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Ensuring the best start for a healthy and productive New Zealand

ANNUAL REPORT 2013

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Contents

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Foreword: Lord Winston

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Report from the Chair

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Report from the Director

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Gravida’s strategic framework

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Growing from strength to strength

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The enormous cost benefits of improving health and productivity

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Scientific excellence

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Resource and connection

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Translation

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Collaboration

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Developing capability

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Gravida funded projects

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Outputs

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Financial statements

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Members and associates

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Foreword: Lord Winston Patron of Gravida Scientific endeavour is vital for our future wellbeing In my varying roles, I am passionate about advocating for science education and communication. Last year, when I was asked to open Britain’s National Science Week, I lamented that although we are more dependent on science and engineering than at any other time, far too many people are scientifically illiterate, often having been put off science at school. I was delighted then when Gravida invited me to visit New Zealand in March 2014 to speak at a number of events across the country, including several involving school children. The earlier in life we can educate and instil a passion for science in children, the more chances they have of realising the opportunities of this field. We need scientific solutions more than ever, and unless we can rise to these challenges, many countries face a bleak outlook, be it from climate change, economic disparity or escalating rates of non-communicable diseases.

Gravida is making remarkable progress in communicating its research findings to the wider lay audience. The future of all societies lies in the health and wellbeing of their offspring – through its research and networks. Gravida is truly working for New Zealand’s future wellbeing.

The future of all societies lies in the health and wellbeing of their offspring – through research and networks. Gravida is truly working for New Zealand’s future wellbeing.

It is up to us as scientists to ensure that our efforts aren’t left languishing on the laboratory bench, but instead educate the public and contribute to evidence-based decision making. Science and society are inter-dependent. Scientific knowledge is both changed by and changes society – each informs the other. This is why as patron of Gravida, it is heartening to observe how this organisation unites academics from across New Zealand and the world to collaborate on understanding the developmental origins of lifelong health and wellbeing – for New Zealand’s people and agricultural animals. Lord Winston is Professor of Science and Society and Emeritus Professor of Fertility Studies at Imperial College London, UK.

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Report from the Chair The power of vision There is nothing like a vision for a better future to inspire change. Vision energises nations to transform and an individual to commit to tasks or new ways of thinking that break through boundaries or social norms. A healthy and productive New Zealand is a vision held by all New Zealanders – for our own health, our children’s and the unborn. We are also aware of the many health challenges which have the potential to drain our economy and limit our potential – heart disease, diabetes, stroke and obesity to name a few. Gravida’s research is helping us to understand the need for a step-change in the way we support a healthy start to life. The government now recognises that early life is the touch-point for growth and development, and adult health. The recent report of the Health Select Committee on improving child health outcomes states: “The evidence is very strong; the first few years of life from preconception are fundamentally important for a broad range of child health outcomes, and for the achievements of children as adolescents and adults. The greatest gains and cost savings will come from effective evidence-based early intervention.”

Dame Alison Paterson Alison Paterson was recognised in the 2013 New Year Honours List and made a Dame of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business. Dame Alison has previously been appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit and appointed a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order. “On behalf of Gravida, I am delighted to congratulate Dame Alison. It is an absolute pleasure to work with Alison in her capacity as chair of Gravida. Her commitment, enthusiasm and expertise are invaluable to the organisation,” said Gravida director Prof Phil Baker. Dame Alison joined the board of governance at Gravida’s inception in 2003 and has been the chair since that time. Her background is in corporate governance and leadership in the service, agricultural and health industries. She has served as a director on numerous public sector and private organisation boards, including the board of the Reserve Bank, the Wrightson board, chair of the board of Landcorp Farming Ltd, chair of the Electricity Complaints Commission and chair of Waitemata District Health Board.

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Investment in Gravida is an investment in New Zealand’s future. A recent economic impact report indicated Gravida’s cumulative research potentially has an enormous impact on health and healthcare costs and on the agricultural economy through increased production. The past year has been one of expansion – increased membership, collaboration, stakeholder engagement and impact. Gravida is now of such calibre and mass that its gravitational pull has attracted international talent including our current director, Professor Phil Baker, our outstanding Scientific Advisory Board, and an International College of world-leading experts. Its research has brought about changes in clinical practice and farm management and the pace of these changes is accelerating. It has been a privilege being chair since Gravida’s inception in 2003, and I am confident the knowledge, collaborations and capability which have amassed over this period will change the course of New Zealand’s future for the better. Translation is the key and will require government and individuals to commit to putting into practice what is now known – a healthy start to life means a healthy and productive nation. The Board joins with me in thanking Professor Phil Baker and all associated with Gravida for a fruitful year. Although it is only eighteen months since he arrived in New Zealand, it is evident he has a vision which is fully in line with government priorities. I, in turn, thank the Board for their support.

Dame Alison Paterson Chair, Board of Governance


Gravida’s Chair Dame Alison Paterson and Director Professor Phil Baker.

The government now recognises that early life is the touch-point for growth and development, and adult health.

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Report from the Director 2013 was another tremendously exciting year for Gravida as the centre continued its journey of scientific endeavour. As highlighted in this report, Gravida investigators, working together and leading collaborations – many of which involve international partners – have made a series of exciting discoveries. For the second consecutive year, there has been an increase in scientific publications, just one of the many metrics that we seek to deliver against. Gravida is not just about ground-breaking discoveries. Translation of these discoveries for the benefit of New Zealanders is an absolutely key component of our mission. Effective translation takes many forms; our communication strategy has been highly successful this year, as evidenced by one of New Zealand’s top 10 science stories in 2013 relating to work by Gravida.

Gravida is not just about ground-breaking discoveries. Translation of these discoveries for the benefit of New Zealanders is an absolutely key component of our mission. Our annual report also details two very successful translational activities. LENScience continues to reach thousands of school students and their families, through curriculum-based, school taught, learning modules on nutrition, obesity, diabetes and the environment, as we seek to support government strategy to enhance the science curriculum. In 2013, LENScience received funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to extend this initiative beyond New Zealand into the Pacific Islands. I was also delighted when Gravida was selected to be the Ministry of Health’s lead provider of workforce training – around maternal and child nutrition and physical activity. Gravida is working with a range of healthcare providers to help them empower families to address the issues that increase problems of obesity and related diseases. Over the past year, Gravida’s international prominence, profile and activities have been further developed. Through major agricultural and health initiatives, we have established ‘Gravida in China’. Our key partnership with Singapore has been strengthened, and Gravida investigators are playing a major role in joint initiatives between the two governments. Our International College will play 4

an important role in promoting Gravida around the world. The inaugural International College convention will be in June 2014 in Auckland. Together, with some of the world’s leading researchers, we will debate which research frontiers Gravida should explore. Although we weren’t shortlisted for CoRE funding, I want to thank all members for their efforts over the past year. Naturally, we are extremely disappointed that our funding was not renewed by the Tertiary Education Commission. I am, however, most grateful for everybody’s tremendous efforts in putting together a powerful proposal which was described by the external referees as very strong, and recognised as addressing a very important health issue facing New Zealand. This input from our members will allow us to reconfigure the organisation with a clear idea of our purpose. Funding decisions are made on the basis of a range of different factors, and uncertainty is always an aspect of academic life. However we can all be proud that for the past decade Gravida has facilitated world-class research that will have major impact in New Zealand and indeed throughout the world over the coming years. Two years ago, we made the decision to diversify our funding streams and Gravida has been rewarded with several other government and industry contracts. We will continue to explore opportunities to generate other sources of revenue as it is of paramount importance that our crucial work of seeking to understand how early life events impact on long-term health, wellbeing and productivity, and of developing interventions that benefit all New Zealanders continues as we progress towards a secure financial model, independent of funding cycles. Once again, I want to thank everyone for their efforts and I look forward to the challenge of leading Gravida into this new and exciting phase.

Professor Phil Baker Director, Gravida: National Centre for Growth and Development


Gravida’s strategic framework Gravida’s research mission is to reveal how conditions encountered in early life affect the way an individual grows and develops throughout life. Our aim is to advance the understanding of the underlying processes involved in these changes, both in human and in agricultural contexts, with a view to identifying their short-term and long-term consequences for health and disease.

Gravida’s strategic priorities: Scientific Excellence A world-class science research centre reflecting our commitment to scientific excellence.

Effective Translation A catalyst for innovation-led economic and societal benefits reflecting our commitment to the effective translation of our knowledge.

Collaboration An inter-disciplinary, inter-institutional network reflecting our commitment to a collaborative approach.

Education An enabler of informed choice reflecting our commitment to education.

Capability Development A sustainable organisation emphasising capability development reflecting our commitment to investment in New Zealand’s scientific capability.

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Growing from strength to strength A renewed focus on strategic direction saw Gravida meet significant milestones in 2013 towards its goal of progressing science that is recognised internationally as at the forefront of discovery. These milestones built on Gravida’s ten years of investment in investigation, infrastructure and talent, and saw the centre substantially advance as a global hub of research excellence and collaboration in epigenetics, plasticity, physiology and medicine, and evolutionary biology. Progressing to trials The first clinical trial treating women diagnosed with severe intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR) with sildenafil citrate (Viagra®) – made headlines in New Zealand and around the world.

extend our research capability for inter-disciplinary, leading-edge research, translation, and outreach. This was advanced in 2013 with agreements finalised between Gravida and number of local and international industry and research organisations. Prof Philip Baker was appointed by the Chinese Government as a National Distinguished Professor to head up a new dedicated pregnancy research centre based in Chongqing Medical University in Western China.

The sildenafil citrate clinical trial, led by Dr Katie Groom, is the culmination of more than 15 years of research by our director Prof Phil Baker, and will operate beside a network of continuing studies by other Gravida researchers.

This will bring together the expertise of researchers from China, Canada and New Zealand to form an International Pregnancy Research Alliance (IPRA) to investigate new ways to prevent and treat pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and premature birth.

Strengthening networks A key strategic goal for Gravida is expanding and deepening collaborations between organisations to

Collaborating with stakeholders The awarding of a three-year grant from the Ministry of Health (MOH) to develop the

Year in review January 2013 30 world-leading scientists confirmed as International College members.

April 2013 Gravida and the Heart Foundation announce a joint Postdoctoral Research Fellowship.

May 2013 Gravida awards almost $3 million in its latest round of research funding grants and scholarships. Gravida’s Scientific Advisory Board visits NZ to undertake a review, and is hosted at a major Parliamentary reception held in Wellington.

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June 2013 Gravida director Philip Baker is appointed by the Chinese government as a National Distinguished Professor and to run a pregnancy research centre based in Chongqing Medical University in Western China.


‘Improving Maternal and Child Nutrition and Physical Activity Workforce Development Service Project’ was a noteworthy achievement for the Centre, as it represents a new area of endeavour. The project is being run by Gravida and overseen by an advisory group drawn from key stakeholders including the National Heart Foundation, Pacific Heartbeat, Plunket, the NZ College of Midwives, Tipu Ora Charitable Trust and the Health Promotion Agency. International recognition In November, ten key Gravida researchers, including founding director Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, spoke at the Eighth World Congress on the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) in Singapore, showcasing the international regard held for our research in this area. National recognition In December, the Parliamentary Health Select Committee released its report on improving health outcomes and preventing child abuse, calling for the government to “put more focus on, and investment into the pre-conception period to three years of age, and to take a proactive, health-promotion, disease-prevention approach to improving children’s outcomes and diminishing child abuse.”

July 2013 A Ma-ori language translation of the LENScience teaching module Me, Myself, My Environment: Nutrition is launched. Gravida is awarded a Ministry of Health (MOH) contract for maternal and child workforce development. Sidenafil citrate trial begins to treat babies struggling to grow in the womb.

September 2013 Gravida’s holds annual Science Symposium. Gravida celebrates its tenth birthday at the annual Science Symposium in Auckland. Board chair Alison Paterson honoured at Symposium for her exemplary leadership of Gravida since its inception in 2003.

The report made more than 130 recommendations after noting well over half of New Zealand’s current health budget is spent on the last two years of life. It advocates “investing an equitable share in the very early years of life where there is clear evidence that it is most effective.” Public engagement Raising the media profile of Gravida was a key initiative in 2013 for the communications team, so it was pleasing when one of our projects, the sildenafil citrate trial, was second of the top ten in New Zealand science media stories for 2013. For the year as a whole, Gravida’s media exposure doubled amid continued development of our website and social media efforts. The year-end saw a flurry of activity for Gravida and its members. Gravida prepared a rebid for an additional six years’ funding through to 2020 which entailed extensive consultation with our members and stakeholders. Planning for large events in 2014 also got underway, as well as operational initiatives to monitor the CoRE’s performance more closely and to improve efficiencies.

November 2013 Ten key Gravida researchers attend the 8th World Congress on the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD).

December 2013 Gravida submits rebid application for additional six years of funding to 2020. The Parliamentary Health Select Committee release its report stressing the vital importance of early childhood, pre-conception and pregnancy care research.

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The enormous cost benefits of improving health and productivity The overall picture is clear – non-communicable diseases cost New Zealand millions of dollars per year, so the potential benefits of successful research are huge, especially when it is aimed at early intervention. Gravida’s core mission is to understand early life events that affect lifelong health and well-being and to find preventions and interventions for a healthier and more productive New Zealand. Our human health focus aligns with government’s goals to reduce healthcare costs and to ensure a healthy start to life, and our agricultural focus on increased productivity is in line with the government’s Business Growth Agenda. A recent cost-benefit analysis conducted by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) estimated Gravida’s research potentially has a sizeable positive impact. It is estimated that for every million dollars invested in Gravida research, there is a potential $33.8 million economic impact based on reduced healthcare costs and increased agricultural production.

It is estimated that for every million dollars invested in Gravida research, there is a potential $33.8 million economic impact based on reduced healthcare costs and increased agricultural production. This finding is not surprising as Gravida is targeting non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that are creating an escalating burden on our healthcare system. Regrettably, New Zealand is now ranked as the third most overweight/obese country in the OECD and no healthcare budget is large enough for us to treat our way out of this rapidly-growing epidemic of obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Further, the impact on agricultural breeding practice has potential for significant productivity gains. 8

How Gravida’s research is making a difference The NZIER assessed five Gravida-funded programmes: The hPOD study is investigating the application of an oral dextrose gel to preterm infants to prevent neonatal hypoglycaemia. The research suggests that the treatment could reduce related healthcare costs by 42% or $4.3 million per annum on current costs. The metabolomic screening during pregnancy project aims to predict which women are at higher risk of delivering preterm babies so that they can be closely monitored and preventative treatments given. Metabolomics is the study of the body’s response to environmental cues (using hair, urine and blood sample analysis) to identify factors that may indicate poor health (in this case pregnancy complications) and is combined with statistical analysis. If the research reduces just 10% of preterm births, this could result in a $4 million saving per annum by 2023. LENScience is a programme for school-aged children designed to communicate ideas surrounding science literacy and NCDs. Students from around New Zealand are involved via 4- to 6-week modules linked to the New Zealand school curriculum, and by attending a one-day hands-on programme at the LENScience classroom in Auckland. Follow-up evidence and assessments show that the programme has a positive effect on student behaviour, with a 30% increase in understanding of concepts taught, and facilitated discussion about diet and lifestyle in attendees’ families. The Consequences of a Stressed Uterine Environment project investigates the breeding of ewes at 12 months, which is earlier than current practices. These ‘ewe lambs’ produce lambs which are the same size as those from ewes bred at the usual age. If 20% of the national flock of 20 million breeding ewes were managed under this regime, the benefits to the sector would be to the order of $80 million per year. The NIPPeR study is an international initiative testing whether a nutritional supplement given to mothers before conception and during pregnancy can reduce


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Year the incidence of maternal diabetes in pregnancy, as well as diabetes and obesity in their children in later life. NZIER estimates that if 16% of the total number of cases of diabetes could be averted, this would result in a saving of $160 million per annum. Working to protect the most vulnerable Vantage Consulting Group (VCG) also conducted two in-depth case studies of key Gravida research projects to assess their economic impact. The first VCG study looked at the effects of sildenafil citrate (Viagra®) on severe intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) which arises when a baby suffers nutritional deprivation in the womb and fails to reach its growth potential. Gravida research aims to determine whether sildenafil citrate can increase fetal growth and delay delivery, thus improving baby survival rates and reducing complications that can lead to impaired growth and development, and later life disease. The VCG report estimates the current cost of in-hospital care for IUGR babies is about $7.5 million per annum, but if this intervention is successful it could conservatively improve clinical outcomes by 7%, and deliver savings of approximately $79 million over 20 years. This figure does not include the associated educational, parental and productivity savings for those children who potentially will be growing up without the developmental issues they would otherwise have experienced.

