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University of Otago

Country: New Zealand
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26 Projects, page 1 of 6
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: BB/L026902/1
    Funder Contribution: 30,346 GBP
    Partners: University of Otago, University of Salford

    Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: BB/R020140/1
    Funder Contribution: 20,859 GBP
    Partners: University of Otago, University of Leeds

    Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/I000461/1
    Funder Contribution: 403,994 GBP
    Partners: University of Stirling, University of Otago

    The 800-page folio Reliquiae Baxterianae: or, Mr. Richard Baxter's narrative of the Most Memorable Passages of his Life and Times (1696) consists of autobiographical papers, with supporting documents, written in the main in 1664, 1665 and 1670-85, covering the seventy-year period from Baxter's birth in 1615, most expansively the years following the restoration of monarchy and Charles II's return in 1660. Its editor was the nonconformist minister Matthew Sylvester (1636?-1708). \n\nThe significance of Reliquiae Baxterianae is three-fold. First, it is an unrivalled primary historical source for seventeenth-century English political, religious, social, cultural and literary history. Baxter offers a first-hand account of events at the highest level (he met, and comments on, Cromwell, Charles II, Clarendon, Sheldon) but he is also (particularly through his ministry) a witness to the experiences of a great range of provincial members of the mercantile, clerical, artisan and agricultural classes. \n\nSecondly, the Reliquiae is a foundation text for eighteenth-century ecclesiastical and historiographical traditions. Its vindication of moderate Puritanism and its accounts of the early nonconformists passed Baxterianism on to eighteenth-century dissent. In this respect, the Reliquiae was an early contributor to the literary civil war prompted by the 'Glorious Revolution' of 1688/89 to determine the master narrative of seventeenth-century English history. \n\nThirdly, Baxter's was one of the most acute intelligences and complex personalities of the period. He was fascinated by individuality, by temperament and by psychology, his own as much as others'. The Reliquiae is rich in sharply realised and acute characterisations and in passages of remarkably perceptive self-scrutiny and reflection, leading to its being hailed as one of the masterpieces of early autobiographical writing in the English tradition and as a key text in the development of both historiography and autobiography as distinct literary genres.\n\nSylvester, however, was an unskilful editor, confessing himself 'deeply sensible of my inability for such Work' as editing Baxter's 'great quantity of loose Papers'. His edition is disfigured by an inconsistent formal arrangement, confused in its narrative shape and chronology, interrupted by blocks of documentation, textually inaccurate and incomplete. Scholars have repeatedly lamented that the range and richness of the primary evidence in this densely referential work of great length (c. 1,000,000 words) is consequently largely inaccessible. 'No book of its importance was ever worse edited' observed the Unitarian historian Alexander Gordon. The Reliquiae is the most significant and substantial seventeenth-century work of personal record never to have received scholarly editorial attention (compare Bunyan, Burnet, Clarendon, Evelyn, Morrice, Pepys). \n\nTo address this need N. H. Keeble is leading an editorial team that has been commissioned by OUP to prepare a fully annotated five-volume scholarly edition. The edition will establish an accurate and reliable text, working from the manuscript where this is extant; it will identify, gloss and index every person, incident and topic mentioned; it will give a full bibliographical account of the text, set out the history of its composition and publication, and discuss its reception; and a full introduction will explore the nature and significance of the text.\n\nThis project is strongly supported by the Trustees of Dr. Williams's Library, which holds much of the extant manuscript, and by the Dr. Williams's Centre for Dissenting Studies, of which Dr. David Wykes and Professor Isabel Rivers are co-directors. (An account of the project is available at There is one coinvestigator, Professor John Coffey of Leicester University, and one academic partner, Dr Tim Cooper of Otago University.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: ES/R003424/1
    Funder Contribution: 232,033 GBP
    Partners: University of Otago, UTAS, University of Bristol

