has the potential to treat more cancers, and other disease indications such as autoimmune disorders.

"But for Aotearoa New Zealand, delivering treatments like CAR T-cell therapy in our healthcare system requires a fundamental shift."

In 2019, the Malaghan Institute brought CAR T-cell therapy to New Zealand for the first time, launching the Enable CAR T-cell clinical trial, a phase 1 safety study for people with certain types of lymphoma.


Graham le Gros
Professor Graham Le Gros. Photo: Malaghan Institute of Medical Research.
hospital equipment
MRINZ: AI poised to revolutionise clinical trials

In a groundbreaking collaboration between medical researchers from Aotearoa New Zealand and the United States, a recent study has unveiled a transformative approach to personalised medicine using cutting-edge machine learning techniques.

Published in JAMA, the study titled Effects of Individualized Oxygenation Targets on Mortality in Critically Ill Adults: A Machine Learning Analysis marks a significant leap forward in how clinical trials are conducted and how patient outcomes are optimised.

The traditional model of randomised clinical trials, while invaluable in establishing the average effects of treatments on patient populations, often falls short in accounting for individual variability in treatment responses. This limitation has long been a point of contention in medical practice, pushing clinicians to navigate the delicate balance between personalised care and evidence-based medicine.

The research team, led by experts including Professor Paul Young of the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand (MRINZ), sought to address this critical gap by leveraging the power of machine learning. Their focus was on understanding the individualised treatment effects of oxygen targets in critically ill adults receiving life support in ICU — a therapy used in millions of people around the world each year.


Mātai: New brain blood flow metric offers insights into Alzheimer's

Researchers from Mātai Medical Research Institute and Auckland Bioengineering Institute have introduced a groundbreaking metric for analyzing brain blood circulation, as published in Scientific Reports – Nature. Led by first author Sergio Dempsey and co-authors Dr Soroush Safaei, Dr Gonzalo Maso Talou, and Dr Samantha Holdsworth, the team utilized 4D flow MRI technology to develop this innovative approach.

This metric focuses on assessing blood pulsation through brain vessels, akin to wrist pulse with each heartbeat. It evaluates pulse regulation across vessel sizes, crucial for brain oxygen and nutrient distribution. It identifies risks linked to high pulsatility in small brain vessels, crucial in various brain conditions.

"Our findings are a promising step towards better understanding the vascular contributions to neurodegeneration," says Dr Holdsworth, from Mātai and the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland.

The study underscores the importance of understanding brain blood pulsatility for clarifying disease mechanisms and exploring new treatments. The team aims to advance clinical strategies to impact patient care and outcomes.


brain scan
Photo: Mātai Medical Research Institute.
Takarangi: A question of identity

Mā te rongo, ka mōhio; Mā te mōhio, ka mārama; Mā te mārama, ka mātau; Mā te mātau, ka ora. Through resonance comes cognisance; through cognisance comes understanding; through understanding comes knowledge; through knowledge comes life and well-being.

How connected are Māori youth to ancestral marae, and does it matter? A project by Takarangi Research Group investigated issues about marae connection and identity. The research was lead by Merata Kawharu, Paul Tapsell, Stephen McTaggart and Krushil Watene.

The three-year project saw the team engaged in discussions with Māori youth and their source communities to broaden understandings of marae amid transformations of ‘community’ occurring both at home and overseas.

The findings are now published on the Takarangi website. The report contains observations of trends, problems, and positive strategies related to rangatahi, Marae, and connectivity that an 'Eight Kura cohort' shared with the research team. The team hopes the information will be useful for all kura across Aotearoa New Zealand and contribute to discussions on similar issues facing indigenous peoples internationally regarding home connection and identity.


Two children playing in a waka
Photo: Takarangi Research Group.
Movie set
Photo: Getty Images, UnSplash.
Motu study highlights wellbeing benefits for arts sector workers

A new working paper by researchers from Motu Economic and Public Policy Research explores the intriguing dynamics of the arts labour market, revealing that employment in this sector, despite often being associated with lower pay, offers significant wellbeing benefits to workers.

The study, titled "Working for fun? The impact of employment in the arts sector on wellbeing," authored by Thomas Benison, Trinh Le, and Arthur Grimes, delves into why the arts sector continues to attract an excess supply of workers despite its financial drawbacks. Using data from the New Zealand Census and household surveys, the researchers find that arts workers typically earn about 20% less than their counterparts in other sectors. However, they also note that approximately half to two-thirds of this wage gap can be attributed to differences in observed characteristics between the two groups.