The second case study is related to increasing protein intake during the first week of life in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) babies (babies weighing less than 1kg at birth). The research aims to discover whether increased protein intake can improve neurodevelopmental outcomes, specifically through the evaluation of the ELBW baby’s neurological development at two years of age. This multidisciplinary study is led by Professor Frank Bloomfield and will run in conjunction with 13 leading Australasian neonatal intensive care units. VCG estimates the cost for the care of ELBW babies in New Zealand is approximately $13 million per annum – around 10% of the budget for all babies. If the research makes even a 10% improvement to the outcomes, this could achieve saving over the next 20 years of $20 million (at today’s costs). This does not include the further savings from the reduced need for early childhood and school support achieved by averting neurodevelopmental impairment in these babies. Overall, the economic analysis identifies the research is potentially very valuable for the improvement it could create, and the costs of the Centre are small in comparison. Even low levels of success will create large net benefits, and good benefit cost rations. 9


SCIENTIFIC EXCELLENCE

“Science brings with it a spirit of adventure, of enquiry, of innovation, of looking ahead. It can be infective and we want it to be infective for these are the very attributes that this country needs to have if it is to succeed. We need the ambition that science brings.” Distinguished Professor Sir Peter Gluckman 10


SCIENTIFIC EXCELLENCE

Raising the bar of scientific excellence The gold standard of scientific endeavour is research which is well-crafted by scientists and subjected to robust peer review. To ensure Gravida’s science excellence is maintained at a high standard and the bar constantly raised, an International College was formed in 2012 and membership finalised in 2013. This group of global experts will provide guidance for our members’ research. The move to develop an international thought leadership group was a first for New Zealand’s CoREs. It was convened by Gravida’s founding director, Distinguished Professor Sir Peter Gluckman.

about in the highest circles internationally. We’re really going to be able to optimise New Zealand’s investment in growth and development science with their support.” Each International College member has committed to assisting with peer review of Gravida’s members’ funding applications and projects, and to help mentor PhD students and post-doctoral fellows.

“The calibre of each of the college’s members is a ringing endorsement of the way New Zealand research in early life development is respected,” Sir Peter said.

In the 2013 funding round, this meant that all project applications were subject to a rigorous peer review process undertaken by International College members and other experts in relevant research fields.

“Gravida’s International College will help take New Zealand’s influence and reputation in these crucial scientific areas to the next level. They can help plug our next generations of scientists into global developments and ensure our research is disseminated widely and talked

Furthermore, the College members will meet regularly to address critical issues for New Zealand in the area of growth and development (for example, obesity) drawing on the experiences that their own countries are facing, with the first meeting scheduled for 2014.

International College oversight ensures a global perspective for Gravida’s research.

Ireland Prof Louise Kenny Denmark Prof Sjurdur Olsen

Canada Prof Sandra Davidge Prof Stephen Lye

Germany Prof Dr Berthold Koletzko United Kingdom Prof Lord Robert Winston Prof Gillian Bentley Dr Graham Burdge Prof Anne Ferguson-Smith Prof Keith Godfrey Dr Richard Horton Prof Mark Kilby Prof Colin Sibley Dr Jacqueline Wallace

Israel Prof Yechiel Friedlander

China Prof Runlin Ma Hong Kong Prof Dennis Lo

USA Dr Patrick Catalano Prof Marilyn Cipolla Prof Les Myatt Prof Stephen Stearns Assoc Prof Kim Vonnahme

Singapore Assoc Prof Yap Seng Chong Australia Dr Paul Greenwood Prof John Mattick Prof John Newnham Dr Richard Saffery Prof Robert Saint Dr Andrew Thompson Prof Mary Wlodek

New Zealand Prof Sir Peter Gluckman

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Inter-disciplinary collaboration Building a strong network of talent Gravida has built a comprehensive network of talented researchers from multiple disciplines, who are working hard to find solutions for the health challenges we face now and into the future. Researchers are often perceived as working in isolation, but since Gravida’s inception, we have fostered cross-discipline and institutional collaborations to ensure that knowledge and discoveries are shared and translated into common knowledge and clinical practice.

In the 2013 funding round, more than 80% of approved research grants were either inter-disciplinary or inter-institutional.

In the 2013 funding round, more than 80% of approved research grants were either interdisciplinary or inter-institutional. An example of this is the ProVIDe Gravida-funded feasibility study, a 12-month project led by Professor Frank Bloomfield. This is investigating whether a protein supplement given to extremely low birth weight babies will improve their growth. and planning is underway for large multi-centre, doubleblind, randomised control trial across major neonatal intensive care units in New Zealand and Australia. This first stage will involve a number of disciplines: neonatologists, neonatal dietitians, neonatal nurses, a nutritionist, a developmental psychologist and research translation experts from the University of Auckland, the Liggins Institute, Massey University and district health boards from across New Zealand.

New members In 2013, Gravida accepted a small number of new members from various disciplines including: Professor Grant Edwards – Lincoln University Prof Edwards, animal husbandry, and Professor of Dairy Production at Lincoln University. He specialises in research and teaching in forage and pasture systems and efficient dairy farming practices that maximise sustainable profit and increase productivity without increasing the farm’s total environmental footprint. 12

Professor Ed Mitchell – University of Auckland Prof Mitchell, paediatrician. From 2001 he has been the Cure Kids Professor of Child Health Research at the University of Auckland. Professor Gerald Tannock – University of Otago Prof Tannock, microbiologist with an interest in the composition and function of bacterial communities in the gut.


SCIENTIFIC EXCELLENCE

endocrinologist

nutritional comparative child haematologist

clinical veterinarian

micro-economics

ecology

nurses

modelling physiology husbandry communication

epigenetic

radical

specialist

biologist

psychologist

science

biochemistry neonatal toxicologist academic

genetics metabolomics epidemiologist

biological

paediatrician genetics

developmental husbandry

applied

production

neuroscientist

maternal-fetal

engineering

programming growth

biomedical

nutritionist

geneticist

medicine

neonatology physiology

neuroscientist biology

exercise

perinatal

animal

public

obstetrician

spectrometry nutrition

biologist

sport

microbiologist

proteomics

science fetal

specialist

mass

biochemist nutritional

maternal

midwifery

paediatric

medicine

biology

evolutionary

dairy

biomolecular

neuroendocrinologist reproductive research

bioengineer

physiologist

psychologist

neuropsychologist

molecular

evolutionary human

mathematician

health

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Breaking new ground in research Clinical guidelines vital for best practice medicine Professor Caroline Crowther (Professor of Maternal and Perinatal Health, Liggins Institute) has a strong drive to provide evidence-based guidelines so that the best in clinical practice is given to all mothers and their babies. Gravida is currently funding Prof Crowther to translate the evidence around use of antenatal corticosteroids in maternal care into new clinical practice guidelines. These guidelines will become part of doctors’ expected care and practice, consistent across both Australia and New Zealand, and will be developed in consultation with bodies such as the RANZCOG and the RNZCGP.

The research synthesis team Prof Crowther leads in the LifePATH Group at the Liggins Institute have been collating the available evidence on the use of repeat antenatal corticosteroids in women at risk of preterm birth. The highlight of the year was bringing together a group of national and international experts and consumers to form a Guideline Panel that helped to identify key clinical questions and relevant clinical outcomes. The team has to collate the evidence into a relevant document that summarises the volume and quality of the evidence and provide implementable clinical practice recommendations. The development of the guidelines has also led to the team identifying some key areas for further research where there was a lack of evidence. The next steps include the final meeting of the panel to confirm the clinical practice recommendations, the launch of the guideline in 2014 and the development of an implementation plan that will ensure that the recommendations are translated into clinical practice in New Zealand and Australia.

Research principles and definitions The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) The DOHaD concept describes how during early life (at conception, in the womb, infancy and early childhood), the environment induces changes in development that have longterm impact on later health and disease risk. Environmental exposures include parental lifestyle and diet, smoking, and other toxins, and obesity. The effects of such exposures are often subtle, they do not simply disrupt development or induce disease themselves, but can affect how disease develops in an individual. Developmental plasticity Developmental plasticity describes the process by which organisms, in response to cues such as nutrition or hormones, adapt their phenotype to the environment.

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Epigenetics As an organism grows and develops, carefully orchestrated chemical reactions activate and deactivate parts of the genome at strategic times and in specific locations. Epigenetics is the study of these chemical reactions and the factors that influence them. Epigenetic mechanisms are at the leading edge of our understanding of the interactions between genes and the environment and, in particular, how early life events are ‘remembered’ by the genome. Metabolomics Metabolomics is the study of the body’s response to environmental cues (using hair, urine and blood samples). It uses sophisticated analytic techniques such as mass spectrometry to identify small molecule metabolites that may be biomarkers of disease.


SCIENTIFIC EXCELLENCE

Becoming a queen – it’s all in the jelly

Researchers have known for years that when ordinary bee larvae are fed royal jelly, a queen emerges from among the genetically similar workers. Associate Professor Peter Dearden at the University of Otago is Gravida’s deputy director, and an international authority on epigenetics. A pilot study funded by Gravida to find out how long after the bee larvae were fed royal jelly the change occurred, subsequently received a Marsden Fund grant. “We found that we can see changes almost immediately – six hours after the larvae were fed royal jelly,” said Assoc Prof Dearden. “This was a very, rapid response. But the surprising thing was that it was not a fixed response. Our study showed that there were two phases to the larvae response. In the first phase, the larvae show a bias towards becoming a queen bee, but this was flexible for some time. The larva could still swap back if their diet was changed.”

The study marked the first such investigation in the world and broke new ground in scientific understanding. The longer phase of non-commitment to becoming a queen is intriguing, Assoc Prof Dearden said. Although direct comparisons cannot be drawn with humans, there is mounting evidence from this research that suggests non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes caused by obesity in humans could be reversed if our diet was changed early enough. Understanding the most effective and best time to intervene is the focus of much of the new research currently being funded by Gravida. The study was published in late 2013 by BMC Genomics, a respected worldwide journal. It marked the first such investigation in the world and broke new ground in scientific understanding.

That flexibility lasts until a wave of hormones, triggered by the royal jelly, comes through. Only then was the change to a queen fixed. 15


Publications Why not all animal models are useful

A recent review in the high impact journal Trends in Neuroscience is breaking new ground in assessing the differences in cellular mechanisms between animal models and humans and is examining why basic research on laboratory mice may not translate well to humans. The review was undertaken by Dr Amy Smith (a recent Gravida PhD graduate) and Professor Mike Dragunow, both Gravida investigators based at the University of Auckland’s Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology. Although rodent models are commonly used in biomedical research, there are major differences between human and rodent immune and neurological functions. The review focuses on the field of neuro-immunlogy and uses the example of the microglial cell type involved in disease states and normal aging processes of the adult human brain. These cells are routinely used in Alzheimer’s disease research but there are some fundamental structural differences between the responses from the microglia in humans compared to those in rodents. These differences could lead to results which are not fully translatable in the clinical situation. Despite a number of similarities in human and rodent microglia, they vary when cultured in vitro. 16

The rodent cells sit on top of the other cells in the culture whilst the human cells are more adherent to the culture surface. “This point is very important because experiments performed on dividing rodent microglia in vitro (or in vivo) may lead to outcomes caused by a genetic or environmental background that may not occur in adult human microglia,” the study found. Another example is the microglial response to transforming growth factor-ß1 (TGFß1). Laboratory work undertaken last year by Smith and Dragunow, shows that the typical response of the rodent microglial cells to TGFß1 was absent in the human cells. They suggest that validation of rodent studies needs to be performed in conjunction with cells sourced from human brain-banks before publication of rodent-based research. The researchers go on to state that “the complexity of human brain disease cannot be replicated using rodent systems because neither the genetic context nor the environmental, epigenetic context of the disease are present in rodent-derived cells.” “Primary human cells are an invaluable source of information about the human brain. We are currently one of a handful of labs world-wide using these cells.” said Dr Smith.


SCIENTIFIC EXCELLENCE

First-born legacy A reduction in family size globally has seen a progressive increase in the proportion of firstborns. More than half of the world’s population is first-born, yet remarkably there has been very little research to look at the long-term health risks this group faces. Two Gravida-funded, pioneering research projects led by Professor Wayne Cutfield examining the health risks of first-born children were published in 2013 in the journals Clinical Endocrinology and the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. In the first study Dr Tim Savage, paediatrician and Gravidafunded PhD student, studied 312 primary school aged sibling trios. He found that first-born children were one to two cm taller than second born children who in turn were one to two cm taller than third born children. The taller stature was associated with higher levels of the growth promoting hormone IGF-I. In the second study, Dr Ahila Ayyavoo comprehensively assessed 85 healthy children. She also found that first-born children were taller (three cm) and slimmer than later born children. In addition, she found that first-born children had a 21% reduction in insulin sensitivity and a 5mm HG increase in daytime blood pressure than later born children. “Thus, first-borns may be at a greater risk of diabetes and hypertension and cardiovascular

diseases in adult life. These findings may have important public health implications in light of a worldwide trend toward smaller families.” The researchers propose that first-borns may be exposed to a degree of nutrient restriction in utero compared to later borns, which may lead to alterations in glucose metabolism and blood pressure later in life. The article goes on to suggest that the mechanism for this effect may be due to changes in the development of blood vessels that supply the placenta which provide better placental blood supply and nutrient flows to later siblings. The report captured media attention worldwide. Professor Wayne Cutfield was interviewed on WTV/ TV9, New Zealand’s biggest Chinese TV channel, with additional reports on TV3 News, the Dominion Post and the Stuff website. Internationally, it was reported in leading dailies, news and health websites in Asia, UK and USA. The research findings were also cited in the New Scientist.

This finding may have important public health implications, in light of a worldwide trend toward smaller families.

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RESOURCE AND CONNECTION

“The worthwhile problems are the ones you can really solve or help solve, the ones you can really contribute something to. ... No problem is too small or too trivial if we can really do something about it.” Professor Richard Feynman – Nobel Laureate 18


RESOURCE AND CONNECTION

Sharing world-class facilities When the Centres of Research Excellence (CoREs) were first established they were mandated to develop excellent tertiary education-based research that is collaborative, strategically focused and creates significant knowledge transfer activities. We are fortunate that each of our partner organisations contributes very significant resources (including equipment items purchased through the CoRE) that greatly enhance the likelihood of a productive and successful programme of research. This is essential in a country the size of New Zealand as we have to work together to solve our big challenges and to have an impact on the international stage. The University of Auckland hosts Gravida’s headquarters within the Liggins Institute’s newly built, state-of-the-art laboratory and clinical research facilities. Available for use by all Gravida investigators within the Liggins Institute and the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences are sophisticated laboratory facilities and equipment. In addition, the Paykel Clinical Research Unit is Australasia’s largest and busiest mother and children’s research unit, with the capacity to perform sophisticated metabolic and muscle performance studies. The Liggins Institute, in conjunction with Landcorp and Gravida, also supports a fully equipped and staffed sheep facility that includes a sophisticated intensive care unit for studies on prematurely born lambs. The LENScience programme, also housed within the Liggins Institute, has two fully equipped Gravida-supported science classrooms with staffing. The University of Otago provides excellent facilities at both the Dunedin and Christchurch campuses. The University of Canterbury also has state-of-theart facilities. Massey University provides access to

three dairy farms (1,000 cows) and three sheep farms (8,000 ewes), enabling research from basic to applied, and AgResearch has large animal facilities to conduct studies in both sheep and cattle.

In a country the size of New Zealand we have to work together to solve our big challenges and to have an impact on the international stage. New alliances were developed in 2013 with Lincoln University which utilise the extensive suite of farm animals (dairy cattle, beef and sheep) on Lincoln University farms. Auckland University of Technology will be providing facilities at the recently expanded Manukau campus for major Gravida initiatives that require strong recruitment from Ma-ori communities. The new facility at the University of Auckland Grafton campus Gravida partner and host facility, the Liggins Institute, celebrated the official opening of its new facility in December 2013. The University of Auckland Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon said that the Grafton Campus redevelopment represented a $240 million investment by the university in the infrastructure required to support world-class biomedical and clinical research and teaching into the 21st century.

19


Our people Gravida Deputy Director Associate Professor Peter Dearden Associate Professor Peter Dearden established the Laboratory for Evolution and Development at the University of Otago, and is the Scientific Director of Genetics Otago. In 2009 he was appointed to the Scientific Advisory Board of the New Zealand Science Media Centre. He leads one of Gravida’s major projects investigating the phenomenon of developmental plasticity in invertebrate model organisms. Why did you become a scientist? I have always been interested in the natural world and how it works. Not only how organisms live their lives and behave, but also why they do what they do. What prompted you to study for your PhD at Imperial College? Imperial offered me the opportunity to work at what was then the cutting edge of neurogenetics – understanding how the nervous system is made in an animal – how cells become part of the nervous system and how they become wired together. That, and the opportunity to live and work in London, was a huge gift.

