College of Health staff

Contact details +64 (09) 414 0800  ext. 43411

Dr Martin Dickens BSc, PhD

Senior Lecturer in Metabolic Physiology

School of Health Sciences

A cell physiologist with expertise in biochemistry, molecular biology and a strong background in cell signalling who is interested in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying human health and disease.


Contact details

  • Ph: +64 (0) 9 213 6411
    Location: 32.03, 32
    Campus: Oteha Rohe - Albany


  • BSc (Hons) Biochemistry - Class I - University of Bristol (1987)
  • PhD Biochemistry - University of Bristol (1991)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

Previous work

Mechanisms of hormone action, particularly how insulin regulates metabolism in fat, liver and muscle cells and how this is impaired in diabetes.

Pathways that mediate adaptive responses to cellular stresses, mainly in the cardiovascular system, most recently working on cardiac ischaemia/reperfusion injury & hypertrophic responses in cardiac myocytes.

Current Interests

Understanding how exercise brings about the physiological and metabolic remodelling of muscle.

Mechanotransduction & nutritional effects on cell signalling in bone.

Metabolic and cardiovascular health.

Effects of dietary phytochemicals on cell physiology.


Health and Well-being

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Biochemistry and Cell Biology (060100): Biological Sciences (060000):
Cardiology (incl. Cardiovascular Diseases) (110201): Cardiovascular Medicine and Haematology (110200):
Cell Metabolism (060104):
Cell Physiology (111601): Medical And Health Sciences (110000): Medical Physiology (111600): Neurosciences (110900):
Signal Transduction (060111)


Cell physiology


Molecular biology


Cell signalling

Metabolic regulation

Cardiovascular health

Physiology of muscle & bone 

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 0 1
Team Member 0 1

Research Outputs


Miller, BW., Hay, JM., Prigent, SA., & Dickens, M. (2012). Post-transcriptional regulation of VEGF-A mRNA levels by mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) during metabolic stress associated with ischaemia/reperfusion. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry. , 1-12
[Journal article]Authored by: Dickens, M.
Vaishnav, M., MacFarlane, M., & Dickens, M. (2011). Disassembly of the JIP1/JNK molecular scaffold by caspase-3-mediated cleavage of JIP1 during apoptosis. Experimental Cell Research. 317(7), 1028-1039
[Journal article]Authored by: Dickens, M.
Cannell, IG., Kong, YW., Johnston, SJ., Chen, ML., Collins, HM., Dobbyn, HC., . . . Bushell, M. (2010). p38 MAPK/MK2-mediated induction of miR-34c following DNA damage prevents Myc-dependent DNA replication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 107(12), 5375-5380
[Journal article]Authored by: Dickens, M.
Finn, SG., Dickens, M., & Fuller, SJ. (2001). c-Jun N-terminal kinase-interacting protein 1 inhibits gene expression in response to hypertrophic agonists in neonatal rat ventricular myocytes. Biochemical Journal. 358(2), 489-495
[Journal article]Authored by: Dickens, M.
Harding, TC., Xue, L., Bienemann, A., Haywood, D., Dickens, M., Tolkovsky, AM., . . . Uney, JB. (2001). Inhibition of JNK by Overexpression of the JNK Binding Domain of JIP-1 Prevents Apoptosis in Sympathetic Neurons. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 276(7), 4531-4534
[Journal article]Authored by: Dickens, M.
Coffey, ET., Hongisto, V., Dickens, M., Davis, RJ., & Courtney, MJ. (2000). Dual roles for c-Jun N-terminal kinase in developmental and stress responses in cerebellar granule neurons. Journal of Neuroscience. 20(20), 7602-7613
[Journal article]Authored by: Dickens, M.
MacFarlane, M., Cohen, GM., & Dickens, M. (2000). JNK (c-Jun N-terminal kinase) and p38 activation in receptor-mediated and chemically-induced apoptosis of T-cells: Differential requirements for caspase activation. Biochemical Journal. 348(1), 93-101
[Journal article]Authored by: Dickens, M.
Kelkar, N., Gupta, S., Dickens, M., & Davis, RJ. (2000). Interaction of a mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling module with the neuronal protein JIP3. Molecular and Cellular Biology. 20(3), 1030-1043
[Journal article]Authored by: Dickens, M.
Chow, CW., Rincón, M., Cavanagh, J., Dickens, M., & Davis, RJ. (1997). Nuclear accumulation of NFAT4 opposed by the JNK signal transduction pathway. Science. 278(5343), 1638-1641
[Journal article]Authored by: Dickens, M.
Dickens, M., Rogers, JS., Cavanagh, J., Raitano, A., Xia, Z., Halpern, JR., . . . Davis, RJ. (1997). A cytoplasmic inhibitor of the JNK signal transduction pathway. Science. 277(5326), 693-696
[Journal article]Authored by: Dickens, M.
Raingeaud, J., Gupta, S., Rogers, JS., Dickens, M., Han, J., Ulevitch, RJ., . . . Davis, RJ. (1995). Pro-inflammatory cytokines and environmental stress cause p38 mitogen- activated protein kinase activation by dual phosphorylation on tyrosine and threonine. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 270(13), 7420-7426
[Journal article]Authored by: Dickens, M.
Xia, Z., Dickens, M., Raingeaud, J., Davis, RJ., & Greenberg, ME. (1995). Opposing effects of ERK and JNK-p38 MAP kinases on apoptosis. Science. 270(5240), 1326-1331
[Journal article]Authored by: Dickens, M.
Chin, JE., Dickens, M., Tavare, JM., & Roth, RA. (1993). Overexpression of protein kinase C isoenzymes α, βI, γ, and ε in cells overexpressing the insulin receptor: Effects on receptor phosphorylation and signaling. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 268(9), 6338-6347
[Journal article]Authored by: Dickens, M.
Dickens, M., Chin, JE., Roth, RA., Ellis, L., Denton, RM., & Tavare, JM. (1992). Characterization of insulin-stimulated protein serine/threonine kinases in CHO cells expressing human insulin receptors with point and deletion mutations. Biochemical Journal. 287(1), 201-209
[Journal article]Authored by: Dickens, M.


Holland, S., Dickens, M., Wolber, ., heyes, ., & Rutherfurd, . (2017). Soluble factors released by MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells delay neutrophil apoptosis in vitro.. Poster session presented at the meeting of New Zealand Society for Oncology Conference
[Conference Poster]Authored by: Dickens, M., Heyes, J., Rutherfurd-Markwick, K., Wolber, F.
Holland, S., Dickens, M., Wolber, F., Heyes, J., & Rutherfurd, KJ. (2017). Soluble factors released by MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells delay neutrophil apoptosis in vitro.. Poster session presented at the meeting of NZ Med-Sci Congress, Queenstown, NZ
[Conference Poster]Authored by: Dickens, M., Heyes, J., Rutherfurd-Markwick, K., Wolber, F.Contributed to by: Rutherfurd-Markwick, K.

Supervision and Teaching

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Supervisor 1 0
CoSupervisor 2 0


194.101 Essentials of Mammalian Biology

194.241 Physiological Control Systems

194.242 Physiology of Mammalian Organ Systems

194.342 Cell Physiology

194.346 Control of Metabolism

194.350 Lifecycle Physiology

280.201 Industrial Microbiology

162.214 Biology of Microorganisms

141.111 Food Technology

228.111 Food Technology

247.392 Special Topic

Current Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • Rabindra Dhital - PhD
    The effect of dietary fatty acids on osteocyte-mediated mechanotransduction

CoSupervisor of:

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