Science outreach day

An insight written by Dr Max Berry

One of the three core objectives of The Little Miracles Trust is to aid neonatal-related medical research. This support occurs in a range of ways from direct financial support, to organising research participants, helping raise awareness . . .    helping any way we can!  Last week it included supporting the ‘Curious Kids and Cool Science’ lab day. Dr Max Berry has kindly provided an insight of this piece of the research puzzle. 

Dr Max Berry is leading some wonderful research into the early care of neonatal babies and how these can impact their life beyond the NICU and/or SCBU.


Dr Max Berry Science dayOne of the great joys of working in Wellington is being part of the amazing community of passionate and dedicated doctors and scientists. On September 20th 2017 we hosted our second annual ‘Curious Kids and Cool Science’ lab day at the University of Otago, Wellington.  This was the culmination of a terms great work with our ‘junior scientists’, and something that we had all been looking forward to. The Centre for Translational Physiology changed tack for the day and opened its doors to 40, 7-12 year old children from Pinehaven and Maoribank primary schools in Upper Hutt and Marsden Collegiate School in Whitby.  

We had an incredible team of volunteers from Otago, CCDHB and ESR; all experts and all keen to share their knowledge with students (and their teachers!).  The day got off to a great start with the mad scientists photo booth where outrageous posing was the order of the day! Then off to the cardiology lab where Callum and Isaac used the ECHO machine to look at how our hearts work. Next was the exercise lab where Micky and Terry ramped up the pace – quite literally! We used the lab bikes and treadmill to learn about how much energy gets used during exercise, which all got just a little bit competitive. With all that energy used up we needed to replenish the stores; what could be better than making edible cell biscuits with Erin and Sophie?  

Dr Max Berry and CallumFortunately before too many biscuits could get demolished it was on to Brian and Charlotte and learning about sugar, diet and all the sneaky ways excess sugar gets into food. From there, it was down to the bug lab where Donia and Jane looked at the germ swabs taken from the kids schools to see which teachers phones grew the most bugs…. And a whole host of other things too….. The feedback from the children was superb; our junior scientists are ready for anything! 

Providing these sorts of opportunities for children to learn and to discover the excitement of science in action is invaluable.  Drs Anna Howey-Brown and Bec Dyson did a fantastic job of coordinating this years outreach programme, ably supported by an amazing group of scientists and clinicians (Dr Clint Gray, Dr Angela Ballentyne, Dr Callum Gately, Dr Isaac Bernhardt, Dr Sophie Swart, Ms Erin Smith, Ms Maureen Prowse, Ms Taylor Wilson, Mr Ryan Sixtus, Dr Brian Corley, Ms Charlotte Peter, Prof Diane Kenwright, Dr Donia Macartney-Coxson, Ms Jane Clapham, Dr Emily Wallis, Dr Mickey Fan, Mr Terry O’Donnell, Dr Sara Filoche, Dr Emma Williams, Ms Heather Barnes, Ms Natalie Redshaw, A/Prof Shieak Tzeng). I am incredibly fortunate to work with such a fantastic team! 



Research lab microscope

The Little Miracles Trust is proud to support Dr Max Berry and her team. They undertake some world leading research that increases the understanding of, and enhances the clinical care involved with, neonatal journeys.

Below are links to some recent articles on neonatal research:

Neonatal care is a comparatively fledgling clinical field. We support research so that the care delivered is enhanced and the long term consequences of prematurity and early illness/complications are better understood – this for the thousands of babies who will be cared for each year in New Zealand.