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Nikau Foundation celebration

17 April 2015

The Malaghan Institute hosted the Nikau Foundation and their supporters recently and unveiled the new “Nikau Foundation Immunotherapy Laboratory”, named in recognition of their loyal support to the Malaghan Institute. 

Nikau is part of the world’s fastest growing movement in philanthropy – Community Foundations where people give to invest in the future to make an enduring impact on society.

One of our staff, PhD Student Karmella Naidoo, is a recipient of a Nikau Foundation Scholarship.  While Professor Graham Le Gros gave the group an overview of our recent discoveries Karmella shared with the group progress on the first year of her research into eczema and its associated immune cell responses.  One in five New Zealand children suffers from eczema; an allergic disease that typically starts in infancy and results from an inappropriate immune response to innocuous substances such as house dust mites or pollen.

Karmella’s PhD project is supervised by Malaghan Institute’s Gut Immunology Team Leader Dr Elizabeth Forbes-Blom.  Karmella’s investigations are connected both nationally and internationally; including research collaborations with academic institutions and industry (partners include Fonterra, University of Otago, University of Queensland, the Mayo Clinic, Danone and the University of Utrecht).

Chris Milne, Chair of the Nikau Foundation said, “I was impressed by the promise of immunotherapy for our community. The dedication of scientists at the Malaghan Institute makes me optimistic for the future of medical research in New Zealand.”

The Nikau Foundation, on behalf of their donors, have funded medical research at the Malaghan Institute for over a decade, and we are grateful for their continuing support.