While the study does not establish causality, it provides indirect evidence suggesting that employment in the arts sector positively impacts workers' wellbeing. This boost in wellbeing, referred to as "psychic income," may help explain why many individuals choose to remain in the arts sector despite lower financial returns.


Bragato: Sequencing New Zealand taonga

When the Bragato Research Institute installed an Oxford Nanopore PromethION Sequencer at its Grapevine Improvement Laboratory, it marked a significant milestone in New Zealand's scientific capabilities. The installation was the first high-throughput single-molecule sequencer in the country, a groundbreaking advancement for genetic research.

The advanced sequencing technology has been made available to researchers across various fields, fostering unique collaborations with scientists both within New Zealand and internationally. One area experiencing significant demand involves the study of New Zealand's native species. Researchers focusing on native flora and fauna recognize these species as taonga (treasures), and they value the use of Aotearoa-based services and expertise to ensure appropriate stewardship of samples and data.

Recent collaborative projects have included sequencing efforts for native birds and mammals such as the tara iti (fairy tern), tītitipounamu (rifleman), and pekapeka (New Zealand lesser short-tailed bat). The lab team at Bragato has developed significant expertise in handling challenging samples, a category often applied to plants. This expertise has extended to collaborations involving insects and marine organisms, including sea urchins, corals, and sea cucumbers.


Rifleman by Louise Thomas
The tītitipounamu or rifleman (Acanthisitta chloris). Photo: Louise Thomas.
Cawthron: Toxic bloom affecting Waiheke beaches

Dr Laura Biessy, Microaglae Team Leader at the Cawthron Institute, writes about the sludge that's been turning up on Waiheke Island's beaches the past few summers.

"Waiheke Island’s beautiful beaches are beloved by locals and visitors alike, but for the past few summers people have been disappointed by the presence of a stinky and hazardous black sludge that has appeared on shore.

"This sludge had not been a dominant feature of the local marine ecosystem of Waiheke, but beginning in November 2022 following severe and wild weather events, hundreds of tons of unidentified mats washed up and decomposed on the beach, in particular on Shelley and Blackpool beaches. Over the 22/23 summer, Auckland Council removed close to 400 tonnes of this material and nearby residents began experiencing headaches as well as eye and throat irritations leading the Council to begin investigations.

"As Cawthron Institute is an important centre in Aotearoa New Zealand for research into toxic algae, Auckland Council asked us to identify the species and test for toxins."


Okeania mat affecting beach
Okeania mats washed ashore on Waiheke Island and decomposed to form a black sludge. Photo: Cawthron Institute.
Lincoln Ag: Monitoring grazed pasture quality from space

Lincoln Agritech is one of 12 New Zealand research organisations taking a bold leap into space, in a new work programme funded by the New Zealand’s Space Agency and working with NASA.

Called Catalyst: Strategic – New Zealand – NASA Research Partnerships, the programme provides up to $75,000 for six-month feasibility studies unlocking information about the environment, Earth systems and climate through observation from space.

NASA’s contribution is in kind, making its experts available for consultation and advice. Research began in April. The New Zealand Space Agency is part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE).

Lincoln Agritech is working with partner AgResearch to investigate monitoring pasture quality through satellite imagery.

“It’s already possible to assess the amount of feed available for livestock through satellite imagery, but we don’t know the quality of that feed,” says Lincoln Agritech’s Group Manager, Precision Agriculture Armin Werner.


New Zealand from satellite
Lincoln Agritech is investigating monitoring pasture quality through satellite imagery. Photo: NASA.
Aqualinc: Will regulatory changes help farmers?

In the June issue of Canterbury Farming newspaper, Matt Bubb from Aqualinc explores the topic "Will regulatory changes help farmers?" The full article is also available on Aqualinc's website.

The coalition Government is currently amending the Resource Management Act (RMA) and several key documents governing water resource management. Since these changes were announced, there has been extensive dialogue with farmers about the potential benefits for farming communities. Optimism is high that the proposed reforms will bring significant improvements.

The Government has emphasized its intention to cut unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy, aiming to reduce the number of consents required and simplify the consenting process. This, in turn, is expected to alleviate the burden on both applicants and Councils by making the process less complex, time-consuming, and costly.