Bees change their biology in response to the environment in remarkable ways, so they are a great model to understand how this works at a genetic level, and how it might work in other systems. My work was looking at a set of genes that regulate which cells become part of the nervous system in a developing embryo. We used fruit flies because of the brilliant genetics we could do, but the genes I looked at are also present in humans.

Why were you interested in honey bees? Bees are just cool. One of the key things is their environmental malleability. Bees change their biology in response to the environment in remarkable ways, so they are a great model to understand how this works at a genetic level, and how it might work in other systems. What have you observed with the development of genetics and epigenetics over the course of your research? It has been an interesting journey! In my PhD I worked next to a lab group researching some very strange and obscure mutations in flies that I thought were pretty dull. It turned out they were some of the first known mutations that affected epigenetic processes. My post-doc supervisor was very dismissive of epigenetics, for lots of good reasons. Because of those kinds of attitudes, I think epigenetics as a field developed despite geneticists, and geneticists ignored it. Last year I heard my old supervisor proclaiming how interesting and important epigenetics is, and I am starting to see people thinking clearly about both genetics and epigenetics together, how they work together, how they affect each other etc. It’s an exciting time! What do you hope to achieve over the next five years? I want to see some of our fundamental work from insect studies used as the basis for studies in farmed animals and humans. I hope that by understanding mechanisms in model systems we will be able to better understand, and then intervene in, human and production animal health. In your role as deputy director of Gravida, what do you hope the organisation will achieve? I hope Gravida will begin to capitalise on the impact it has made in science by changing behaviour, policy and finding new ways to intervene for individuals who have suffered a poor start to life. I am also very keen to increase our impact in primary production. New Zealand needs to pay its way in the world, and we are good at agriculture. The tools, ideas and knowledge we are developing should improve outputs from primary production, to the economic benefit of New Zealand. It is critical that we do all we can to achieve that.

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RESOURCE AND CONNECTION

Partnering with the world’s largest economy A state-of-the-art new pregnancy research centre in China offers Gravida researchers an exceptional opportunity to extend their research and translation activities. Professor Baker, along with colleagues Professor Frank Bloomfield and Associate Professor Mark Vickers from the University of Auckland’s Liggins Institute, travelled to Chongqing in May 2013 for the launch of the research centre and alliance.

Prior to his appointment in New Zealand, Gravida director Professor Phil Baker visited China a number of times to investigate the prospect of forming an alliance with a local university for a research centre. He gradually narrowed it down to two possibilities and, after discussions, decided that Chongqing Medical University had the capacity and enthusiasm that was the best fit for a tripartite alliance with Canada and New Zealand researchers. “China has resources but they don’t have direction in some research areas, and that is where they get their enthusiasm. They are committed to investing in improving maternal health because of a high rate of infant mortality and the restricted size of their nuclear families,” says Prof Baker. “However, while they have capacity and scale, researchers in China recognise the high calibre of maternal and infant health research being undertaken in New Zealand, plus our willingness to collaborate with universities and institutions in China. We are valued partners in any such international grouping. The fact that New Zealand researchers are highly respected for being able to rapidly translate research into patient benefits is another very positive attraction for international partners.” The International Pregnancy Research Alliance (IPRA) will focus on investigating new ways to prevent and treat pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and premature birth. For the last year, Prof Baker has been working hard to get the fundamentals of the centre

complete – a new facility and a research team were established from scratch. “The alliance offers enormous opportunities for parallel initiatives,” says Prof Baker. “Chongqing has a population of 34 million so the economies of scale make it possible to conduct research better and faster than can be done in New Zealand.” With the Chinese Government’s appointment of Prof Baker as a National Distinguished Professor (which recognises his leadership in establishing the IPRA), regional and national funding sources have been made available.

The fact that New Zealand researchers are highly respected for being able to rapidly translate research into patient benefits is another very positive attraction for international partners. Membership of the alliance will enable researchers from the three countries to access the state-ofthe-art Chongqing facilities and to collaborate internationally, as well as give PhD students and post-doctoral fellows from China, New Zealand and Canada the opportunity to study abroad. The alliance complements other scientific programmes with China, announced in early 2013 by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Enterprise (MBIE), and several existing Gravida collaborations, and the concept has received support from the Government’s Science and Innovation Promotion Fund. 21


Gravida science on the world stage Ten key Gravida researchers headed to Singapore in November to showcase our research at the 8th World Congress on the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD). The DOHaD concept describes how during early life the environment induces changes in development that have long-term impact on later health and disease risk. The International Society for DOHaD promotes research in this area and the Congress is the field’s key international meeting for academics to meet and discuss the latest research and developments. An Australian and New Zealand chapter of the DOHaD Society will be launched in Perth in April 2014 and aims to facilitate training and research in the field throughout Australasia. This year the conference had the theme ‘From Science to Policy and Action’, with a greater emphasis on how science can impact policy and action than earlier meetings. The New Zealand speakers from Gravida joined pre-eminent scientists and health-policy experts around the world.

Gravida has built ongoing relationships throughout the global scientific community.

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• Gravida Board Member, Distinguished Professor Jane Harding spoke at the pre-congress symposium on the “Long-term consequences of fetal therapies; antenatal steroids and fetal transfusions”. • Gravida Investigator, Distinguished Professor Sir Peter Gluckman was the Programme Committee Chair for DOHaD 2013 and spoke at a Plenary session on a “Overview of DOHaD and Public Health”. • Gravida Investigator, Dr Allan Sheppard, Liggins Institute, chaired a pre-congress workshop on epigenetics, and spoke on “Epigenetic Markers of Predictive Adaption in Sheep and Humans”. • Gravida Investigator, Jacquie Bay, Director of LENScience, spoke on “School-Science Partnerships: Agents of Inter-Generational Change through Science for Health Literacy”. • Gravida Investigator, Associate Professor Mark Vickers, Liggins Institute, chaired a main session on programming appetite and exercise, and spoke on “Critical Windows and Reversing Developmental Programming of Metabolic Disorders: Evidence from Small Animal Models”. • Gravida Investigator, Associate Professor Susan Morton, the University of Auckland, spoke on “Defining Vulnerability in Infancy – A Life Course and Translational Approach”. • Gravida Investigator, Professor Hamish Spencer, Department of Zoology, University of Otago, spoke on “Why Wait? The Optimal Waiting Time between an Environmental Cue and a Plastic Response”. • Gravida Postdoctoral fellow, Dr Elise Donovan, Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, chaired the Young Investigators Committee and delivered the plenary session of the Young Investigator’s Lecture Series on “Maternal Fetal Interaction: Conflict or Détente”. • Gravida Postdoctoral fellow, Dr Karolina Sulek, Liggins Institute, spoke on “Metabolic Profiling Uncovers Hidden Biomarkers of Fetal Growth Retardation in Maternal Hair”. • Gravida-funded research technician, Angelica Bernal, Developmental Programming Group, Liggins Institute, “Maternal Caloric Restriction During Critical Developmental Windows Induces Offspring Ovarian Follicle Loss through Ovarian Inflammation and ER Stress”.


RESOURCE AND CONNECTION

Worldwide Universities Network A global research alliance The Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) comprises 17 research-intensive institutions spanning five continents and seeks to tackle global challenges by facilitating new, multilateral opportunities for international collaboration in research and graduate education. Gravida participates in WUN under the umbrella of the University of Auckland membership, and investigators are involved in several WUN projects. Prof Baker’s research group has received WUN funding for a major initiative aimed at tackling fetal growth restriction (FGR), in which babies fail to thrive in the womb. A huge unsolved healthcare problem, FGR can cause babies to be stillborn, and for survivors it can raise the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes. The WUN team, led by Prof Baker, in cooperation with partners at Alberta, Campinas and Southampton, aims to identify the environmental factors that lead to FGR. What sets the project apart from previous studies is that it will not be using traditional survey-based methods to look for environmental factors, which have so far failed. Instead, the WUN team is using cutting-edge technology called metabolomics to analyse biomarkers in blood, urine and hair samples. This will provide a wealth of data about the foods, drugs, infections, pesticides and air pollutants that women have been exposed to, and hopefully reveal which of them are linked to FGR. “We will be the first group with the ability to perform a comprehensive assessment of the pregnancy exposome,” says Prof Baker. “This may lead to novel new treatments and simple dietary and lifestyle measures that could profoundly affect the outcome of a woman’s pregnancy and long-term health.” In December, Gravida hosted a WUN workshop in Auckland on FGR attended by leading international academics to discuss the project and its next steps for 2014. Another WUN initiative involves LENScience at the Liggins Institute - ‘The Assessing Health Literacy Development in Adolescents’, led by Jacquie Bay. This international collaboration aims to develop best practise, highly-effective health education programmes for NCD prevention in teenagers across the world. It unites international researchers and practitioners from Auckland,

Southampton, Sydney, Hong Kong and Alberta to pioneer innovative approaches to developing adolescents’ knowledge, attitude and behaviour about healthy lifestyles.

Jacquie Bay with LENScience students at the Liggins Institute.

A key priority has been understanding cultural differences between teenagers in the two countries. Key to the collaboration is bringing together LENScience and LifeLab at Southampton to provide an internationally comparable platform to evaluate teaching programs. Both programs are integrated into the school curriculum, and both require teachers to be trained in health and scientist. For the past two years, the teams have been sharing experiences and research findings, then jointly developing health education activities. A key priority has been understanding cultural differences between teenagers in the two countries and how teaching approaches may require altering to cater for different cohorts of young people. For more on the LENScience project, see page 26. 23


TRANSLATION

“Science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated.” Rosalind Franklin 24


TRANSLATION

Working together for better health outcomes The ‘Improving Maternal and Child Nutrition and Physical Activity Workforce Development Service’ Project Lead Project Manager Susan Miller (centre) with team members (from left) Jackie Gunn, Fuji Kato, Aimee Brock and Caroline Gunn.

Research is of little value unless it is translated into clinical practice and informs health policy and education. In 2013, Gravida took a significant step towards ensuring the latest scientific evidence and research in maternal and child health would be translated into practical, accessible information and tools for frontline healthcare staff. It was awarded a three-year grant from the Ministry of Health (MOH) to develop the ‘Improving Maternal and Child Nutrition and Physical Activity Workforce Development Service’ Project. (See page 35 for more on this project.) The project is being run by Gravida and is overseen by an advisory group of key stakeholders. It is one of several MOH initiatives announced in 2013 that focus on encouraging the best start to life for New Zealand families. It will draw on Gravida’s previous experience of developing successful education models to transfer knowledge in innovative, effective ways. The project will include a blended learning curriculum with accredited e-learning modules that add value and further develop the skills of all health workers who care for pregnant mothers and children. It also aims to ensure a consistent skill level across the maternity workforce based on the latest DOHaD principles. To ensure the content of the courses is consistent, culturally appropriate and useful in the context of other national health targets and the priorities of the healthcare workforce, a project advisory group

has been formed that includes representatives from Gravida, the National Heart Foundation, Pacific Heartbeat, Plunket, the NZ College of Midwives, Tipu Ora and the Health Promotion Agency with ongoing consultation with other stakeholders throughout the project’s development and implementation phases. Dr Anne Jaquiery, who holds joint appointments at the Liggins Institute and Department of Paediatrics, the University of Auckland, has the role of Academic Advisor for the project and chairs the Project Advisory Group.

Dr Anne Jaquiery, has the role of Academic Advisor for the project and chairs the Project Advisory Group.

Healthy Conversations Part of the programme will be based on the ‘Healthy Conversations’ skills training developed by researchers at the University of Southampton. This model provides healthcare workers with a framework that helps open up positive conversations about new knowledge and best practice in healthy weight management, physical activity and nutrition, both during pregnancy and throughout children’s early years. The ‘Healthy Conversations’ skills training has now been shown to equip healthcare practitioners with sustainable skills they are able to use during routine contact with families, specifically aiming to improve self-efficacy and a sense of control over their lifestyle choices. 25


Preparing our youth for the future Gravida has a rich history of investment in productive science-school-community partnerships. The LENScience programme continues to be an outstanding example of science education and partnership.

LENScience has developed teaching resources to support what the students learn during their LENScience classroom visit and for teacher use.

Based at the Liggins Institute, one of the programme’s aims is the effective communication of DOHaD concepts. The LENScience team is led by science educator and Gravida member Jacquie Bay and includes educators, communicators, and scientists.

The Ka Pai Kai initiative was another exciting project in 2013. Led by student mentors from the LENScience Bio-Med Summer School in December 2012, these undergraduates formulated, planned and ran, with frontman Buck Shelford, healthy cooking classes for students at Onehunga High School. Post-class interviews and analysis are currently underway to evaluate this model.

Through LENScience, Gravida is working to raise students’ awareness of non-communicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease to reduce the likelihood of their children developing these conditions in the future. Jacquie also leads the ‘Healthy Start to Life Adolescent Education’ project which is one of Gravida’s key projects. This project uses information gained from a number of ongoing programmes, to build strategies to support long-term behaviour change with communities across New Zealand, the Cook Islands and Tonga through the use of science-schoolcommunity partnerships. Through LENScience, Gravida is working to raise students’ awareness of non-communicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease to reduce the likelihood of their children developing these conditions in the future. Throughout the year, LENScience runs a faceto-face programme where intermediate and secondary school students come to the Liggins Institute for intensive real-life science exposure. The students run experiments, learn about what creates a healthy start to life and talk to scientists about their career paths and research fields. In 2013, 5,447 students aged between 11 and 18 came through the LENScience classroom facility at the Liggins Institute. These students came from 96 different schools from as far afield as New Plymouth and the Far North, and across the full range of decile rankings. 26

LENScience programmes have now reached over 50,000 students, with a significant number being children in multi-ethnic, at-risk communities that will benefit the most from these high-value programmes. A particular highlight in 2013 was the translation of the LENScience learning module Me, Myself, My Environment: Nutrition into te reo Ma-ori in partnership with Kura Kaupapa Ma-ori o Te Raki Paewhenua. Kaupapa Ma-ori schools continue to access the LENScience class facilities, and can now be taught using specific curriculum-based learning materials in te reo Ma-ori. The resource is currently being adapted for the Cook Islands and Tonga, with the Tongan book also being prepared for a full translation. Taking science to the Pacific The Pacific Island editions of Me, Myself, My Environment: Nutrition are being utilised in the Pacific Science for Health Literacy Partnership Project, a partnership which spans three years and is funded by the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Launched in collaboration with the Cook Islands and Tongan Ministries of Health and Education, the project works with students in Years 9-11 in three colleges in the Cook Islands and students in form 2 (Year 8) in three secondary schools in Tonga. It uses specially adapted LENScience modules and teacher professional learning development to spread knowledge about non-communicable diseases. In conjunction with the teaching modules, in-depth surveys will be used to assess changes in opinions, knowledge and behaviour to confirm that the project is making a difference in the lives of the students and their communities.


TRANSLATION

Improving worldwide health literacy In November, the LENScience team hosted a Worldwide Universities Network workshop to discuss adolescent health literacy and the issues surrounding collaboration between the science, health and education sectors. Represented amongst the group was the Health Promotion and Psychology Department at the University of Bergen; the Director of Education for the Ministry

of Education and Training, Tonga; New Zealand’s Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister; the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Education and Social Work; and the Cook Islands Director of Learning and Teaching at the Ministry of Education. The workshop culminated with the converging of a writing group, who are composing a discussion paper due in March, 2014. 27


Creating healthy habits Gravida’s translation research is about understanding the processes that lead to sustainable ways to reduce the burden of disease and improve public health. However, the translation of evidence related to improvements in health literacy and child health relies on evidence from other countries. Gravida is seeking to remedy this gap in research expertise by supporting PhD scholarships and community interventions. “Energizing” our kids Led by Gravida Principal Investigator Professor Elaine Rush (AUT), Project Energize is an initiative designed to improve nutrition and physical activity and reduce childhood obesity rates and cardiovascular risk factors in all primary schools in the Waikato.

