Cure Kids commits to 12 new child health research projects

January 2020

Over a million dollars ($1,103,418) has been committed to funding 12 new research projects in the following areas of child health research; stillbirth prevention, rheumatic heart disease, mental health, amblyopia, rare diseases, and child cancer.

Included in this granting round was the newly created Roy Austin Repatriation Fellowship Fund – set up to assist an established researcher with an excellent track record in medical or health research to return to New Zealand to further their career. The fellowship is named after Roy Austin to recogise Roy’s service as a long-standing Cure Kids board member for over 20 years.

We are delighted to announce Dr Adam O’Neill as the inaugural recipient. Dr O’Neill has just returned from his postdoctoral position in Munich, at the world-renowned Helmholtz Zentrum Institute, where he pioneered the use of stem-cell-based technologies to catalogue and analyse the proteins and genes forming networks within specific brain cells.

Skin cells are used from children with neurodevelopmental conditions, then “programmed” into brain stem-cells for laboratory study to map the development of a child’s brain condition from onset to maturation. Ultimately, he aims to more accurately classify these childhood disorders using molecular methods. His work will help stratify these children’s phenotypes at the molecular level, improving diagnostics and management.