Challenge researcher awarded travel fellowship to China

09 February 2018
Jose Derraik web
Dr Jose Derraik, A Better Start researcher on the way to China.

Dr José Derraik of the Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland has been awarded the NZ-China Non-Communicable Diseases Research Collaboration Centre emerging researcher travel fellowship.

Dr Derraik receives $34,000 to progress a joint research project with the Children’s Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine. In Hangzhou, Dr Derraik will work with researchers on health data collection from a series of large cohorts of children. He has had a preliminary meeting with Professor Jun-fen Fu, the vice-president of the Children’s Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine in December.

Professor Fu’s team is working with the Challenge researchers to gather health data on thousands of school-aged children. In the meantime, work has started on cross-sectional health data collected from nearly 23,000 children across China in 2009 and 2010.

Dr Derraik says, "There are a lot of valuable data on these children, their BMI, blood lipids, diet, and physical activity, and importantly, certain health indicators for their parents.” This collaboration aims to examine a number of important questions on the long-term health effects of early life events on Chinese children. However, it also aims to test the appropriateness of the obesity prediction model being developed as one of the linked projects in A Better Start’s Healthy Weight research theme.

Access to such a lode of child health data opens up all sorts of research opportunities. José says large cohorts make it possible for example, to detect clinically important differences in a population to enable deeper insight into the complex interactions that affect a child’s health. The Centre is a joint initiative of the three health National Science Challenges: A Better Start, Healthier Lives and Ageing Well.