An evening of mini lectures from Liggins Institute Researchers Event as iCalendar

22 March 2017

5:30 - 7:30pm

Venue: Liggin's Institute

Location: 85 Park Road, Grafton

Host: Liggins Institute

Cost: Free

Contact info: Nicole Bassett on 021 2462801

Contact email:


Presentations for the evening include:

How can Systems Biology help us plan for our future health?  Professor Martin Kussmann

A new professor at the Liggins Institute, Professor Martin Kussmann, is investigating the molecular phenotype.

A phenotype is any characteristic that can be measured in an individual such as your height, weight or blood composition. The molecular phenotype is your ‘inner’ phenotype, and can reveal much more information about your health.

In this fascinating presentation Martin will explain HOW we can access information about the inner phenotype, and WHY phenotyping people over their lifespan (including before and after health interventions) is beginning to reveal markers of metabolic health and nutritional response.

This new discipline, known as systems biology, focuses on measuring what matters in the individual rather than measuring what’s possible in every study subject.  It may eventually translate into personal health trajectories that help us make informed decisions about how to improve or restore our health.

Does reducing maternal dietary inflammation improve the long-term health outcomes of her offspring?   Dr Clare Reynolds

Understanding how early life in the womb increases a child’s risk of disease in later life is a critical area of Liggins research. If we can unravel this we may be able to reverse the obesity and diabetes epidemic.

We know that maternal obesity is a driving force in the development of chronic adult conditions, and these conditions are strongly associated with persistent inflammation in the body.

In this presentation, Dr Clare Reynolds will explain how a deficiency in a particular gene reduces maternal metabolic stress and improves placental function. This could result in better outcomes for a mother’s children, regardless of her diet during pregnancy.

By looking at developmental programming models in the context of immune deficiency we can better understand the early life triggers that predispose some people to diseases in later life.

Can we improve outcomes for babies born with heart defects?   Dr Elza Cloete

Every year nearly 100 babies are born in New Zealand with critical congenital heart disease (CHD). Diagnosing them early can improve their chances of survival and result in better neurodevelopmental outcomes.

Fewer than 50% of babies with the most severe forms of cardiac disease are diagnosed with an antenatal ultrasound scan. Pulse oximetry is a noninvasive screening tool that has been shown to improve the early detection of CHD. A sensor is attached to the baby’s foot in the first day of life, which measures how much oxygen is in the blood; the majority of infants with critical CHD will have low oxygen saturation levels.

Dr Elza Cloete is a Neonatal Paediatrician investigating the feasibility of implementing a national pulse oximetry screening programme to enable the early detection of cardiac disease in NZ-born infants.