However, as of now, no notable changes have been observed. Despite the Government's clear intent, Councils must continue to assess consent applications based on current regional plans and national regulatory documents. Consequently, significant changes will only be possible once formal amendments to the existing rules framework are implemented.


Aerial view of farm land
Photo: Aqualinc Research.
WSP: Trends spell more serious driver injuries

Population trends spell more fatal and serious driver injuries. But researchers at WSP say it doesn’t have to be that way.

A recent piece of WSP research for the AA Research Foundation features an eyebrow-raising number. As Aotearoa New Zealand’s population increases and ages, projections show a 33 percent increase in fatal and serious driver injuries by 2063. While cause for concern, a range of road safety engineering treatments could easily be done to protect drivers of all ages - today and into the future.

The projection comes from WSP research leader for road safety Bill Frith. He used 2020 road injury statistics and official population forecasts to estimate the likely situation forty years from now.

It’s a problem compounded by another WSP research finding. Older drivers, who are generally more fragile and likely to suffer crash injury, report being more anxious behind the wheel. That’s due to other drivers making them nervous, speeding vehicles, and aggressive over-taking. Plus, our roads have become busier – a trend that’s set to continue.


Auckland motorway
While the projection from WSP researchers is confronting, it is a forecast figure based on the status quo of today’s serious road-related injuries and deaths continuing. Photo: WSP Research.
BRANZ releases Industry Insights 2024 report

BRANZ has unveiled its latest Building Industry Insights 2024 report, continuing a tradition that spans over two decades. Conducted biennially, this comprehensive survey serves as a crucial pulse check for the building and construction sector, identifying system needs and guiding BRANZ’s research investment priorities.

This year's survey involved over 500 respondents and included 24 detailed interviews with sector participants, ranging from designers and engineers to builders, tradespeople, government officials, and research professionals. The survey explored key priorities, issues, and opportunities in areas such as build performance, workforce dynamics, information resources, the Building Code, and emerging innovations like standardisation, prefabrication, and technological advances.

The resulting report offers an in-depth analysis of the survey responses and interviews, providing valuable insights into the current state of the building system. These findings support BRANZ’s ongoing environmental scanning and system awareness efforts, guiding future research prioritisation, focus, and investment.


BRANZ report cover
Image: BRANZ.
Mātai: Tairāwhiti Study aims to 'revolutionise paediatric medicine'

Researchers from Mātai Medical Research Institute are conducting a pioneering "Tairāwhiti Study" to advance paediatric medicine. This initiative involves scanning over two dozen children to enhance understanding of anatomical variability across vital organ systems, including the brain, heart, lungs, and musculoskeletal system.

Recently, Henry McMullan from TVNZ 1 News visited Mātai Medical Research to report on their progress. The study employs cutting-edge imaging technologies and computational modeling to develop predictive models. Researchers aim to prevent disorders, enhance diagnostic precision, and personalize treatments, aiming to set new standards in child health.

"Our goal is to transform how we assess and treat children," emphasized study researchers, highlighting global potential for breakthroughs in child health.

Supported by the Auckland Bioengineering Institute, the pilot study has already shown promising outcomes. Collaborations with Tōnui Collab also aim to encourage local youth towards careers in science and technology.

For further insights, catch the segment featuring Henry McMullan on TVNZ 1 News.


matai tvnz screenshot
MRINZ: Asthma hospital admissions coming down

Recent findings released by the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand (MRINZ) underscore New Zealand’s pioneering role in adopting an innovative asthma management strategy, now recognised as the optimal asthma treatment.

The MRINZ study, Patterns Of Asthma Medication Use And Hospital Discharges In New Zealand, published recently in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: Global, has shown that New Zealand is leading the world in the uptake of a novel management approach recommended as optimal asthma treatment.

The study revealed a remarkable 108% rise in the usage of the combination 2-in-1 inhaler budesonide/formoterol between 2019 and 2022. This surge in budesonide/formoterol use coincided with a notable 17% decrease in hospital admissions for asthma during the same timeframe.

Over the past decade, pivotal clinical trials conducted by MRINZ have established the superiority of the 2-in-1 inhaler in preventing severe asthma attacks compared to traditional single reliever inhalers. These studies laid the groundwork for the 2019 Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) guidelines' endorsement of the combination inhaler as the preferred reliever medication across asthma severity levels.


asthma graphic
Image: Medical Research Institute of New Zealand.
Abbie Larson
Abbie Larson. Photo: Malaghan Institute of Medical Research.
Malaghan: The ever-evolving world of immunology research

Arguably the most important security guard of our immune system, dendritic cells could be the key to understanding how our immune system responds to allergies. It’s a focus for research officer Abbie Larson from the Ronchese Lab, who is using advanced technologies to evolve our thinking.