The prevalence of obesity and overweight among all children measured in 2004 and 2006 was15% less than for Waikato children not in the programme. The programme ran as a randomised controlled trial from 2004 to 2006 in 124 Waikato primary schools. This trial demonstrated favourable effects on the rate of growth of children. It also showed

that a programme to improve nutrition and physical activity achieved engagement with the highly devolved schooling system, and that school communities adopted and implemented the goals of the programme. The larger programme has now been running since 2005 and includes 4400 children, 244 schools, 26 “Energizers” and 2 dietitians. Energizers are assigned 8 to 12 schools each and act as a one-stop-shop to support activities that promote and co-ordinate improved nutrition and physical activity within the schools. In 2013, Leanne Young was awarded a Gravida PhD Scholarship to run an evaluation study over the next three years of the programme working with schools, teachers, and sports trusts to evaluate the translation and linking to other services and sectors. The cost of the project is about $45 per child per year but Prof Rush says the intervention saves money in the long-term by reducing healthcare costs. An analysis of the project published in the journals Obesity Research and Clinical Practice and the British Journal of Nutrition in 2013 confirmed that Project Energize will help Waikato children live longer and healthier lives because of the change in lifestyles and weight. The prevalence of obesity and overweight among all children measured in 2004 and 2006 was15% less than for Waikato children not in the programme. Also, children involved in Project Energize could run 550 metres 10% faster than children from another region. The success of Project Energize has led to the programme being rolled out to clusters of schools in Franklin and Northland, as well as the MOH committing $1.1 million of funding for it to be expanded to over 100 pre-schools as the Under-5 Energize programme, and 4000 children in the Waikato. Project Energize is funded by the Waikato District Health Board and is run by Sport Waikato.

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TRANSLATION

Wa- kai – time to eat

Often the focus of dietary studies is what we eat and the quality of the food, but a factor that has been largely unexplored in New Zealand is whether meals are regular, and matched to hunger signals, and what influence this has on our health. Large epidemiological studies in adults have shown that irregular eaters have higher rates of metabolic disease, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Small volunteer experiments in adults show that even a short period of irregular eating worsens cholesterol profiles and leads to insulin resistance. However, little is known about the effects of irregular eating in young children. If unpredictable eating increases the risk of young children becoming obese or developing diabetes or other health problems when they are older, this is something that might be altered by intervening during early life. However, we first need accurate information about patterns of eating in young children in our own community. A Gravida-funded study headed by Dr Anne Jaquiery, and working in collaboration with Nga- Pae O te Ma-ramatanga (a Centre of Research Excellence hosted by the University of Auckland that conducts research of relevance to Ma-ori communities) and Tipu Ora Charitable Trust, Rotorua has developed appropriate tools to

assess eating pattern variability in young Ma-ori children, and the factors influencing household eating patterns. The study is based in Rotorua and uses food diaries recorded by texting photos taken on cell phones and interview questionnaires to track what and when the children eat, and factors that might influence eating patterns.

If unpredictable eating increases the risk of young children becoming obese or developing diabetes or other health problems when they are older, this is something that might be altered by intervening during early life. This information, together with mechanistic data from animal studies of unpredictable feeding, will provide a basis on which to develop public health advice and interventions to improve long term health, in particular, encouraging families to understand children’s hunger signals and plan regular meals that are better nutritionally and economically (more planning around meals rather than last minute expensive takeaways). 29


Increasing our agricultural productivity Cross-disciplinary research that benefits farming Gravida’s integrated programme of human and animal research allows the cross-sector utilisation of research techniques and discovery. This may seem conceptually challenging; after all, what relation does preventing diabetes, human obesity (and associated NCDs), have with animal research? However, the underlying science – such as understanding cellular mechanisms and the causes of restricted growth in pregnancy – has a direct application to improving animal productivity. Moreover, understanding early life events in livestock will be a key factor in achieving the government’s target of doubling food exports by 2025. Gravida’s agricultural projects study the importance of the early life environment on animal productivity to understand and influence these environments to address key animal productivity issues; for example, increased survival and resilience in stressful conditions such as drought, and enhanced milk and meat production. In 2013, the Massey University team led by Professor Hugh Blair made significant progress with a range of projects to deepen this understanding and move Gravida’s research out of the lab and into practical knowledge that helps farmers.

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Studies included investigating the effects of a stressed birth environment, the influence of maternal nutrition and age on lactation, body composition and reproduction, and the development of a meta-analysis tool for animal nutrition. The Farmer Learning project had its first results published, and the group was also invited to present its sheep lactation results at the European Association of Animal Production annual meeting. This is the major European production animal conference, which in conjunction with two invitations to present at the American Association of Animal Science, means that Gravida research has been exposed to the two largest agricultural scientific meetings. In a paper Translating Science into Action presented in October 2013 at the Association for the Advancement of Animal Breeding and Genetics conference in Napier, Prof Blair discussed the challenges and efforts being made to enhance learning within rural communities. The paper reports the first set of results gleaned from two projects – an experimental farmer learning project that has been underway at Massey University since 2011 (and running until 2014) and answers from a survey of almost 1000 lamb and beef farmers conducted in 2012.


TRANSLATION

The highlight of working with farmers is that these are a group of highly motivated individuals and it is marvellous to see how they listen, interpret, question and translate our research knowledge for the benefit of their farming system.

Professor Hugh Blair leads the project team at Massey University.

One of the major findings from the survey was that farmers place a high value on information obtained from other farmers, with the farmer learning project showing a similar result. The survey also found that farmers prefer to get information via print media over electronic media such as websites, and liked “normalpeople notes”, that is, information written in plain language. “The highlight of working with farmers is that these are a group of highly motivated individuals and it is marvellous to see how they listen, interpret, question and translate our research knowledge for the benefit of their farming system,” Prof Blair said.

Research synergy in practice Gravida post-doctoral fellow Dr Karolina Sulek of the Liggins Institute is specialising in metabolomics analysis and is working with Prof Hugh Blair, Dr Sarah Pain, and Prof Paul Kenyon of Massey University to apply metabolomics to measure the growth potential of lambs. In terms of agricultural productivity, farmers need a technology that allows them to identify lambs that are slow-growing so they can identify which ones to retain for growth to heavier weights for slaughter. The Massey group has pioneered a new approach to identifying biomarkers for this by focusing on metabolic changes, and have been developing and validating methodologies and tools for metabolomic analyses. This analysis will be undertaken by Dr Sulek to help develop a predictive test to identify slow-growing lambs. 31


COLLABORATION

“Scientists are not dependent on the ideas of a single man, but on the combined wisdom of thousands of men, all thinking of the same problem, and each doing his little bit to add to the great structure of knowledge which is gradually being erected.� Ernest Rutherford 32


COLLABORATION

Connecting with industry and community Gravida excels as a Centre of Research Excellence by having multiple modes of impact including: • directly contributing to the development of New Zealand’s high value nutrition sector. For example, research to ascertain high-value nutritional interventions for the pre-conception and early pregnancy stages; • improved clinical care through guidelines and policy change; • capability development by training PhD candidates and post-doctoral fellows; • knowledge transfer through public information and outreach which improves New Zealanders’ health literacy and health; and • international collaborations that enhances Gravida’s global impact. In 2013, Gravida engaged with several of New Zealand’s large food, agricultural and health science corporations to leverage the government’s investment and to develop exciting partnerships for industry-led research projects and other initiatives. Gravida’s Corporate Advisory Board, chaired by Dame Alison Paterson, is a significant step for our growth. This enables Gravida us better leverage government funding and intensify engagement of Gravida’s research expertise and resources with industry to address New Zealand’s health and agricultural productivity challenges. The government’s Tertiary Education Strategy (20142019) identified a key pathway to increase the TEC system’s impact on innovation and boost economic growth. Priority number five, ‘Strengthening Research-based Institutions’, identifies connecting students and research to industry as crucial to developing their expertise and qualifications in areas of growing need. The co-funding of training and leadership development for PhDs and post-doctoral fellows is proving to be a natural space for Gravida to align with commercial partners, as is the undertaking of research of mutual interest with the potential of commercialisation for rapidly developing markets. Key to building these relationships has been long-term discovery partnerships with the commercial sector who wish to utilise Gravida’s research capability in advanced techniques, such as metabolomics and epigenetics. These techniques facilitate the prediction of early life risk and opportunity, and identification of how and when to intervene. Interventions include the development of nutritional components to improve

maternal health and reduce gestational diabetes, as well as reducing offspring’s risk of developing diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases. Several patents have been filed primarily related to epigenetic diagnostics and are already in assignment to the private sector. EpiGen is an international collaboration of academic partners that has engaged with the commercial sector for a number of years, which brings together the world’s most significant epigenetic researchers who have a common interest in the developmental origins of human disease. Institutional partners include the Liggins Institute (the University of Auckland), the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), the National University of Singapore and the University of Southampton. This group has a number of commercial partnerships (extant and in negotiation) in the food sector relying on Gravida’s epigenetic research expertise. These partnerships are attracting significant international interest in enhancing research capabilities in New Zealand for advanced foods as part of the direction indicated by the National Science Challenges. A public-good industry partnership between Gravida, EpiGen and a major multinational nutrition company is likely to result in a multimillion dollar research agreement. In 2013, a planning phase agreement was signed for the NIPPeR trial, a nutritional intervention prior to conception and in pregnancy, seeking to reduce the incidence of gestational diabetes and improve offspring outcome. Gravida is funding academic projects related to this trial. Gravida and EpiGen have been involved with a variety of partnerships with New Zealand nutrition companies including Comvita and Fonterra. Gravida investigator and Senior Research Fellow at the Liggins Institute, Dr Allan Sheppard says: “Increasingly the basic sciences are being asked to contribute to and underpin goal-oriented outputs that have a clearly measurable value. Close interaction with end-users is essential for this to happen with any degree of success. The national and international partnerships we have developed (both commercial and clinical) provide an effective platform for translating our fundamental scientific knowledge and principles with a specific purpose, notably in the development of more effective health and nutritionally related diagnostic and therapeutic tools, based on evidence-based validation.” 33


Meeting New Zealand’s National Science Challenges In May 2013, after a major country-wide consultation process, Prime Minister John Key and Minister of Science and Innovation Stephen Joyce, announced the National Science Challenges which will have significant societal benefits for New Zealand. The aim of the Challenges was to provide an opportunity to align and focus New Zealand’s research on large and complex issues by drawing scientists together from different institutions and across disciplines to achieve a common goal through collaboration. The government is taking these Challenges very seriously with $60 million allocated to them in the 2012 budget, and a further $73.5 million over the following four years announced in the 2013 budget. The Tertiary Education Commission, which funds the Centres of Research Excellence (CoREs), found after sector consultation that there was a considerable interest among the CoREs to participate when their research aligns with a Challenge.

Gravida seeks to ensure it plays an active role to ensure integration, synergy and partnership are optimised in partnership with other Challenge stakeholders so that the opportunities from New Zealand’s investment in science are fulfilled.

The four Challenges which complement Gravida’s core research themes are: • A better start – improving the potential of young New Zealanders to have a healthy and successful life. • Healthier lives – research to reduce the burden of major New Zealand health problems. • High-value nutrition – developing high value foods with validated health benefits. • Our land and water – Research to enhance primary sector production and productivity while maintaining and improving our land and water quality for future generations. Gravida’s research will be pivotal to the ‘A Better Start’ Challenge as its objectives are closely aligned to our core mission – to reveal how conditions encountered in early life affect the way an individual grows and develops throughout life. Work has commenced between leadership group member Professor Wayne Cutfield and Gravida Director Professor Phil Baker to ensure complementarity of research themes. In addition, Gravida intends to make significant contributions to the three other Challenges. Initial discussions have taken place for ‘Healthier Lives and High Value Nutrition’ and are planned for ‘Our Land and Water’. With respect to ‘High-Value Nutrition’, Gravida will work with the Challenge programme to conduct world-class research assessing the immediate and long-term health benefits of high-value foods for mothers and babies. This will not only have a positive impact on the health of the population but will have important implications for New Zealand food exports. Gravida Director Prof Baker said Gravida seeks to ensure it plays an active role to ensure integration, synergy and partnership are optimised in partnership with other Challenge stakeholders so that the opportunities from New Zealand’s investment in science are fulfilled.

34


COLLABORATION

Championing community partnerships Building community partnerships continued to be a mainstay of Gravida’s efforts in 2013. Lead curriculum developer Jackie Gunn (left) with Zoe Tipa from Plunket, Sonia Rapana from Tipu Ora and Carol Bartle from the College of Midwives.

Building community partnerships continued to be a mainstay of Gravida’s efforts in 2013. In particular, we focused on deepening relationships forged in 2012 and jointly developing initiatives that actively contribute to the public health. In 2012, Gravida had formed relationships with Plunket, the NZ College of Midwives, Tipu Ora and the National Heart Foundation but 2013 saw it put words into action. Education leaders from Plunket (Zoe Tipa), NZ College of Midwives (Carol Bartle) and Gravida (Jackie Gunn, also of AUT) as well as Sonia Rapana from Tipu Ora came together as one team to develop the curriculum for the project’s workforce education programme. (More on page 25.) Working together, both face-to-face at Gravida headquarters and remotely, these experts are writing a curriculum based on Gravida’s science that meets the needs of all maternity and early years’ child healthcare providers. Their aim is that the curriculum will be accredited for professional development points under each organisation’s framework. Overseeing progress is an advisory group who meet every month. Members include experts from the Heart Foundation, Pacific Heartbeat, Toi Tangata, Women’s Health Action, the Health Promotion Agency and other primary care providers. The project’s team members are also committed

to meeting regularly with MOH’s other maternal service providers, such as Auckland, Waikato and Counties Manukau District Health Boards (DHB), Sport Waikato and Project Energize, Wellington Collective (Hutt Valley, Wairarapa, and Capital and Coast DHB areas), Sport Hawke’s Bay and Hawke’s Bay DHB. In 2013 the team participated in several national workshops to share key messages and align service development. Gravida’s project team also forged ties with TAHA (Pacific network) and TANI (Asian network) reflecting Gravida’s commitment to ensuring its service will be relevant and appropriate to all high needs priority populations in New Zealand. 35


DEVELOPING CAPABILITY

“What is there that confers the noblest delight? What is that which swells a man’s breast with pride above that which any other experience can bring to him? Discovery! To know that you are walking where none others have walked...” Mark Twain 36


DEVELOPING CAPABILITY

Sharing the science Meeting with peers is an important aspect of academic life, and one of the highlights of the Gravida year is the annual symposium where Gravida members and students meet to learn about the latest research and form new collaborations. The 2013 symposium was held in Auckland from 9-10 September and had more than 120 attendees. The scientific themes focused on environmental influences, cellular-level mechanisms, pregnancy and programming, clinical interventions and translation. The event was launched by Professor Sir Peter Gluckman who spoke about the significance of DOHaD research, including a critical look at why this science has had a rocky road to widespread health policy acceptance.

From left; Ajay Nair, Dr Sarah Morgan, Megan Leask, and McKenzie Lovegrove.

The sessions that followed explored current research directions being undertaken by Gravida members, including obesity and its developmental influences, hormones and how they are affected by environmental factors and contribute to development, and the topical area of gut microbiota and the new discoveries about their implications for life long health and development. Professor Lesley McCowan announced a new clinical trial investigating the role of probiotics, and joint research with the Riddet Institute was also presented, cementing this new direction of research into the minds of the audience.

Prof Frank Bloomfield at the symposium dinner.

Professor Frank Bloomfield presented a best-practice roadmap on how research should progress to a clinical trial by explaining the journey taken by his team when investigating hyperglycaemia in babies. Several sessions then focused on agriculture, explaining that research findings on fetal programming may also yield benefits for farmers looking for ways to maximise productivity and animal health on the farm. The Farmer Learning Project, which identifies for the first time how New Zealand farmers learn new farming methods, was also presented. Jacquie Bay recapped the success of Gravida’s long-term support of LENScience and on how the programme is gaining recognition around the world. Prior to the event, Gravida Student Co-ordinator Jo Perry staged site visits with Gravida students throughout the country to help them prepare for one of the highlights of the symposium – the 90-second ‘bus-stop’ talks, in which the students explain their PhD research in a readily understandable manner. There were about

50 presentations and attendees were delighted by the high quality of the presentations and simplicity of thought that students were able to bring to sometimes very complex topics. The first prize went to Jasmine Plows (Liggins Institute; supervisor: Professor Phil Baker), with second awarded jointly to Minglan Li (Liggins Institute; supervisor: Associate Professor Mark Vickers) and Mohanraj Krishnan (FMHS, the University of Auckland; supervisor: Professor Lesley McCowan). Highly commended certificates were given to Sarah Gerritsen (the University of Auckland; supervisor: Associate Professor Susan Morton) and Megan Leask (University of Otago, Dunedin; supervisor: Associate Professor Peter Dearden). 37


Nurturing talent Developing the next generation of scientists Gravida is committed to nurturing talented researchers in the emerging area of developmental biology. As this covers a wide range of disciplines, scientific expertise is developed across a number of fields. With an increasing emphasis on nurturing individuals, Gravida funded a record number of PhD scholarships in 2013, with an additional 21 new scholarships awarded including two co-funded by the Riddet Institute (another of the governmentfunded Centres of Research Excellence (CoRE)). Gravida students have a number of advantages, including the opportunity to participate in crossdisciplinary research teams on major projects, and gain access to technologies from a range of institutions across New Zealand and globally

through our International College. This ensures that young researchers receive an exposure to research projects and access to facilities at a number of institutions across the country. The Centre also had a record number of completions in 2013, with eight PhDs and two Masters’ students completing their studies, with another 5 PhDs submitted and waiting to be defended. In 2013, a number of recent Gravida PhD students gained post-doctoral fellowship research positions overseas, including Dr Amy Smith, who is now at Oxford University, Amita Bansal, who has joined the lab of Prof Rebecca Simmons (member of our Scientific Advisory Board) at the University of Pennsylvania, and Quentin Sciascia who is at the Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology in Germany.

