Not one but two Hercus Fellows from SBS

01 November 2016

Two researchers from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland have recently been awarded Sir Charles Hercus Health Research Fellowships. This is a fantastic achievement for both new fellows as only five of these fellowships are awarded nationally.


Close up portrait image of Dr Ghader Bashiri.
Dr Ghader Bashiri

Dr Ghader Bashiri will research novel metabolic processes to target persistent tuberculosis (TB). Our poor understanding of the phenomenon of persistence is the greatest roadblock to improved treatment of tuberculosis, leading to latent disease and severely restricting the utility of current drugs. He will develop and lead a research programme investigating various metabolic processes in the biology and pathogenesis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium that causes TB. By deepening our molecular understanding of bacterial persistence, this research will provide a framework for the future development of novel anti-TB drugs in the treatment of persistent TB in infected individuals.

Close-up portrait image of Dr Christopher Walker.
Dr Christopher Walker

Dr Christopher Walker will explore neuropeptide signal pathway bias in pain. For many New Zealanders of all ages and ethnicities, pain is an intolerable daily burden. Currently only limited treatment options are available to people who suffer from chronic pain and these treatments simply lack the required effectiveness or have significant side-effects, including addiction and tolerance, which prohibit long-term use. New classes of drugs, which have new mechanisms of action, are required to address this silent epidemic. This research project will explore a new target for pain treatment in the nervous system. Uncovering how this new target works will fast-track the development of targeted pain-relieving therapies.