Our immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins that work together to defend our bodies from invaders. Dendritic cells are a key player in this defence mechanism, acting like security guards, patrolling our bodies for intruders like bacteria, viruses, or other foreign particles.

“Dendritic cells work by continuously sampling their environment, breaking down any foreign particles they encounter and presenting these fragments to other immune cells. If these fragments are identified as threats, the immune system kicks into action, triggering an immune response,” says Abbie.

“Unfortunately, sometimes dendritic cells can get a little too enthusiastic and can misidentify harmless substances, like pollen or dust as dangerous invaders. This can ultimately cause the symptoms of allergies such as rashes, swelling, and inflammation.”


Malaghan: Making CAR T-cells more effective

PhD student Jarem Wylie is researching ways to make CAR T-cell therapy even more effective and safer so that it can be applied to a broader range of cancers. His studies have taught him that negative results are as informative as breakthroughs in scientific discovery.

Working in the Hermans lab, Jarem’s research is part of the Malaghan Institute’s CAR T-cell programme, focusing on expanding and improving this cutting-edge technology.

“Currently, CAR T-cells have proven most effective against blood cancers. This is because CAR T-cells are injected into a patient’s blood stream and circulate until they encounter the cancer cells,” says Jarem.

However, CAR T-cell therapy has not been as successful with types of cancers that form solid tumours such as lung cancer or stomach cancer. The rapidly multiplying cells clump together to produce a mass that is difficult for CAR T-cells to target. Jarem’s PhD aims to find potential strategies to help CAR T-cells to overcome these hurdles.

“We’re currently investigating a range of approaches that may lead to the development of therapies that are more durable and effective at targeting different types of tumours, including solid tumours,” says Jarem.


PhD student Jarem Wylie
PhD student Jarem Wylie. Photo: Malaghan Institute of Medical Research.
Sauvignon blanc wine
Photo: Bragato Research Institute.
Bragato: Trials highlight unique aromatic profiles in Marlborough Sauv Blanc

Fermentis, in collaboration with the Bragato Research Institute (BRI), has been conducting yeast trials at the Bragato Research Winery to evaluate the impact of different yeasts on Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Over several vintages, these trials aimed to help winemakers enhance their wine portfolios by achieving a new balance of fruit, aroma, depth, and structure.

Sauvignon Blanc, which constitutes up to 73% of New Zealand’s wine production, is renowned for its aromatic intensity, featuring dominant gooseberry and capsicum notes, with tropical and passionfruit overtones. Additional common aromas include grapefruit, lime, cut grass, and tomato stalks.

The Bragato Research Winery, equipped with custom fermentation tanks, facilitated the trials with four 17-litre tanks, allowing for four individual fermentations under identical conditions. These micro-vinifications underwent sensorial analysis by a panel of 17 professional tasters and were complemented by qualitative and quantitative analyses of higher alcohols, esters, and thiols.

The results demonstrated that each Fermentis yeast contributed distinct aromatic and sensory profiles to the Sauvignon Blanc, offering valuable insights for winemakers aiming to refine their craft and expand their wine offerings.


Bragato: Building vineyard soil health

Soil health is crucial for grapevine health and wine quality, making it a key focus for Bragato Research Institute (BRI). Recognizing the decline in soil health across New Zealand vineyards, BRI conducted a 2023 survey identifying various soil management practices such as irrigation, reducing compaction, and using cover crops, mulching, or composting. However, the complexity of soil management due to varying soil characteristics, climate, and grower goals leaves many uncertain about the best practices for their specific needs.

The survey revealed that 96% of growers seek more detailed, location-specific information to improve soil health. Responding to this need, BRI, in collaboration with Plant & Food Research and the Marlborough District Council, developed a proof-of-concept tool to guide site-specific soil management. This tool provides detailed soil property information and tailored management recommendations. BRI aims to refine this tool based on feedback to support the wine industry's soil health goals.


digging equipment
Photo: Bragato Research Institute.
Aqualinc: Storage options for maintaining and growing resilience

In the May issue of Canterbury Farming newspaper, Dr Andrew Dark from Aqualinc talks about "Storage options for maintaining and growing resilience", his article is reproduced on the Aqualinc website.