Exercising while pregnant to offset obesity of offspring Associate Professor Andrew Shelling, Mohanraj Krishnan, Professor Lesley McCowan.

Mohanraj Krishnan is a Gravida-funded PhD student based at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. He is studying whether exercise during pregnancy by mothers, and by their offspring during childhood, can offset the effects of having a genetic predisposition to obesity. The project is led by Professor Lesley McCowan, and Mohanraj is cosupervised by Associate Professor Andrew Shelling. For his project, Mohanraj will be using data collected from a landmark study – the Auckland arm of the SCOPE study. This collected detailed clinical, lifestyle and biomarker information from women in early pregnancy, and is part of an international biobank that is a platform for research into pregnancy and its complications. Since the Children of SCOPE project started in 2011, more than 700 mothers and their children have been recruited from the original study, and it is anticipated that this number will rise to 1400 by the completion of this study at the end of 2014.

38


DEVELOPING CAPABILITY

Computer modelling to build virtual organs One of the major challenges for scientists studying pregnancy and its complications is the difficulty of researching pregnant woman. Naturally, there are many safety and ethical restraints. Moreover, the mechanisms of pregnancy tends to be species specific, so technology is being used to help us understand what makes human pregnancy unique, without invasive tests. It is to overcome this research challenge that Gravida has funded a PhD scholarship for Rojan Saghian, who holds a Master of Science in Physics. Based at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute at the University of Auckland, Rojan, supervised by Gravida member Dr Alys Clark, will help develop an anatomically accurate computer model of the blood vessels that feed the placenta. The scholarship is part of a larger project led by Dr Clark, in collaboration with Gravida investigator Dr Johanna James from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the University of Auckland, which has received Marsden Funding from the Royal Society of New Zealand. “For my PhD I am using my skills in physics and maths to understand how the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the developing placenta change their function in pregnancy. I am also working on developing a mathematical model of cell migration

in pregnancy. I am excited to receive this Gravida Scholarship as it is allowing me not only to gain more skills in my own field, but also to meet and learn from other scientists in New Zealand looking at similar areas of development and pregnancy,” Rojan said.

Computer models gives us this opportunity to conduct ‘virtual experiments’ to predict how cell behaviour studied in the lab could contibute to understanding in the body. Once the computer model is fully-developed, it can be used to look at how the arteries work in a normal pregnancy, and then model different states that reflect pregnancy complications. “This project has allowed us to begin work on developing a virtual placenta. A significant problem in understanding placental development is translating the results of studies in cell biology to the features of normal and abnormal placental development that we can see clinically. Computer models gives us this opportunity to conduct ‘virtual experiments’ to predict how cell behaviour studied in the lab could contribute to understanding in the body,” Dr Clark said.

Rojan Saghian (left) and Dr Alys Clark with their computer model of the blood vessels that feed the placenta.

39


Governance To ensure excellence, a rigorous discovery-driven planning regime is applied to all funding decisions. Discovery-driven project management Gravida operates on the principles of discoverydriven planning by which it is assumed that projections may change because new information is revealed, therefore, the project plan is subject to change and subsequently outcomes may change. Under the Gravida project management system, investigators in receipt of major project funding provide regular progress reports. These are then reviewed with the director or another member of

the Executive team. Progress against milestones is assessed and, if needed, an action plan is mutually agreed. Recommendations to review allocated funding are initially made by the executive with investigators, and involve the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) prior to any recommendations to the Gravida Board. Thus far, all such decisions have been reached by consensus; however, if the investigator wishes to challenge this decision, we have an appeal process mechanism led by a designated member of the SAB.

Comprehensive peer review

From left: Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board Professor Euan Wallace, Gravida Chair Dame Alison Paterson, Distinguished Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, the Hon Jo Goodhew, Gravida director Professor Phil Baker at the May Parliamentary event. 40

The oversight of Gravida’s International College (IC) and the SAB ensures all funding applicants are subject to a comprehensive peer review and stringent approval process. Through the IC and SAB, the Centre has a cadre of more than a 100 international peer reviewers who are leaders in their fields of science.

Future funding recommendations to the SAB will be made by the Gravida executive team in conjunction with the newly formed Ma-ori Advisory Board. These recommendations will then be reviewed in detail by the Scientific Advisory Board and formally approved by the Gravida Board.

The May 2013 grant round saw more than 76 applications for funding received from Gravida members, spanning seven tertiary institutions and organisations, with more than 200 peer reviews undertaken mainly by IC members. Almost $3 million was awarded in research funding for 19 short-term research projects, 21 PhD scholarships, including two joint PhD scholarships with the Riddet Institute, and the inaugural jointly-funded Heart Foundation-Gravida Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Scientific Advisory Board oversight and review The SAB members visited New Zealand in May 2013 where they met with Gravida’s researchers, reviewed their work and provided strategic advice on next steps. The visit concluded with a Parliamentary event, hosted by the Hon Jo Goodhew, Associate Minister of Health, and attended by about 100 guests including MPs, health officials, the Families Commission, and leaders from community, nutrition and agricultural groups.


DEVELOPING CAPABILITY

Gravida in the media Building a stronger media profile was a major goal for Gravida in 2013, and it was pleasing that mentions, traditional and online, had doubled by the end of the year. This was exemplified by a project involving Gravida researchers being among the New Zealand Science Media Centre’s top 10 picks for the most significant science stories of the year. The clinical trial of sildenafil citrate for use in pregnancy featured at number two. This trial is the culmination of more than 15 years’ research by Gravida Director, Prof Phil Baker. The NZ trial, led by Dr Katie Groom, along with a number of international trials, will investigate the use of sildenafil in pregnant women whose babies have been diagnosed with intrauterine growth restriction. This story featured on TVNZ and TV3 and was picked up by news outlets globally. In October, TVNZ show Seven Sharp visited Gravida member, Dr Julia Horsfield, at the University of Otago during Otago Genetics Week 2013. They looked at how zebra-fish are becoming the new ‘superstars’ of science because they allow scientists to examine growth and development issues in a fast and easy way.

Also in October, Gravida executive member and Principal Investigator Associate Professor Peter Dearden and researcher Dr Sarah Morgan were interviewed in-depth on Radio NZ’s Our Changing World science programme about their research at the University of Otago looking into why a high-carbohydrate diet seems to prolong the life of fruit flies. Other highlights included an article in the February Listener by Professor Wayne Cutfield about pregnancy and its links to fertility. An in-depth article on Gravida’s research featured in Diabetes magazine’s Spring edition, and in October, LENScience featured in the Listener.

An in-depth article on Gravida’s research in Diabetes magazine’s Spring edition.

Gravida goes social Building Gravida’s online profile was another priority for 2013. The populating of content on the Gravida website continued after its launch in 2012. The first full year of website analytical statistics concluded in December 2013 and has provided us with a positive baseline to build on. The site had almost 14,000 visitors, with the bulk from New Zealand but a good proportion from other countries, in particular the US, Australia and the United Kingdom. Building a social media presence got underway with a Twitter feed which is gaining followers from the scientific community at a steady pace. Gravida’s Twitter address is @GravidaNZ

41


2013 Gravida-funded projects A number of large and smaller projects are funded by Gravida and have emerged from our current research themes. The projects are led by a Project Leader and may involve a research team including a number of Principal Investigators, Associate Investigators, postdoctoral fellows, students and support staff. Major Projects (2012-2014) Healthy Start to Life Adolescent Education Project This programme uses information gained from a number of ongoing programmes, including LENScience and the International Healthy Start to Life Project, to build strategies to support longterm behaviour change with at-risk communities with a view to reducing noncommunicable diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Project Leader: Ms Jacquie Bay, Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Long-Term Consequences of a Stressed Uterine Environment This project further investigates the underlying mechanisms driving changes in fetal and adult phenotypes to enable their manipulation for animal health/production benefits. Project Leader: Professor Hugh Blair, Massey University, Palmerston North

Metabolic Outcome with High Protein Intakes in Extremely Low Birth Weight Babies This project looks into the effect of different protein intakes in early life in extremely low birth weight babies on metabolic outcomes that are risk factors for developing obesity and diabetes in later life through follow up at age 7. Project Leader: Professor Frank Bloomfield, Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Life as a Twin begins at Conception This project aims to determine whether the differences in signals between single and multiple births in the fetal development of sheep are of fetal or maternal origin and to identify the gene expression differences that underlay this altered development. Project Leader: Professor Frank Bloomfield, Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Mechanisms and Consequences of Developmental Plasticity This project investigates two themes: the molecular mechanisms of plasticity and its triggers, focusing on understanding the fundamental biology in insect models of plasticity; and the more conceptual issues of predicted adaptive responses, providing insect models to better understand the evolutionary and mechanistic aspects of this important idea so it can be better applied in clinical or agricultural settings. Project Leader: Associate Professor Peter Dearden, University of Otago, Dunedin

A High Content Screening Platform for Cells and Tissues This project involves the building on our existing high-content analysis technology and the Discovery-1 system to provide a platform for Gravida scientists to screen cells and tissues. Project Leader: Professor Mike Dragunow, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Developmental and Evolutionary Medicine, Conceptual and Empirical Perspective This project has two general goals, the first to advance our conceptual understanding of evolutionary medicine and its relationship to health and disease; the second to explore the role of epigenetic mechanisms in developmental plasticity within the context of evolutionary mechanisms. Project Leader: Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Oxidative Stress and the Regulation of Embryonic Development This project focuses on the development of sensitive biomarkers to measure disturbances in mitochondrial redox homeostasis to investigate what nutritional and environmental factors, and alterations in these pathways during development, may influence developmental plasticity and subsequent metabolic and degenerative disease. Project Leader: Professor Mark Hampton, University of Otago, Christchurch

42


GRAVIDA FUNDED PROJECTS

The Effect of Exercise on Obese Mothers and their Offspring This project investigates whether the adoption of moderate exercise in overweight and obese mothers during pregnancy can alter gene expression in their offspring, leading to a decreased risk of the child going on to become obese themselves.

Nutritional Ecology of Obesity in New Zealand This project uses techniques from nutritional ecology to investigate human dietary protein consumption and its association with obesity and other metabolic syndromes in later life.

Project Leader: Professor Paul Hofman, Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Evolutionary Theory of Developmental Plasticity The aim of this project is to develop mathematical models of population epigenetics and predictive adaptive response, and to further investigate the ideas behind the evolutionary concepts of developmental plasticity and epigenetics.

Eating Patterns in Ma-ori Preschool Children This is a collaborative project with Nga- Pae o te Maramatanga (another NZ government-funded Centre of Research Excellence) to develop tools to assess eating pattern variability in young Ma-ori children and the factors influencing household eating patterns with a view to being able to develop public health advice and interventions to improve long-term health.

Project Leader: Professor David Raubenheimer, Massey University, Albany, Auckland

Project Leader: Professor Hamish Spencer, University of Otago, Dunedin

Project Leader: Dr Anne Jaquiery, Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Rotorua

Placental and Developmental Epigenetics This project aims to identify DNA methylation markers for placental dysfunction. Placental methylation appears to be critical for the normal function of the placenta, thus, it is highly plausible that the maternal environment can influence pregnancy outcomes. Here they use candidate genes and a genome-wide approach to document epigenetic differences between placenta and somatic tissues, and between normal and dysfunctional placentas. They are looking for epigenetic markers that can be used as indicators of placental dysfunction that can be translated into useful tools in the clinical environment. Project Leader: Professor Ian Morison, University of Otago, Dunedin

Knowledge Transfer to Improve NZ Health Outcomes This programme is an extension of the International Healthy Start to Life Project (funded 2009-2011) which aims to enhance knowledge transfer with a view to improving the health and well-being of New Zealanders throughout their lives through the use of modelling and other tools. Project Leader: Associate Professor Susan Morton, School of Population Health, the University of Auckland, Tamaki

Epigenetics and Developmental Plasticity This project involves the modelling of developmental phenomena that direct phenotype plasticity and to broaden the understanding of mathematical modelling approaches within the Gravida membership. Project Leader: Mr Tony Pleasants, AgResearch, Hamilton

Interventions in Developmental Programming This programme investigates how the metabolic state early in life sets metabolic controls for later life, leading to metabolic disease (such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other non-communicable diseases), with the aims of being able to manipulate the pathways to disease and provide novel avenues for prevention, rather than treatment, of such diseases. Project Leader: Associate Professor Mark Vickers, Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Investigating Impact of Maternal Nutrition on Fetal Brain Development This project looks at how maternal health impacts on the fetal brain to programme offspring obesity. The aim is to identify genes on which maternal factors (environment) act to alter brain development and programme offspring obesity and to discover whether there are multiple avenues, or a final common pathway to maternal programming of offspring obesity. Project Leader: Dr Christine Jasoni, University of Otago, Dunedin 43


Short-term projects Funded for 2012-2013 Periconceptional programming of adult adipose tissue inflammation and insulin resistance Project Leader: Dr Elise Donovan, Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland What are the research needs of farmers and how do they want new and existing information transferred? Project Leader: Professor Paul Kenyon, Massey University, Palmerston North Making a dynamical model of Notch signalling suitable for describing plasticity responses Project Leader: Associate Professor Peter Dearden, University of Otago, Dunedin Developing technologies to measure DNA methylation changes in small samples Project Leader: Dr Elizabeth Duncan, University of Otago, Dunedin Responses to different types of exercise in normal pre-pubertal rats Project Leader: Professor Elwyn Firth, Faculty of Science, the University of Auckland, Auckland Repeat antenatal corticosteroids for women at risk of preterm birth for improving neonatal and child health outcomes – translating knowledge into clinical practice through the development of an international guideline Project Leader: Professor Caroline Crowther, Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland Are common gene variants responsible for prolonged gestation and the metabolic syndrome? Project Leader: Professor Wayne Cutfield, Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland Manipulating methylation Project Leader: Associate Professor Peter Dearden, University of Otago, Dunedin Sildenafil citrate: a novel therapy for fetal growth restriction Project Leader: Professor Phil Baker, Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland Estimating insulin sensitivity and secretion from glucose tolerance tests in sheep Project Leader: Dr Paul Shorten, AgResearch, Hamilton 44


GRAVIDA FUNDED PROJECTS

Beyond glucose: metabolomic phenotyping in children born post-term Project Leader: Professor David Cameron-Smith, Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland Funded for 2013-2014 Randomised controlled trial to reduce gestational diabetes mellitus and gestational weight gain in overweight and obese pregnant women and improve maternal and infant health in Counties Manukau District Health Board region Project Leader: Professor Lesley McCowan, The University of Auckland, Auckland The role of NOTCH pathway members in the development of pre-eclampsia Joint Project Leaders: Professor Phil Baker (Liggins Institute, Auckland) and Associate Professor Peter Dearden University of Otago, Dunedin The development of a national multicentre maternal and perinatal clinical trials network – a feasibility study Project Leader: Dr Katie Groom, The University of Auckland, Auckland Learning to grow the vasculature for a healthy placenta Project Leader: Professor Larry Chamley, the University of Auckland, Auckland Sildenafil citrate therapy to improve fetal triplet lamb growth – a pilot study Project Leader: Dr Sam Peterson, Massey University, Palmerston North A sub-set of fetal growth restriction is affected by DNA damage that impairs placental function Project Leader: Dr Tania Slatter, University of Otago, Dunedin Can milk-derived miRNAs affect the integrity of the intestinal barrier and are they transported through this barrier? Project Leader: Dr Mark McCann, AgResearch, Palmerston North Mechanisms of impaired cortical development following preterm birth Project Leader: Professor Alistair Gunn, the University of Auckland, Auckland

The placenta – its discovery by MRI Project Leader: Drs Danni van der Linden and Sue McCoard, AgResearch, Palmerston North The impact of neonatal hyper- and hypoglycaemia on the development of the brain Project Leader: Dr Jane Alsweiler, Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland ProVIDe: The impact of protein IVN on development. A feasibility study Project Leader: Professor Frank Bloomfield, Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland SNPing away at genetic assimilation: does biased epigenetic mutation drive evolution? Project Leader: Dr Elise Donovan, Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland Tolling for neuroprotection Project Leader: Dr Mhoyra Fraser, Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland Developmental programming of the immune function in response to a maternal high-fat, high-salt diet Project Leader: Dr Clare Reynolds, Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland Understanding the mechanisms of novel therapies for fetal growth restriction Project Leader: Dr Karolina Sulek, Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland The role of the placental variant of human growth hormone in placental function Project Leader: Associate Professor Mark Vickers, Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland LENScience in the Pacific Region – application and physiological characterisation to quantify effectiveness of a health literacy project Project Leader: Associate Professor Mark Vickers, Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland Determining optimum gestational weight change in obese pregnancy for offspring long-term health: establishing an ovine paradigm Project Leader: Dr Mark Oliver, Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

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Outputs Measuring out scientific impact In 2013 Gravida members published over 540 peer-reviewed papers, book chapters and other significant publication outputs. Of those, 131 were supported by Gravida funding and published in indexed, peer-reviewed journals; a list of these is given in the following pages.

