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NZ's Young Scientist of the year announced

21-Jun-2007

25 year old Auckland University PhD student Jessie Jacobson has won New Zealand's Young Scientist of the Year award for research pertaining to Huntington's disease. The award includes $10'000 cash and a trip to the British Association of Science Festival.

Ms Jacobson has created dna containing the gene responsible for Huntington's disease and has managed to replicate it in sheep which are being bred to study the progression of the disease. There is presently no cure for the debilitating brain disorder and due to its delayed onset the disease has been difficult to study. Rats and mice are the creatures most widely used in the study of Huntingtons, but due to their relatively short lifespan it is difficult to produce indepth experiments into the early phases of the disease. Ms Jacobson's transgenic work in sheep will allow scientists to attempt to figure out ways to halt the disease before it begins to develop.

Junior doctor Shieak Tzeng was also awarded a prize for research into how the heart regulates and controls breathing.

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