    Smoking remains the primary cause of preventable death and disease in the UK. Last year alone, 96,000 people in the UK died prematurely as a direct result of smoking and more than double this number of children took up smoking to take their place. As the 'average' smoker, smoking 12 cigarettes per day, will view their cigarette pack at least 4,300 times a year, the cigarette pack offers governments a unique tool to communicate the health impacts of smoking. The introduction of standardised (i.e., plain) packaging of cigarettes in the UK will mean that health warnings on packs are more noticeable. However, in order for this landmark legislation to be effective, these health warnings need to be sending out the right messages. Although health warnings with strong, threatening images and messages are used on cigarette packs in over 100 countries, there is evidence that smokers may avoid them or react negatively towards them. Theory suggests that warnings are most likely to result in positive behaviour change if they combine threatening messages with those which increase a smoker's perceived ability to stop smoking and knowledge of the benefits of stopping (known as 'efficacy' messages). Despite this, there has been very little research on the impact of efficacy messages on tobacco warnings, no research on how adolescents respond to efficacy messages and almost no adoption of efficacy messages on tobacco warnings globally. This project will address these key issues by examining responses to warnings with 'efficacy' and 'threatening' content and developing research on what constitutes effective warnings. This research is critically important given the potential for health warnings to educate individuals about the risks of smoking and encourage them to stop. It will apply a strong theoretical framework to examine the roles of efficacy and threatening content on warnings among both adults and adolescents. Given that two-thirds of smokers start before the age of 18, there is surprisingly little research on the impact of warnings among adolescents. My research will address this critical gap in the literature. This project is timely and important, not only because of the recent introduction of standardised packaging of cigarettes. Britain's exit from the EU will provide the UK government with a unique opportunity to implement new warnings and strengthen tobacco control policies, as these will no longer be enforced by the EU-wide Tobacco Products Directive. I will conduct online surveys among adults and adolescents smokers. These surveys will examine, for the first time, responses to threatening and efficacy warnings and their impact on attitudes towards smoking. I will then use the findings of these studies to conduct two 'mixed methods studies' among adults and adolescents to measure self-reported reactions, brain activation and smoking behaviour in response to health warnings. My research uses a unique combination of innovative approaches combining subjective and objective techniques. This research is novel in a number of ways. First, it will provide objective and previously unexplored insights into differences in response to warnings among adults and adolescents. Second, it will develop our understanding of the mechanisms underlying responses to efficacy and threatening warnings. Finally, it will produce the first evidence demonstrating how neural and subjective responses to warnings are related and how these predict longer-term smoking behaviours and attitudes. This research will support the development of better, more effective warnings for tobacco products and provide a toolkit for the development of effective warnings for a range of unhealthy products, such as alcohol and unhealthy food, which can be used by academics and policymakers internationally. This project ultimately aims to reduce the rates of premature death and disease caused by smoking by providing evidence to support tobacco packaging policy change.

  • Open Access mandate for Publications
    Funder: EC Project Code: 714478
    Overall Budget: 1,498,340 EURFunder Contribution: 1,498,340 EUR
    Partners: University of Liverpool, University of Otago, University of Exeter

    Bacteria have a range of immune mechanisms, but it is unclear why this diverse armamentarium evolved. The most important immune mechanisms are (1) Surface Modification (SM) (2) Abortive infection (Abi) (3) Restriction Modification (R-M) (4) CRISPR-Cas and (5) prokaryotic Argonaute (pAgo), all of which can occur as stand-alone mechanisms or in combination. The individual mechanisms differ in key aspects, such as their fitness costs (constitutive versus inducible), specificity (indiscriminate versus specific), the recipient of the benefits (individual versus group), the speed of de novo resistance evolution (rapid versus slow), and heritability of immunity. Here I will take a combined in vitro and in vivo approach to tease apart the variables that drive the evolution of these diverse stand-alone and integrated bacterial immune strategies in nature, and examine their associated co-evolutionary dynamics. I focus on three ecological variables that are consistently important in host-symbiont co-evolution: (1) force of infection (2) spatial structure (3) presence of mutualists (plasmids). First, I will perform in vitro manipulations using Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14 variants that carry either single or multiple immune mechanisms. Next, I will sequence metagenomes, transcriptomes and viromes of microbial communities from environments that differ in ecological variables that are important in vitro, to examine their importance in vivo. Key ecological mechanisms identified in the first two parts of the project will be used to guide mesocosm experiments to experimentally confirm that these mechanisms are the drivers of the observed patterns of resistance and co-evolution in nature. Finally, I will share my data with mathematical biologists to generate theoretical models to predict and manipulate the evolution of bacterial immune mechanisms, which will facilitate tailored species protection in agriculture and industry.