The quality and quantity of our published papers Using the Australian Research Council journal rating system as a benchmark, an increasing number of Gravida-supported papers have been published in tier A* (‘best in field’; top 5% of journals) journals since 2009 (the beginning of the current CoRE funding round).

140 120

Papers

100 80 60 40

Tier A* (top 5% of journals) Tier A (next 15% of journals) Tier B (next 28% of journals) Tier C (remaining 52% of journals) Not ranked

20

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

0

Year

Co-authored papers with international collaborators 60

55 48

50 38

Papers

40 32

33 30 24

34 31

27

25

17

20 10

Year 46

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

0

The quality and impact of Gravida research is based in no small part on the extent and quality of the Centre’s national and international collaborative networks. The number of papers published in conjunction with international collaborators continues to grow – in 2013, 55 papers were published with international co-authors, this being 45% of the Gravida-supported papers published in peer-reviewed journals.


OUTPUTS

A 45%

C 15% A* 27% B 13%

Proportion of 2013 published papers in high quality journals The quality of published papers continues to be high, with over 70% of papers appearing in journals ranked in the top 20% of academic journals: A* journals ranked as ‘best in field’ (top 5% of journals) and A ‘of very high quality’ (next top 15% of journals) as determined by the Australian Research Council journal rating system.

Tier A* (top 5% of journals) Tier A (next 15% of journals) Tier B (next 28% of journals) Tier C (remaining 52% of journals) Not ranked

Co-authored papers with trainees 60

53.7

50

46.2

30.3 30 30.0 20

23.7 18.8

8.9 1.9

0.0 2004

10

2003

10.6

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

0 2005

Percentage

39.8 40

A key focus for Gravida is the development of early-career scientists. At the end of 2013, Gravida was supporting 2 Masters students, more than 30 PhD students and 8 post-doctoral fellows – with an additional 7 students having completed their PhD during 2013. In 2013, more than half the Gravida-supported papers were published in conjunction with postgraduates and postdoctoral fellows.

Year 47


Books and book chapters Bay J, Mora H. Ko Au, Ko Au Ano-, Ko To-ku Taiao: Te Kai, Te Marautanga o Aotearoa Ko-eke 4 Kaiako Ko-paki Rauemi, Te Wa-nanga Rangahau o Liggins, Te Whare Wa-nanga o To-maki Makaurau, 2013 Bay JL, Mora HA. Type 2 diabetes: an issue for my community. Auckland: Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, 2013 Bloomfield FH, Jaquiery AL, Oliver MH. Nutritional regulation of fetal growth. In: Bhatia J, Bhutta ZA, SC K, editors. Maternal and Child Nutrition: the first 1,000 days. Nestlé Nutrition Institute Workshop Series in Pediatrics Program. Basel: S. Karger AG, 2013 Forrester T. Epidemiologic transitions: migration and development of obesity and cardiometabolic disease in the developing world. In: Gillman MW, Gluckman PD, Rosenfeld RG, editor. Recent advances in growth research: nutritional, molecular and endocrine perspectives. Nestlé Nutrition Institute Workshop Series. Basel: Karger, 2013: 147-56 Gluckman P, Beedle A, Hanson M, Low F. Human growth: evolutionary and life history perspectives. In: Gillman M, Gluckman P, Rosenfeld R, editors. Recent advances in growth research: nutritional, molecular and endocrine perspectives. Nestlé Nutrition Institute Workshop Series. Basel: Karger, 2013: 89-102 Gluckman PD. Summary on drivers of growth. In: Gillman M, Gluckman P, Rosenfeld R, editors. Recent Advances in growth research: nutritional, molecular and endocrine perspectives. Nestlé Nutrition Institute Workshop Series. Basel: Karger, 2013: 85-7 Gluckman PD, Low FM, Hanson MA. Developmental epigenomics and metabolic disease. In: Tyson FL, Jirtle RL, editors. Environmental epigenomics in health and disease: epigenetics and disease origins. Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag, 2013 Godfrey KM, Lillycrop KA, Burdge GC, Gluckman PD, Hanson MA. Non-imprinted epigenetics in fetal and postnatal development and growth. In: Gillman MW, Gluckman PD, Rosenfeld RG, editors. Recent advances in growth research: nutritional, molecular and endocrine perspectives. Basel: Karger; 2013: 57-63 Smith A, Gibbons H, Lill C, Faull R, Dragunow M. Isolation and culture of adult human microglia within mixed glial cultures for functional experimentation and high content analysis. In: Joseph B, Venero JL, editors. Microglia: methods in molecular biology. New York: Humana Press, 2013: 41-51

Ayyavoo A, Derraik JGB, Hofman PL, Mathai S, Biggs J, Stone P, et al. Pre-pubertal children born post-term have reduced insulin sensitivity and other markers of the metabolic syndrome. PLoS One 2013; 8 (7): e67966 Ayyavoo A, Savage T, Derraik JGB, Hofman PL, Cutfield WS. Firstborn children have reduced insulin sensitivity and higher daytime blood pressure compared to later-born children. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2013; 98 (3): 1248-53 Bain E, Heatley E, Hsu K, Crowther CA. Relaxin for preventing preterm birth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013; (8): 10.1002/14651858.CD010073.pub2 Balbus JM, Barouki R, Birnbaum LS, Etzel RA, Gluckman PD, Grandjean P, et al. Early-life prevention of non-communicable diseases. Lancet 2013; 381 (9860): 3-4 Bay JL. Let’s talk about scientific literacy. New Zealand Science Teacher 2013; 132: 50-53 Bayer S, Maghzal G, Stocker R, Hampton M, Winterbourn C. Neutrophil-mediated oxidation of erythrocyte peroxiredoxin 2 as a potential marker of oxidative stress in inflammation. Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology 2013; 27 (8): 3315-22 Begum G, Davies A, Stevens A, Oliver MH, Jaquiery AL, Challis JRG, et al. Maternal undernutrition programs tissue-specific epigenetic changes in the glucocorticoid receptor in adult offspring. Endocrinology 2013; 154: 4560-9 Berry MJ, Jaquiery AJ, Oliver MH, Harding JE, Bloomfield FH. Preterm birth has sex-specific effects on autonomic modulation of heart rate variability in adult sheep. PLoS One 2013; 8 (12): e85468 Berry MJ, Jaquiery AL, Oliver MH, Harding JE, Bloomfield FH. Antenatal corticosteroid exposure at term increases adiposity: an experimental study in sheep. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica 2013; 92 (7): 862-5

Papers in academic journals

Blair HT, Sewell AM, Corner-Thomas RA, Kemp P, Wood BA, Gray DI, et al. Understanding how farmers learn. Proceedings of the Association for the Advancement of Animal Breeding and Genetics 2013; 20: 1-5

Albert BB, Heather N, Derraik JGB, Cutfield WS, Wouldes T, Tregurtha S, et al. Neurodevelopmental and body composition outcomes in children with congenital hypothyroidism treated with high-dose initial replacement and close monitoring. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2013; 98 (9): 3663-70

Blankley R, Fisher C, Westwood M, North R, Baker P, Walker M, et al. A label-free selected reaction monitoring workflow identifies a subset of pregnancy specific glycoproteins as potential predictive markers of early-onset pre-eclampsia. Molecular & Cellular Proteomics 2013; 12 (11): 3148-59

Alsweiler JM, Harding JE, Bloomfield FH. Neonatal hyperglycaemia increases mortality and morbidity in preterm lambs. Neonatology 2013; 103 (2): 83-90

Bloomfield FH, Spiroski A-M, Harding JE. Fetal growth factors and fetal nutrition. Seminars in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine 2013; 18 (3): 118-23

Aris I, Soh S, Tint M, Liang S, Chinnadurai A, Saw S, et al. Effect of maternal glycemia on neonatal adiposity in a multiethnic asian birth cohort. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2013; 99 (1): 240-7

Bonham MP, Nguo K, Linderborg KM, Luotonen MK, Kallio HPT, Dordevic A, et al. Lipidomic profiling of chylomicron triacylglycerols in response to high fat meals. Lipids 2013; 48 (1): 39-50

Asmad K, Kenyon P, Parkinson T, Pain S, Lopez-Villalobos N, Blair H. Effect of dam size and nutrition during pregnancy on fetal testicular development in sheep. Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production 2013; 73: 41-4 Ayyavoo A, Derraik J, Hofman P, Cutfield W. Is being first-born another risk factor for metabolic and cardiovascular diseases? Future Cardiology 2013; 9: 447-50 48

.Ayyavoo A, Derraik JGB, Hofman PL, Biggs J, Bloomfield FH, Cormack BE, et al. Severe hyperemesis gravidarum is associated with reduced insulin sensitivity in the offspring in childhood. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2013 Aug; 98 (8): 3263-8

Caldow MK, Cameron-Smith D, Levinger P, McKenna MJ, Levinger I. Inflammatory markers in skeletal muscle of older adults. European Journal of Applied Physiology 2013; 113 (2): 509-17 Cameron R, Duncan E, Dearden P. Biased gene expression in early honeybee larval development. BMC Genomics 2013; 14: 903 Cameron RC, Duncan EJ, Dearden PK. Stable reference genes for the measurement of transcript abundance during larval caste development in the honeybee. Apidologie 2013; 44 (4): 357-66


OUTPUTS

Chatterjee A, Ozaki Y, Stockwell PA, Horsfield JA, Morison IM, Nakagawa S. Mapping the zebrafish brain methylome using reduced representation bisulfite sequencing. Epigenetics 2013; 8 (9): 979-89 Cormack BE, Bloomfield FH. Increased protein intake decreases postnatal growth faltering in ELBW babies. Archives of Disease in Childhood: Fetal and Neonatal Edition 2013; 98 (5): F399-404 Corner R, Blair H, Morris S, Kenyon P. A comparison of aspects of the reproductive success of ewe lamb and mixed age ewes joined over the same period. Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production 2013; 73: 76-8 Corner-Thomas R, Kenyon PR, Morris ST, Greer AW, Logan CM, Ridler AL, et al. A survey examining the New Zealand breed composition, management tool use and research needs of commercial sheep farmers and Ram breeders. Proceedings of the Association for the Advancement of Animal Breeding and Genetics 2013; 20: 18-21 De Wit CC, Cutfield WS, Sas TCJ, Wit JM. Patterns of catch-up growth. Journal of Pediatrics 2013; 162 (2): 415-20 Dilworth M, Andersson I, Cowley E, Renshall L, Baker P, Greenwood S, et al. Sildenafil citrate increases fetal and placental weight in the placental specific IGF2 knockout (P0) mouse. Placenta 2013; 34 (9): A21-A22 Dilworth M, Andersson I, Renshall L, Cowley E, Baker P, Greenwood S, et al. Sildenafil citrate increases fetal weight in a mouse model of fetal growth restriction with a normal vascular phenotype. PLoS One 2013; 8 (10): e77748

Hannam K, McNamee R, Baker P, Sibley C, Agius R. Maternal residential proximity to major roads in north west England and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2013; 55 (11): 1329-36 Hannam K, McNamee R, De Vocht F, Baker P, Sibley C, Agius R. A comparison of population air pollution exposure estimation techniques with personal exposure estimates in a pregnant cohort. Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts 2013; 15 (8): 1562-72 Harding J, Derraik J, Berry M, Jaquiery A, Alsweiler J, Cormack B, et al. Optimum feeding and growth in preterm neonates. Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease 2013; 4 (3): 215-22 Hassell Sweatman C, Wake G, Pleasants A, McLean C, Sheppard A. Linear models with response functions based on the Laplace distribution: statistical formulae and their application to epigenomics. ISRN Probability and Statistics 2013; 2013: 496180 Howie GJ, Sloboda DM, Reynolds CM, Vickers MH. Timing of maternal exposure to a high fat diet and development of obesity and hyperinsulinemia in male rat offspring: same metabolic phenotype, different developmental pathways? Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism 2013: 2013: 517384 Hyink O, Laas F, Dearden PK. Genetic tests for alleles of complementary-sex-determiner to support honeybee breeding programmes. Apidologie 2013; 44 (3): 306-13 Jaquiery AL, Oliver MH, Landon-Lane N, Matthews SJ, Harding JE, Bloomfield FH. Unpredictable feeding impairs glucose tolerance in growing lambs. PLoS One 2013; 8 (4): e61040

Donovan EL, Hernandez CE, Matthews LR, Oliver MH, Jaquiery AL, Bloomfield FH, et al. Periconceptional undernutrition in sheep leads to decreased locomotor activity in a natural environment. Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease 2013; 4 (4): 296-9

Jaquiery AL, Phua HH, Park SS, Berry MJ, Bloomfield FH. Brief nutritional supplementation of term lambs results in epigenetic modification of pancreatic genes regulating insulin secretion. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 2013; 49: 41-2

Dragunow M. Meningeal and choroid plexus cells: novel drug targets for CNS disorders. Brain Research 2013; 1501: 32-55 Duncan E, Benton M, Dearden P. Canonical terminal patterning is an evolutionary novelty. Developmental Biology 2013; 377 (1): 245-61

Jarslestedt K, Rousset C, Stahlberg A, Sourkova H, Atkins A, Thomtom C, et al. Receptor for complement peptide C3a: a therapeutic target for neonatal hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology 2013; 27 (9): 3797-804

Duncan E, Leask M, Dearden P. The pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum) genome encodes two divergent early developmental programs. Developmental Biology 2013; 377 (1): 262-74

Johnson C, Raubenheimer D, Rothman J, Clarke D, Swedell L. 30 Days in the life: nutrient balancing in a wild Chacma baboon. PLoS One 2013; 8 (7): e70383

Garratt E, Vickers M, Gluckman P, Hanson M, Burdge G, Lillycrop K. Tissue-specific 5’ heterogeneity of PPARι transcripts and their differential regulation by leptin. PLoS One 2013; 8 (6): e67483

Jowers CT, Taberner AJ, Dragunow M, Anderson IA. The cell injury device: a high-throughput platform for traumatic brain injury research. Journal of Neuroscience Methods 2013; 218 (1): 1-8

Geoghegan JL, Spencer HG. Exploring epiallele stability in a population-epigenetic model. Theoretical Population Biology 2013; 83 (1): 136-44

Kenny NJ, Dearden PK. NMDA receptor expression and C terminus structure in the rotifer Brachionus plicatilis and long-term potentiation across the Metazoa. Invertebrate Neuroscience 2013; 13 (2): 125-34

Geoghegan JL, Spencer HG. The evolutionary potential of paramutation: a population-epigenetic model. Theoretical Population Biology 2013; 88: 9-19 Geoghegan JL, Spencer HG. The adaptive invasion of epialleles in a heterogeneous environment. Theoretical Population Biology 2013; 88: 1-8 Gray C, Li M, Reynolds CM, Vickers MH. Pre-weaning growth hormone treatment reverses hypertension and endothelial dysfunction in adult male offspring of mothers undernourished during pregnancy. PLoS One 2013; 8 (1): e53505 Green MP, Mouat F, Miles H, Hopkins SA, Derraik JG, Hofman PL, et al. Phenotypic differences in children conceived from fresh and thawed embryos in in vitro fertilization compared with naturally conceived children. Fertility and Sterility 2013; 99 (7): 1898-904

Lagisz M, Hector KL, Nakagawa S. Life extension after heat shock exposure: Assessing meta-analytic evidence for hormesis. Aging Research Reviews 2013; 12 (2): 653-60 Li M, Reynolds C, Sloboda D, Gray C, Vickers M. Effects of taurine supplementation on hepatic markers of inflammation and lipid metabolism in offspring and mothers in the setting of maternal obesity. PLoS One 2013; 8 (10): e76961 Llurba E, Baschat AA, Turan OM, Harding J, McCowan LM. Childhood cognitive development after fetal growth restriction. Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology 2013; 41 (4): 383-9 Logan PC, Ponnampalam AP, Steiner M, Mitchell MD. Effect of cyclic AMP and estrogen/progesterone on the transcription of DNA methyltransferases during the decidualization of human endometrial stromal cells. Molecular Human Reproduction 2013; 19 (5): 302-12 49


