A healthy start for a healthy life - Liggins Institute public lecture Event as iCalendar

28 March 2018

6 - 8:30pm

Venue: Fale Pasifika, City campus, University of Auckland

Location: 20 Wynyard St, Auckland 1010

Cost: Free

Contact email: sarah.bennett@auckland.ac.nz

Website: Eventbrite


In the 17 years since it opened, the Liggins Institute has changed the face of healthcare for mothers and babies in New Zealand and around the world.

Today our scientists are still investigating how to give ALL babies a healthy start to life, with new discoveries being made every year. From identifying the best time to diagnose gestational diabetes to exploring how best to feed preterm babies, researchers at the Liggins Institute are constantly testing the factors that set us up for a healthy life.

You’ll hear from founding director Professor Sir Peter Gluckman about the breakthroughs the institute has made, and from current director Professor Frank Bloomfield about how we translate our research into clinical practice. Our newest Associate Professor, Katie Groom, will demonstrate how a clinical trial works in practice as she presents the latest findings for a possible treatment for growth restricted babies.

You'll be hosted by outstanding PhD candidate, Elsie Jacobson, who is investigating what happens to your DNA when immune cells respond to infection.

The presentations will be followed by a drinks reception where we encourage you to stay and network with alumni, friends and supporters of the Institute.

6 pm - doors open
6.15 pm - lecture begins
7.30 pm - drinks reception
8.30 pm - event closes

Book your place now

Meet the speakers. From left to right: Distinguished Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, Professor Frank Bloomfield, Associate Professor Katie Groom, Phd candidate Elsie Jacobson

Professor Sir Peter Gluckman

Distinguished Professor Sir Peter Gluckman’s research focuses on what gives us a healthy start to life and the impact that this knowledge has for individuals and whole populations.

The inaugural director of the Liggins Institute and former Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Professor Gluckman is an international advocate for science, promoting the translation of discoveries in biomedical research into improvements in long term health outcomes. His work with organisations such as the WHO has brought growing recognition of the importance of a healthy start to life, and as the first scientific advisor appointed to the Prime Minister’s Office, he has been instrumental in changing the government's view of the value in investing in biomedical research.

Professor Frank Bloomfield

Professor Frank Bloomfield is a neonatologist whose research focuses on the complications of preterm birth and the lifelong consequences of early life nutrition and altered growth. He is currently investigating whether the way preterm babies are fed can improve their development, as well as exploring whether congenital heart disease can be more quickly and effectively diagnosed.

Professor Bloomfield is the current Director of the Liggins Institute, a Consultant Neonatologist at Auckland City Hospital, and past President of the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand.

Associate Professor Katie Groom

Dr Katie Groom is an obstetrician and Maternal Fetal Medicine Subspecialist at Auckland City Hospital, as well as the newest Associate Professor at the Liggins Institute and the inaugural recipient of the Hugo Charitable Trust Research Fellowship. Her research focuses on interventions that could prevent and treat the major complications of pregnancy.

Dr Groom currently leads the STRIDER NZAus trial, which is investigating whether a drug called sildenafil could help growth restricted babies stay in the womb for longer. Being born too small has long-term health implications, but with no treatment currently available, the only option is early delivery, which exacerbates the potential long-term health problems these babies face. In this public lecture, Dr Groom will explain more about the study, and what the researchers are looking for when they assess babies born as part of the trial at 2-3 years of age.

PhD Candidate Elsie Jacobson

Elsie Jacobson is a final year PhD student at the Liggins Institute. She graduated from the University of Otago with a BSc. (Hons) First Class in genetics and microbiology before working on clinical trials for genetic markers of bladder cancer at Pacific Edge Ltd. Elsie is conducting her PhD research with Associate Professor Justin O’Sullivan, Dr Jo Perry, and Professor Mark Vickers. She is interested in how DNA folds up inside cells, and how this organisation changes when immune cells move around our body. The title of her thesis is “3D chromatin and immune cell activation: do physical constraints alter nuclear conformation, and does this change cell behaviour?”​