John Pickering

Dr John Pickering is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Otago, Christchurch and a Senior Research Fellow in Acute Care in the Emergency Department of Christchurch hospital. John aims to blog on science, health, and occasionally political issues. He believes publicly funded science should be made public - so publishes regular "cheesecake files" about his own research. John is on Twitter @kiwiskinz

How Academia Resembles a Drug Gang - Kidney Punch

Dec 02, 2013

Originally posted on Alexandre Afonso:
In 2000, economist Steven Levitt and sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh published an article in the Quarterly Journal of Economics about the internal wage structure of a Chicago drug gang. This piece would later serve as a basis for a chapter in Levitt’s (and Dubner’s) best seller Freakonomics. [1] The title of the…

A taste of success - Kidney Punch

Nov 18, 2013

Some recent successes of University of Otago Christchurch researchers: Chlorine bleach key in disease? Professor Tony Kettle from the Centre for Free Radical Research has won a prestigious Marsden Fund grant to better understand a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ chemical with a role in heart disease, cancer, cystic fibrosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Professor Kettle will investigate … Continue reading

Medical professionals act up - Kidney Punch

Nov 13, 2013

Actors are helping Christchurch medical students practise the skills necessary to relate to patients. Dr Lynette Murdoch organises the General Practice component for 4th year medical students at the University of Otago, Christchurch.  She says the General Practice Department has long employed professional actors to play the role of simulated patients. “The consultations our students … Continue reading

Legionnaires’ disease more common than once thought - Kidney Punch

Nov 11, 2013

Infectious diseases expert Professor David Murdoch is passionate about his work in better understanding legionnaires’ disease and its causes. “If I ever have the opportunity in my career to help eradicate a disease it would likely be legionnaires’ disease. It’s the most common cause of pneumonia for much of the year in Christchurch and it … Continue reading

More women injured in quakes - Kidney Punch

Nov 06, 2013

A Christchurch researcher is trying to understand why so many more women than men were injured in the Canterbury earthquakes. Professor Mike Ardagh is Chair of the RHISE (Researching the Health Implications of Seismic Events) group. Professor Ardagh leads a team investigating the health system response to the quakes. His team found the health system … Continue reading

A letter for all District Health Board Candidates - Kidney Punch

Sep 30, 2013

Dear District Health Board Candidates Soon I and thousands like me will cast our votes to choose our District Health Boards.  Given the huge budgets of DHBs and the huge potential to influence health outcomes I want more information from you than a couple of paragraphs I received with the voting packs.  Below are two … Continue reading

Teach creationism; undermine theology - Kidney Punch

Sep 24, 2013

My fellow science blogger Alison Campbell recently wrote a blog post entitled “teach creationism, undermine science”  in which she highlighted some of the concerns shared by many scientists.  As a Christian and as a scientist I believe the issue is far worse than the undermining of science.  Because so many teaching creationism are so well … Continue reading

What the HRC should have done - Kidney Punch

Sep 18, 2013

The system is broke.  It is no better than a lottery.  The Health Research Council tacitly acknowledged this last year when they introduced a lottery to their grant funding round.  The lottery was for three grants of $150,000 each.  These “Explorer Grants” are available again this year.  The process went thus: HRC announced the grant … Continue reading