Teena Gamage: Grant to back stem cell research
Class of 2007 This item from Meghan Lawrence, Eastern Courier, 24 Dec 2014.
Teena Gamage has picked up a major kick start towards her ground breaking medical research.
The former Edgewater College student has been granted a $126,500 doctoral scholarship from the Auckland Medical Research Foundation.
Gamage completed her masters in biomedical science at the University of Auckland and has gone on to study a PhD in human trophoblast stem cells – the stem cells present in the placenta.
The 25-year-old says this research is key to understanding how the placenta is made.
‘‘Trophoblast stem cells allow for the rapid growth of the placenta and allow it to function properly,’’ she says.
Gamage wants to understand what goes wrong in pregnancy disorders by comparing the difference between stem cells from healthy and growth-restricted placentas.
‘‘It is only when we begin to understand how the placenta is made that we can start to understand what goes wrong in pregnancy,’’ she says.
The organisation offers doctoral scholarships to New Zealand students enrolling for a PhD or masters degree in medical science.
It covers the costs of the research for up to three years of study.
‘‘The more we understand this the closer we will come to finally developing a treatment to improve the growth of these placentas and consequentially improve foetal growth and reduce the amount of disease,’’ Gamage says.
Gamage will be studying under Dr Jo James and Professor Larry Chamley, but says she has also received huge support from her family and the people at Edgewater College.