About the Foundation

The Object of the Otago Medical Research Foundation: Is for the furtherance of medical research in Otago. We fund world class research, equipment and facilities for Otago’s highly talented medical community of scientists, students, practitioners and lecturers. Our recipients contribute invaluable medical knowledge that can be applied to medicine and prevention in future and in doing so we also retain top medical talent and intellectual property in Otago.

Medical research is a life changer. Our supporters are life changers.

The answers unearthed through medical research irrefutably lead to greater quality of life for society – through earlier diagnosis and treatment. Since the Foundation was established in 1967 it has identified and funded over $8 million worth of grants and scholarships, with much of the work undertaken now acclaimed around the world. The lives of millions of people have ultimately been improved by the research funded by the Otago Medical Research Foundation. Made possible by our generous supporters.

It all starts somewhere

The Foundation helps to fund medical research projects and scholarships which are highly novel and scientifically worthy, but due to their early exploratory nature don’t attract the interest of larger funding agencies. However, in the world of medical research what the Foundation launches cannot be underestimated. Once that initial research has been completed and the answers discovered, it often opens up new areas of investigation for bigger entities to develop. So the research never stops and many of our esteemed alumni are now global leaders in their medical fields.

Everyone benefits from medical research

There is not one person who has not benefitted from answers found through medical research, whether that be personally, through parents or children, partners or siblings, work mates or their friends. We will all know many who wouldn’t be with us had it not been for the discoveries made, the earlier diagnosis and less invasive treatment that research unveils. It is irrefutable that from medical research we all benefit.

Management & council

Mr K.G. Dempster, Chairperson
Assoc Prof P.A. Cragg, Deputy Chairperson
Deloitte representative, Secretary/Treasurer

Scientific Committee (those in italics commence lated 2017 or in 2018)
Assoc Prof Pat Cragg (Nominee School of Biomedical Sciences), Chair, Physiology; retiring 31 May 2018
Prof Greg Jones, Deputy Chair, Surgical Sciences; becoming Chair 1 June 2018
Dr Hesham Al-Sallami (co-opted School of Pharmacy), November 2017
Dr Andrew Bahn (Nominee Otago Medical School Research Society), Physiology
Dr Sierra Beck (Nominee Dunedin School of Medicine), Medicine, July 2018
Dr Chris Brown (Co-opted), Biochemistry
Dr Cathy Chapple (Co-opted), School of Physiotherapy
Dr Heather Cunliffe (Co-opted), Pathology
Dr Nick Heng (Co-opted), Dental School
Assoc Prof Keith Ireton (Co-opted), Microbiology
Assoc Prof Rajesh Katare (Nominee School of Biomedical Sciences), Physiology, June 2018 –
Assoc Prof Ivan Sammut (Co-opted), Pharmacology
Dr Damian Scarf (Co-opted), Psychology
Prof Rob Walker (Co-opted), Medicine
Dr Joanna Williams (Co-opted), Anatomy
Dr Lyn Wise (President Otago Medical School Research Society, ex officio), Pharmacology
Dr Stephanie Woodley (Nominee Otago Medical School Research Society), Anatomy, March 2018 – 2021
NB. The Otago Branch of NZ Medical Association position is currently vacant (a new nominee is being sought)


Director of Development
Susan Sims

Events Manager
Steve Davie


Honorary Solicitor
Mr J Anderson – Gallaway Cook Allan

Crowe Horwath

Emeritus Professor Gil Barbezat

Professor Barry Taylor
Dean Dunedin School of Medicine – ex-officio

Assoc Prof P A Cragg
Chair of Scientific Committee – ex-officio

Mr M C Horne
Deloitte (Secretaries) – ex-officio

Prof A van Rij
Otago University Faculty of Medicine

Dr P Gootjes
N.Z. Medical Association (Otago Division)

Mrs. Sarah Ramsay

Assoc Prof Greg Jones

Prof Vernon Ward
Dean of the Otago School of Medical Sciences

Prof J Highton
General Medical Staff, Otago District Health Board

Mr R Bunton
Otago District Health Board

Dr M Coleman
Elected by Members of the Foundation

Mr K G Dempster
Elected by Members of the Foundation

Mr R P Lewis
Elected by Members of the Foundation

Dr J McMahon MBE
Elected by Members of the Foundation

Ms S Saunderson-Warner
Elected by Members of the Foundation

Assoc Prof Joel Tyndall
President of the Otago Medical School of Research Society

Dr Victoria Scott

Funding Snapshots

From OMRF 2017 Annual Report

Annual Grants

Otago Community Trust


Jack Thompson

Summer Studentships