Irrigation water supplies have been under pressure this summer, with the Government classifying Canterbury and a number of other regions as being under drought conditions.

“That pressure has also been felt by irrigation systems that include storage: we’ve seen several headlines accompanied by images of dams with very low water levels. In the face of a changing climate, it’s going to be increasingly important to ensure that water storage systems – including those that are already in place – are adequately designed to deliver the required levels of water supply security alongside other co-benefits such as environmental flows and recreational opportunities,” writes Andrew.

"Previous long, dry summers have prompted thinking (both within farming circles, and in local and central government) about water storage as a means of maintaining the long-term resilience of existing irrigated land uses and enabling growth or land-use change."


Braided river and water storage
Securing adequate water sources has become challenging, factors include existing water allocations being at or near limits in many areas, and uncertainty around future regulations. Photo: Aqualinc.
Lincoln Agritech: National maps show nitrate risk

Scientists from Lincoln Agritech and ESR have released updated national maps forecasting areas unlikely to experience groundwater nitrate contamination, even where specific testing hasn’t occurred.

Developed over a decade, these advanced models, now accessible via the National Science Challenge Our Land and Water’s Data Supermarket, incorporate variables like soil type, geology, and hydrology. The new model has better prediction accuracy compared to previous versions, integrating data from wells with known redox states to predict conditions in untested regions.

Nitrate contamination varies due to land use and groundwater's natural denitrification potential, where bacteria convert nitrate to harmless nitrogen gas under oxygen-depleted conditions.

Dr Theo Sarris of ESR says, “The redox status of groundwater is a useful indicator for identifying potential denitrification zones, as an ecosystem service for tailored land management and targeted environmental regulations,”


nitrate maps
Photo: Lincoln Agritech.
MRINZ: HRC Grant fuels landmark REMAP-CAP study

The REMAP-CAP study (Randomised, Embedded, Multifactorial, Adaptive Platform for Community-Acquired Pneumonia), active in 12 intensive care units in Aotearoa New Zealand was awarded a 5 million dollar Health Research Council of New Zealand Programme Grant on 27 June. Dr Colin McArthur and Dr Tom Hills, who jointly lead the MRINZ Infectious Diseases programme, oversee the study, supported by a large research team across the motu.

Severe pneumonia, often caused by influenza, remains a common and serious health issue, particularly affecting Māori. Since its inception in 2016, REMAP-CAP has been funded by the Health Research Council (HRC) and has focused on identifying the most effective treatments for severe pneumonia and influenza. Its adaptive design is also capable of swiftly responding to emerging pandemics.

In 2020, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, REMAP-CAP quickly pivoted to address this new threat. Enrolling more than 10,000 participants with COVID-19 globally, the study provided crucial evidence on effective treatments such as corticosteroids, immune modulators, and optimal blood-thinning doses.


covid virus
Image: MRINZ.
Multimedia: Podcasts, radio, tv, video, and more from our members

Check out the IRANZ multimedia page for more.


Motu: "Immensely frustrating": What is the impact of Long Covid?

Motu Fellow Jaimie Monk has suffered from long covid. She spoke with Kerre Woodham on NewstalkZB about the symptoms and balancing work in the context of changes to the Jobseeker benefit.

Malaghan: The ever-evolving world of immunology research

Arguably the most important security guard of our immune system, dendritic cells could be the key to understanding how our immune system responds to allergies. It’s a focus for research officer Abbie Larson from the Ronchese Lab, who is using advanced technologies to evolve our thinking.

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IRANZ is an association of independent research organisations. Its members undertake scientific research, development or technology transfer. Members include Aqualinc Research Ltd, Bragato Research Institute, BRANZ, Cawthron Institute, DigiLab, Dragonfly Data Science, Gillies McIndoe Research Institute, HauHau Research, Heavy Engineering Research Association (HERA), International Global Change Institute (IGCI), Leather & Shoe Research Association (LASRA), Lincoln Agritech Ltd, Mackie Research, Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, Manawatū AgriFood Digital Lab, Medical Research Institute of New Zealand (MRINZ), Mātai Medical Research, M.E Research, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, National Transport Research Organisation, Scarlatti, Stoneleigh Consulting, Takarangi Research Group, Te Tira Whakāmataki, and WSP Research.

Contact: Dr Rob Whitney, Executive Officer, mobile: +64 27 2921050, email:

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