Ma R, Chan J, Tam W, Hanson M, Gluckman P. Gestational diabetes, maternal obesity, and the NCD burden. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology 2013; 56 (3): 633-41

Oyston C, Baker P. Therapeutic strategies for the prevention and treatment of pre-eclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction. Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Reproductive Medicine 2013; 23 (12): 375-80

Markworth JF, Cameron-Smith D. Arachidonic acid supplementation enhances in vitro skeletal muscle cell growth via a COX-2-dependent pathway. American Journal of Physiology – Cell Physiology 2013; 304 (1): C56-67

Pacheco GA, Hedges MR, Schilling C, Morton S. Pre- and post-natal drivers of childhood intelligence: evidence from Singapore. Journal of Biosocial Science 2013; 45 (1): 41-56

Martin N, Kenyon P, Hickson R, Kerslake J, Morris S. Brief communication: ewe live weight and body condition in mid- to latepregnancy does not affect the maximum heat production capacity of its lamb at birth. Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production 2013; 73: 143-5 McCarthy FP, O’Keeffe LM, Khashan AS, North RA, Poston L, McCowan LM, et al. Association between maternal alcohol consumption in early pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes. Obstetrics & Gynecology 2013; 122 (4): 830-7 McCoard S, Sales F, Wards N, Sciascia Q, Oliver M, Koolaard J, et al. Parenteral administration of twin-bearing ewes with L-arginine enhances the birth weight and brown fat stores in sheep. SpringerPlus 2013; 2: 684 McCowan LME, Groom KM. Identifying risk factors for stillbirth. BMJ 2013; 346: f416 McCowan LME, Thompson JMD, Taylor RS, North RA, Poston L, Baker PN, et al. Clinical prediction in early pregnancy of infants small for gestational age by customised birthweight centiles: findings from a healthy nulliparous cohort. PLoS One 2013; 8 (8): e70917 Morton SMB, Grant CC, Carr PEA. Too many left at risk by current folic acid supplementation use: evidence from Growing Up in New Zealand. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 2013; 37 (2): 190-1 Muhlhausler BS, Bloomfield FH, Gillman MW. Whole animal experiments should be more like human randomized controlled trials. PLoS Biology 2013; 11 (2): e1001481 Munro SK, Mitchell MD, Ponnampalam AP. Histone deacetylase inhibition by trichostatin A mitigates LPS induced TNF alpha and IL-10 production in human placental explants. Placenta 2013; 34 (7): 567-73 Myers J, Tuytten R, Thomas G, Laroy W, Kas K, Vanpoucke G, et al. Integrated proteomics pipeline yields novel biomarkers for predicting preeclampsia. Hypertension 2013; 61 (6): 1281-8 Nakagawa S, Schielzeth H. A general and simple method for obtaining R2 from generalized linear mixed-effects models. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 2013; 4 (2): 133-42 Navaratnam K, Alfirevic Z, Baker P, Gluud C, Grüttner B, Kublickiene K, et al. A multi-centre phase IIa clinical study of predictive testing for preeclampsia: improved pregnancy outcomes via early detection (IMPROvED). BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2013; 13: 226 Nguyen PTT, Conley AJ, Sneyd J, Lee RSF, Soboleva TK, Shorten PR. The role of enzyme compartmentalization on the regulation of steroid synthesis. Journal of Theoretical Biology 2013; 332: 52-64 Nixon C. Valuing a healthy start to life. Policy Quarterly 2013; 9 (3): 51-8

50

Paten A, Kenyon P, Lopez-Villalobos N, Peterson S, Jenkinson C, Pain S, et al. Lactation Biology Symposium: maternal nutrition during early and mid-to-late pregnancy: comparative effects on milk production of twin-born ewe progeny during their first lactation. Journal of Animal Science 2013; 91 (2): 676-84 Peskin A, Dickerhof N, Poynton R, Paton L, Pace P, Hampton M, et al. Hyperoxidation of peroxiredoxins 2 and 3: rate constants for the reactions of the sulfenic acid of the peroxidatic cysteine. Journal of Biological Chemistry 2013; 288 (20): 14170-7 Poudel R, Stanley JL, Rueda-Clausen CF, Andersson IJ, Sibley CP, Davidge ST, et al. Effects of resveratrol in pregnancy using murine models with reduced blood supply to the uterus. PLoS One 2013; 8 (5): e64401 Qiu A, Rifkin-Graboi A, Chen H, Chong Y, Kwek K, P.D G, et al. Maternal anxiety and infants’ hippocampal development: timing matters. Translational Psychiatry 2013; 3: e306 Ranke MB, Lindberg A, Mullis PE, Geffner ME, Tanaka T, Cutfield WS, et al. Towards optimal treatment with growth hormone in short children and adolescents: evidence and theses. Hormone Research in Paediatrics 2013; 79 (2): 51-67 Raubenheimer D, Rothman JM. The nutritional ecology of entomophagy in humans and other primates. Annual Review of Entomology. 2013; 58: 141-60 Reynolds C, Li M, Gray C, Vickers M. Pre-weaning growth hormone treatment ameliorates adipose tissue insulin resistance and inflammation in adult male offspring following maternal undernutrition. Endocrinology 2013; 154 (8): 2676-86 Reynolds CM, Li M, Gray C, Vickers MH. Pre-weaning growth hormone treatment ameliorates bone marrow macrophage inflammation in adult male rat offspring following maternal undernutrition. PLoS One 2013; 8 (7): e68262 Rifkin-Graboi A, Bai J, Chen H, Hameed WB, Sim LW, Tint MT, et al. Prenatal maternal depression associated with mircostructure of right amygdala in neonates at birth. Biological Psychiatry 2013; 74 (11): 837-44 Rosa B, Blair H, Vickers M, Dittmer K, Morel P, Knight C, et al. Moderate exercise during pregnancy in Wistar rats alters bone and body composition of the adult offspring in a sex-dependent manner. PLoS One 2013; 8 (12): e82378 Rosa B, Blair H, Vickers M, Knight C, Morel P, Firth E. Serum concentrations of fully and undercarboxylated osteocalcin do not vary between estrous cycle stages in Sprague-Dawley rats. Endocrine 2013; 44 (3): 8009-11 Rush E, Obolonkin V, Savila Fa. Growth centiles of Pacific children living in Auckland, New Zealand. Annals of Human Biology 2013; 40 (5): 406-12

Nugent J, Wareing M, Palin V, Sibley C, Baker P, Ray D, et al. Chronic glucocorticoid exposure potentiates placental chorionic plate artery constriction: implications for aberrant fetoplacental vascular resistance in fetal growth restriction. Endocrinology 2013; 154 (2): 876-87

Rush E, Reed PW, Simmons D, Coppinger T, McLennan S, Graham D. Baseline measures for a school-based obesity control programme: Project Energize: differences by ethnicity, rurality, age and school socio-economic status. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 2013; 49 (4): E324-E31

O’Sullivan JM, Hendy MD, Pichugina T, Wake GC, Langowski J. The statistical-mechanics of chromosome conformation capture. Nucleus 2013; 4 (5): 390-8

Sales F, Pacheco D, Blair H, Kenyon P, McCoard S. Muscle free amino acid profiles are related to differences in skeletal muscle growth between single and twin ovine fetuses near term. SpringerPlus 2013; 2: 483


OUTPUTS

Savage T, Derraik J, Miles H, Mouat F, Hofman P, Cutfield WS. Increasing maternal age is associated with taller stature and reduced abdominal fat in their children. PLoS One 2013; 8 (3): e58869 Savage T, Derraik JGB, Miles HL, Mouat F, Cutfield WS, Hofman PL. Birth order progressively affects childhood height. Clinical Endocrinology 2013; 79 (3): 379-85 Schielzeth H, Nakagawa S. Nested by design: model fitting and interpretation in a mixed model era. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 2012; 4 (1): 14-24 Schug TT, Barouki R, Gluckman PD, Grandjean P, Hanson M, Heindel JJ. PPTOX III: environmental stressors in the developmental origins of disease: evidence and mechanisms. Toxicological Sciences 2013; 131 (2): 343-50 Sciascia Q, Pacheco D, McCoard S. Increased milk protein synthesis in response to exogenous growth hormone is associated with changes in mechanistic (mammalian) target of rapamycin (mTOR)C1-dependent and independent cell signaling. Journal of Dairy Science 2013; 96 (4): 2327-38 Sequeira M, Pain S, Sartore I, Meikle A, Kenyon P, Blair H. Uterine expression of oestrogen receptor alpha in Suffolk and Cheviot ewes at day 19 of pregnancy, following embryo transfer. Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production 2013; 73: 86-9 Sipos P, Bourque S, Hubel C, Baker P, Sibley C, Davidge S, et al. Endothelial colony-forming cells derived from pregnancies complicated by intrauterine growth restriction are fewer and have reduced vasculogenic capacity. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 2013; 98 (12): 4953-60 Sipos P, Rens W, Schlecht H, Fan X, Wareing M, Hayward C, et al. Uterine vasculature remodeling in human pregnancy involves functional macrochimerism by endothelial colony forming cells of fetal origin. Stem Cells 2013; 31 (7): 1363-70 Smith A, Gibbons H, Oldfield R, Bergin P, Mee E, Curtis M, et al. M-CSF increases proliferation and phagocytosis while modulating receptor and transcription factor expression in adult human microglia. Journal of Neuroinflammation 2013; 10: 85 Smith A, Gibbons H, Oldfield R, Bergin P, Mee E, Faull R, et al. The transcription factor PU.1 is critical for viability and function of human brain microglia. Glia 2013; 61 (6): 929-42 Smith A, Graham S, Feng S, Oldfield R, Bergin P, Mee E, et al. Adult human glia, pericytes and meningeal fibroblasts respond similarly to IFNg but not to TGFß1 or M-CSF. PLoS One 2013; 8 (12): e80463 Star B, Spencer HG. Effects of genetic drift and gene flow on the selective maintenance of genetic variation. Genetics 2013; 194: 235-44

Wood BA, Blair HT, Gray DI, Kemp P, Kenyon PR, Morris ST, et al. Modelling farmer information transfers with network analysis: an exploratory farmlet study. Proceedings of the Association for the Advancement of Animal Breeding and Genetics 2013; 20: 6-9

Papers in academic journals available ahead of print in 2013 Ayyavoo A, Derraik J, Hofman P, Cutfield W. Hyperemesis gravidarum and long-term health of the offspring. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Epub 2013 Nov 23 Ayyavoo A, Derraik J, Hofman P, Cutfield W. Post-term birth: are prolonged pregnancies too long? Journal of Pediatrics. Epub 2013 Dec 19 Broekman B, Chan Y, Chong Y, Kwek K, Cohen S, Haley C, et al. The influence of anxiety and depressive symptoms during pregnancy on birth size. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology. Epub 2013 Nov 24 Buklijas T. Food, growth and time: Elsie Widdowson’s and Robert McCance’s research into prenatal and early postnatal growth. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences. Epub 2013 Dec 27 Coppitiers N, Dieriks B, Lill C, Faull R, Curtis M, Dragunow M. Global changes in DNA methylation and hydroxymethylation in Alzheimer’s disease human brain. Neurobiology of Aging. Epub 2013 Dec 4 Gosby AK, Conigrave AD, Raubenheimer D, Simpson SJ. Protein leverage and energy intake. Obesity Reviews. Epub 2013 Oct 28 Harvey NC, Sheppard A, Godfrey KM, McLean C, Garratt E, Ntani G, et al. Childhood bone mineral content is associated with methylation status of the RXRA promoter at birth. Journal of Bone Mineral Research. Epub 2013 Aug 1 Khoo C, Khee-Shing Leow M, Sadananthan S, Lim R, Venkataraman K, Hao Khoo E, et al. Body fat partitioning does not explain the inter-ethnic variation in insulin sensitivity among Asian ethnicity: the Singapore Adults Metabolism Study (SAMS). Diabetes. Epub 2013 Dec 18 Lagisz M, Blair H, Kenyon P, Uller T, Raubenheimer D, Nakagawa S. Transgenerational effects of caloric restriction on appetite: a metaanalysis. Obesity Reviews. Epub 2014 Jan 6 Poynton R, Hampton M. Peroxiredoxins as biomarkers of oxidative stress. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 2014; 1840: 906-12. Epub 2013 Aug 9 Rueda-Clausen C, Stanley J, Thambiraj D, Poudel R, Davidge S, Baker P. Effect of prenatal hypoxia in transgenic mouse models of preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction. Reproductive Sciences. Epub 2013 Sep 30

Tan A, Kress S, Castro L, Sheppard A, Raghunath M. Cellular re- and de-programming by microenvironmental memory: why short TGF-ß1 pulses can have long effects. Fibrogenesis & Tissue Repair 2013; 6: 12

Savage T, Derraik J, Miles H, Mouat F, Hofman P, Cutfield W. Increasing paternal age at childbirth is associated with taller stature and less favourable lipid profiles in their children. Clinical Endocrinology Epub 2013 Jul 19

van der Linden DS, Sciascia Q, Sales F, McCoard SA. Placental nutrient transport is affected by pregnancy rank in sheep. Journal of Animal Science 2013; 91 (2): 644-53

Smith A, Dragunow M. The human side of microglia. Trends in Neuroscience. Epub 2014 Jan 2

Vance C, Scotter EL, Nishimura AL, Troakes C, Mitchell JC, Kathe C, et al. ALS mutant FUS disrupts nuclear localisation and sequesters wild-type FUS within cytoplasmic stress granules. Human Molecular Genetics 2013; 22 (13): 2676-88 Veenendaal MVE, Painter RC, de Rooij SR, Bossuyt PMM, van der Post JAM, Gluckman PD, et al. Transgenerational effects of prenatal exposure to the 1944-45 Dutch famine. BJOG 2013; 120 (5): 548-54

Smith T, Sloboda D, Saffery R, Joo E, Vickers M. Maternal nutritional history modulates the hepatic IGF-IGFBP axis in adult male rat offspring. Endocrine. Epub 2013 Aug 21 Soh SE, Tint MT, Gluckman PD, Godfrey KM, Rifkin-Graboi A, Chan HY, et al. Cohort profile: Growing up in Singapore towards healthy outcomes (GUSTO) birth cohort study. International Journal of Epidemiology. Epub 2013 Sep 25

Wilson MJ, Dearden PK. RNA localization in the honeybee (Apis mellifera) oocyte reveals insights about the evolution of RNA localization mechanisms. Developmental Biology 2013; 375 (2): 193-201 51


Financial statements Income statement for the year ended 31 December 2013 Operating Income Notes Tertiary Education Commission grant 3a, 3b Decrease in unallocated funds during year 1b, 3c Advance of funds from University of Auckland 6

2013 $ 6,141,894 1,445,607 1,269,323

2012 $ 6,342,408 507,270 0

Total TEC Operating Income (Total grant income applied during year)

8,856,824

6,849,678

48,774 220,822

0 0

Total other Operating Income (Total grant income applied during year)

269,596

0

Total Operating Income

9,126,420

6,849,678

Research Projects 9 Salary and salary related costs Overheads 9 Consumables Postgraduate Scholarships (stipends and fees) Depreciation Short Term projects (Pilot projects) Other / Science Advisory Board

2,213,099 2,155,808 1,347,638 644,694 522,998 629,780 86,415

1,704,238 1,793,586 1,214,341 275,272 485,384 286,604 0

Total Research Projects

7,600,432

5,759,425

Capability and Translation Training and Development (Emerging scientists development) fund Ngapouri research farm

61,756 70,000

58,315 70,000

Total Capability and Translation

131,756

128,315

Other Research Projects NIPPeR project Ministry of Health project

48,774 220,822

0 0

Total Other Research Projects

269,596

0

Other Expenditure 5, 9 Directorate and administration International relationship development Centre development Programme evaluation 5 Intersite collaborative activities

801,384 48,491 108,210 57,100 109,451

746,779 32,504 104,420 0 78,235

Total Other Expenditure

1,124,636

961,938

Total Operating Expenditure

9,126,420

6,849,678

Total Operating Income less Expenditure

0

0

Other grants EpiGen consortium Ministry of Health

4a, 4b 4a, 4b, 4c

Expenditure

52


FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

Balance sheet at 31 December 2013 Assets Notes Current Assets Current account balances with NZ Universities 6 Accounts receivable and accruals

