Southern Division
For some time the Canterbury Masonic Charitable Trust had been looking to support the important aspect of Medical Research, particularly in the Canterbury area. An introduction to the Dean of the University of Otago Christchurch Medical School (Prof Peter Joyce) opened an avenue for the Trust. This lead to the inauguration of the Freemasons Carrell-Espiner Postdoctoral Fellowship, a research position in Christchurch. Professor R W Carrell, Emeritus Prof of Haematology, Trinity College, Cambridge, and Professor Espiner, Emeritus Prof, Christchurch Heart Institute were both deeply involved in research work in Christchurch which gave rise to the establishment of the Medical School in our city. Thus the Freemasons Carrell-Espiner Postdoctoral Fellowship bears their names.

Professor Carrell comments that Fellowships are entirely worthwhile and deserve full support. In his opinion they are designed to meet the crucial requirement not only for medical research in Christchurch but for the long-term development of first class medicine as a whole in New Zealand. Important is the development of future leaders who will set the standing, drive and the quality of our medical services.

The inaugural Freemasons Carrell-Espiner Postdoctoral Fellow worked to identify markers in the blood for predicting people at risk of a future heart attack. Over half of all heart disease-related deaths occur in people with no previous symptoms or warning signs.
Prof Eric Espiner,
Emeritus Prof, Christchurch Heart Institute.
Dr Moritz Lassé analysed blood samples from hundreds of Christchurch volunteers, looking for common patterns of circulating proteins. By comparing blood samples from those who subsequently experienced a heart attack with those who remained heart healthy, Dr Lassé aimed to find patterns of proteins which may indicate a heart attack is imminent within the next few years. This is particularly important in seemingly healthy individuals who would be classed as low risk of heart disease by current screening methods.

Dr Lassé worked with the Christchurch Heart Institute’s geneticists Professor Vicky Cameron and Dr Anna Pilbrow. The pair has long focused on genetic differences to pinpoint why some people have heart attacks despite appearing at low risk of heart disease. Professor Cameron says genetic differences may be expressed as varying levels of circulating proteins in the blood, which is why Dr Lassé’s expertise in protein profiling complements their work so well.

Additional support for this Fellowship is proudly sponsored by The Phoenix Lodge No. 43 with funding from The Freemasons Charity.

Inaugural Freemasons Carrell-Espiner Postdoctoral Fellowship reciient - Dr Moritz Lassé
Prof R W Carrell, Emeritus Prof of Haematology, Trinity College, Cambridge.