2013 $

2012 $

3,745,107 0

1,845,765 0

Total Current Assets

3,745,107

1,845,765

Total Assets

3,745,107

1,845,765

Current Liabilities Accounts payable and accruals 3c, 4b Research funds unallocated at end of year Advance funds from the University of Auckland 6 Capital fund 7

0 2,241,888 1,269,323 233,896

92,838 1,445,607 0 307,320

Total Current Liabilities

3,745,107

1,845,765

8

0

0

Total Equity and Liabilities

3,745,107

1,845,765

Equity and Liabilities

Equity

The accompanying notes form part of these financial statements. Signed on behalf of the Board

Alison Paterson Chair, Board of Governance

Philip Baker Director

53


Notes to the financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2013 1 Statement of Accounting Policies a. Basis of Preparation These financial statements are Special Purpose Financial Statements comprising: an income statement, a balance sheet and notes to the financial statements. The financial statements are presented in New Zealand currency, rounded to the nearest dollar, and they have been prepared on a historical cost basis. The following accounting policies have been applied in preparing these financial statements:  evenue b. R Research contract revenue by way of grant from the Tertiary Education Commission and from other external funders is reduced by funds received but not allocated to research at balance date and increased by allocations of funds received in prior periods that were unallocated at the previous balance date (see note 3c and 4c).  axation c. T Gravida income is exempt from income tax. All amounts are shown exclusive of Goods and Services Tax (GST). The University of Auckland as host institution accounts for GST outside Gravida financial statements. d. Changes in Accounting Policy Uniform accounting policies have been applied on a basis consistent with those of the previous year, except as detailed in note 9. 2 Audit These unaudited financial statements have been extracted from Gravida transactions incorporated in the audited financial statements of the University of Auckland. 3 Tertiary Education Commission Operational Grants a. Funding Levels Gravida is funded primarily by the Tertiary Education Commission. Operational grant funding has been approved to 31 December 2015. b. Current Year Grant TEC Grant for year

2013 $ 6,141,894

2012 $ 6,342,408

c. Unallocated Funds Research funds unallocated at beginning of year Decrease in unallocated research funds during year

1,445,607 (1,445,607)

1,952,877 (507,270)

Research Funds Unallocated at end of year – note 6

0

1,445,607

EpiGen consortium Grant for year for NIPPeR Project Ministry of Health Grant received during year for a specific project

157,644 2,353,840

0 0

2,511,484

0

c. Unallocated Funds Research funds unallocated at beginning of year Increase in unallocated research funds during year

0 2,241,888

0 0

Research Funds Unallocated at end of year – note 6

2,241,888

0

5 Operating Expenditure a. Remuneration paid to Directors b. Programme evaluation – one-off cost

29,000 57,100

30,000 0

4 Other Operational Grants a. Funding Levels Some Gravida projects are funded by third parties other than TEC b. Current Year Grants

54


FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

6 Current Account Balances Current account balances are held for Gravida: National Centre for Growth and Development by:

2013 $

2012 $

The University of Auckland – research funds The University of Auckland – capital grant UniServices Ltd – project funds

1,269,323 233,896 2,241,888

1,538,445 307,320 0

3,745,107

1,845,765

The University of Auckland research funds current account balance includes temporary funding of $1,269,323, which was applied to meet Gravida operational expenditure during 2013 and will be repaid from TEC 2014 and 2015 operational grant funding. 7 Capital Fund Capital fund grants from the Tertiary Education Commission are for acquisition of capital equipment mainly for Gravida work. Equipment purchased is vested in the research partners holding the equipment. Capital Fund at beginning of year Assets purchased and vested in: The University of Auckland Massey University University of Otago

307,320

1,199,608

(69,767) (3,657) 0

(805,000) (83,788) (3,500)

Capital Fund at end of year

233,896

307,320

8 Equity Gravida has no equity. Accordingly there were no equity movements during the year. 9 Change in Salary Cost Allocation In the financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2013, Directorate research salary costs were recognised as Research Salaries, Salary Related Costs and Research Overheads rather than being recognised as Other Expenditure Administration as they were in previous years. These changes also affected Training and Development and Centre Development expenses. The line item for ‘Travel’ has been updated to ‘Intersite collaborative activities’ to better reflect the nature of the travel costs expended. Total Operating Expenditure is unaffected by the changes in presentation. Below is a comparison of affected expenditure showing the impact of the changes: 2013 Reported $ Research salary and salary related costs 2,213,099 Research overheads 2,155,808 Directorate and administration 801,384 Training and Development 61,756 (Emerging scientists development) fund Centre Development 108,210

2012 2013 Reported Based on previous accounting policy $ $ 1,704,238 2,094,424 1,793,586 2,013,888 746,779 979,500 58,315 37,713 104,421

214,739

10 Events after balance date On 28 February 2014 the Tertiary Education Commission advised Gravida that its bid for operational grant funding from the Commission beyond 31 December 2015 was unsuccessful. Gravida has operational funding in place from the Tertiary Education Commission and other third parties to enable it to meet all expected commitments through 2014 and 2015. The Gravida Board and Directorate are now in discussions regarding alternative strategies for its operations and funding beyond 2015. 55


Board members at the University of Auckland Faculty of Medical and Health Science. 56


MEMBERS AND ASSOCIATES

Members and associates Board The role of the Gravida Board is to ensure the direction and performance of Gravida in the context of the Centre’s Annual Plans, which are developed in consultation with the Tertiary Education Commission. Dame Alison Paterson

Distinguished Professor Jane Harding

CNZM QSO Chair of the Board Independent Director

ONZM Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), the University of Auckland, Auckland

Professor Richard Blaikie

Mr Jim Peters

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise, the University of Otago, Dunedin

MNZM Pro Vice-Chancellor (Ma-ori), the University of Auckland, Auckland

Professor Wayne Cutfield

Dr Tom Richardson

BHB, MB ChB, DCH, MD, FRACP Director, Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Chief Executive, AgResearch Ltd, New Zealand

Dr Peter Fennessy Independent Director

Scientific Advisory Board The Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) is constituted by the Board to provide independent advice on the relevance and impact of the Centre’s research. The SAB works closely with Gravida’s Board and Executive Team to ensure that the research activities of the Centre remain focused on its core scientific objectives. Professor Euan Wallace

Professor Matthew Gillman

Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board. Professor Wallace is an obstetrician and Director of the Ritchie Centre, Monash University, Australia.

Director of the Obesity Prevention Program in the Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School, USA.

Professor Zulfiqar Bhutta

Professor Mark Hanson

Chair of Woman and Child Health at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan, and works closely with the World Health Organization and United National Secretariat.

Director of the Institute of Developmental Sciences at the University of Southampton, UK and current President of the International Society for the Developmental Origins of Health.

Professor John Challis

Professor Rebecca Simmons

Professor John Challis is a Professor of Physiology and was Vice President of Research at the University of Toronto, Canada.

Professor of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Pennsylvania, USA.

Professor Patrick Cunningham Professor of Animal Genetics at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, has worked for the World Bank and United Nations, and was until recently Chief Scientific Advisor to the Irish Government. 57


Executive team The Executive team manages the operational and strategic aspects of Gravida, encompassing science leadership and administrative functions. The Executive team is comprised of several of the key senior investigators within Gravida, a representative from AgResearch, and the Centre’s Strategic Operating Officer. Professor Phil Baker

Associate Professor Peter Dearden

Director – Gravida Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Deputy Director University of Otago, Dunedin

Professor Hugh Blair

Dr Judith Hammond

Massey University, Palmerston North

Strategic Operating Officer

Professor Frank Bloomfield

Professor Warren McNabb (ex officio)

Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Research Director, AgResearch Ltd, Palmerston North

Professor Caroline Crowther Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Project teams ‘Improving Maternal and Child Nutrition and Physical Activity Workforce Development Service’ Project Susan Miller

Rob Berg

Lead Project Manager

Project Planner (part time)

Fuji Kato

Dr Anne Jaquiery

Project Administrator (part time)

Academic Science Advisor (part time)

Aimee Brock

Jacquie Bay

Communications and Website Consultant (part time)

Evaluation Lead (part time)

Jackie Gunn Curriculum Development Lead (part time)

NIPPeR Project Ruth Withers Project Manager

58


MEMBERS AND ASSOCIATES

Operations team Dr Judith Hammond

Dr Jo Perry

Strategic Operating Officer

Student Coordinator (part time)

Jane Duffy

Mark Inglis

Communications and Research Co-ordinator

Special Projects Coordinator (part time project contractor)

Trisha Hiestand

Adrienne Kohler

Financial Administrator

Communications Advisor (part time project contractor)

Gravida’s Operations team (from left to right) Dr Jo Perry, Dina Sharp, Dr Judith Hammond, Jane Duffy, Trisha Hiestand.

Dina Sharp Executive Administrator (part time)

Members Principal investigators Professor Phil Baker

Professor David Cameron-Smith

Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Ms Jacquie Bay

Professor Larry Chamley

Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

The University of Auckland, Auckland

Professor Hugh Blair

Professor Caroline Crowther

Massey University, Palmerston North

Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Professor Frank Bloomfield

Professor Wayne Cutfield

Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Professor Bernhard Breier

Associate Professor Peter Dearden

Massey University, Albany, Auckland

University of Otago, Dunedin

Professor Vicky Cameron

Professor Mike Dragunow

University of Otago, Christchurch

The University of Auckland, Auckland 59


Professor Grant Edwards Lincoln University Christchurch

Professor Elwyn Firth The University of Auckland, Auckland

Professor Neil Gemmell

Dr Jane Alsweiler Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Associate Professor Greg Anderson University of Otago, Dunedin

University of Otago, Dunedin

Dr Polly Atatoa-Carr

Distinguished Professor Sir Peter Gluckman

The University of Auckland, Auckland

Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Dr Matt Barnett

Professor Dave Grattan

AgResearch, Auckland

University of Otago, Dunedin

Dr Caroline Beck

Professor Alistair Gunn

University of Otago, Dunedin

The University of Auckland, Auckland

Dr Alys Clark

Associate Professor Mark Hampton

The University of Auckland, Auckland

University of Otago, Christchurch

Dr Stefan Clerens

Professor Allan Herbison

AgResearch, Christchurch

University of Otago, Dunedin

Dr Christine Couldrey

Professor Paul Hofman

AgResearch, Hamilton

Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Dr Elizabeth Duncan

Professor Paul Kenyon

University of Otago, Dunedin

Massey University, Palmerston North

Professor Lesley McCowan The University of Auckland, Auckland

Dr Chris McMahon AgReasearch, Hamilton

Professor Edwin Mitchell The University of Auckland, Auckland

Professor Ian Morison University of Otago, Dunedin

Associate Professor Susan Morton The University of Auckland, Auckland

Mr Tony Pleasants AgResearch, Hamilton

Professor David Raubenheimer Massey University, Albany, Auckland

Associate Professor Nicole Roy AgResearch, Palmerston North

Professor Elaine Rush AUT, Auckland

Professor Ian Shaw University of Canterbury, Christchurch

Professor Hamish Spencer University of Otago, Dunedin

Professor Peter Stone The University of Auckland, Auckland

Professor Gerald Tannock University of Otago, Dunedin

Associate Professor Mark Vickers Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

60

Associate investigators

Dr Elizabeth Forbes-Blom Malaghan Institute, Wellington

Dr Mhoyra Fraser Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Associate Professor Cameron Grant The University of Auckland, Auckland

Dr Katie Groom The University of Auckland, Auckland

Dr Jian Guan Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Professor Harlene Hayne University of Otago, Dunedin

Dr Mary Hedges The University of Auckland, Auckland

Dr Annette Henderson The University of Auckland, Auckland

Dr Julia Horsfield University of Otago, Dunedin

Dr Noelyn Hung University of Otago, Dunedin

Dr Joanna James The University of Auckland, Auckland

Dr Anne Jaquiery Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Dr Christine Jasoni University of Otago, Dunedin

Professor Torsten Kleffmann University of Otago, Dunedin

Professor Graham Le Gros Malaghan Institute, Wellington

Emeritus Professor Graeme Wake

Dr David Long

Massey University, Albany

The University of Auckland, Auckland

Professor Christine Winterbourn

Dr Erin Macaulay

University of Otago, Christchurch

University of Otago, Dunedin


MEMBERS AND ASSOCIATES

Dr Mark McCann AgResearch, Palmerston North

Dr Sue McCoard AgResearch, Palmerston North

Professor Patrick Morel

Postdoctoral fellows Dr Pritika Narayan The University of Auckland, Auckland

Dr Clare Reynolds Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Massey University, Palmerston North

Dr Elise Donovan

Professor Steve Morris

Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Massey University, Palmerston North

Dr Clint Gray

Dr Shinichi Nakagawa

Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

University of Otago, Dunedin

Dr Karina O’Connor

Dr Justin O’Sullivan

University of Otago, Christchurch

Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Dr Jaimee Stuart

Dr Mark Oliver

The University of Auckland, Auckland

Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Dr Amy Osborne

Dr Don Otter

University of Otago, Dunedin

AgResearch, Hamilton

Dr Karolina Sulek

Dr Sarah Pain

Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Massey University, Palmerston North

Dr Jo Stanley

Professor Tim Parkinson

Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Massey University, Palmerston North

Students

Dr Sam Peterson Massey University, Palmerston North

Dr Anna Ponnampalan Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Associate Professor Julia Rucklidge University of Canterbury, Christchurch

Dr Allan Sheppard Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Dr Paul Shorten AgResearch, Hamilton

Dr Kuljeet Singh AgResearch, Hamilton

Dr Tania Slatter University of Otago, Dunedin

Professor Kevin Stafford Massey University, Palmerston North

Professor Merryn Tawhai The University of Auckland, Auckland

Professor Barry Taylor University of Otago, Dunedin

Associate Professor Rachael Taylor University of Otago, Dunedin

Dr Ahila Ayyavoo Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Amita Bansal Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Nataliia Burakevych Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Aniruddha Chatterjee University of Otago, Dunedin

Natasha Coppitiers ‘t Wallant The University of Auckland, Auckland

Barbara Cormack Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Antoinette Danso Massey University, Palmerston North

Lisanne Fermin Massey University, Palmerston North

Jemma Geoghegan University of Otago, Dunedin

Sarah Gerritsen The University of Auckland, Auckland

Dr Jo Hegarty Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Associate Professor Ben Thompson

Asmad Kari

The University of Auckland, Auckland

Massey University, Palmerston North

Dr Danni van der Linden

Mohanraj Krishnan

AgResearch, Palmerston North

The University of Auckland, Auckland

Associate Professor Silas Villas-Boas

Megan Leask

The University of Auckland, Auckland

University of Otago, Dunedin

Associate Professor Karen Waldie

Shutan Liao

The University of Auckland, Auckland

Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Dr Trecia Wouldes

Maria Loureiro

The University of Auckland, Auckland

Massey University, Palmerston North 61


Dr Helena Magrath-Cohen University of Otago, Dunedin

Diedre MacVeigh The University of Auckland, Auckland

Gagandeep Mallah Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Leanne Young AUT University, Auckland

Huan Zhao Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Claudia Martinez Cordero

Masters students

Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Rosely Bourke

Michael Meier University of Otago, Dunedin

Ivy Men Joint Gravida-Riddet Institute PhD Scholarship recipient. AgResearch, Palmerston North

Ajay Nair Department of Biochemistry, University of Otago, Dunedin

Dr Charlotte Oyston Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Amy Paten Massey University, Palmerston North

Gemma Phillips Massey University, Albany, Auckland

Florian Pichlm端ller Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Rebecca Poynton University of Otago, Christchurch

Shikha Pundir Joint Gravida-Riddet Institute PhD Scholarship recipient, Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Hester Roberts University of Otago, Dunedin

Fernando Roca Fraga Massey University, Palmerston North

Brielle Rosa Massey University, Palmerston North

Rojan Saghian The University of Auckland, Auckland

Tessa Sanders University of Otago, Dunedin

Quentin Sciascia AgResearch Grasslands, Palmerston North

Stephanie Segovia Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Dharani Sontam The University of Auckland, Auckland

Ana-Mishel Spiroski Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Kai Yie Tay Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Melinda Thomas Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Dr Anna Tottman Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Zoe Vincent Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland 62

Dr Alex Wallace

Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland

Karen Mumme Liggins Institute, the University of Auckland, Auckland


Contact details Postal address c/- The University of Auckland Private Bag 92019 Auckland 1142 New Zealand Physical address The University of Auckland 85 Park Road Grafton Auckland 1023 New Zealand T: +64 9 923 1625 F: +64 9 373 7039 info@gravida.org.nz www.gravida.org.nz 1


Our partners

A Centre of Research Excellence hosted by the University of Auckland 2

ISSN 2324-5565 (print) ISSN 2324-5573 (online)


Gravida 2013 Annual Report ebook