Our research focuses on diseases, particularly on the mechanisms of disease development and diagnosis. This includes a diverse range of diseases processes including infectious diseases, cancer, toxicities, nutritional diseases, and genetic diseases.

Additionally, our research encompasses disease processes in a wide range of species including cats, dogs, cattle, sheep, horses, pigs, fish, laboratory animals, terrestrial wildlife species, and marine mammals. Researchers also are involved in numerous collaborative projects in which they provide expertise in histopathology support and interpretation, developing methods to quantify disease severity, and study design for industry research.

Our expertise


This group includes four pathologists that are Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Pathology. This is a qualification that has worldwide recognition of being the highest standard obtainable by a veterinary pathologist. The presence of numerous pathologists with this qualification makes the pathobiology group unique in the Southern Hemisphere in the breadth and depth of histopathology skill. These skills are able to be applied to the evaluation of tissues from a broad spectrum of research projects involving a wide range of animal species.

Oncologic pathology

Research by the group is investigating both the cause of cancer as well as methods to try to predict the behaviour of cancers. The oncology research by the group involves many different cancer types with cancers of cats, dogs, and horses all currently being actively researched. Researchers from this group are also skilled in the assessment of many animal models of human cancers.

Genetic disease research

The majority of genetic disease research involves diseases of production animals. However, more recently genetic diseases of companion animals have also been included in the research scope. The Massey Pathobiology group has collaborations with researchers in North America and we have expertise in the latest sequencing and genetic analysis technologies.

Wildlife pathology

Pathobiology researchers are heavily involved in diseases of wildlife both independently and in collaboration with the Department of Conservation and with the Wildbase group at Massey University.


The Pathobiology group has a strong aquaculture focus with group members having expertise both in finfish as well as shellfish species. The group is also to provide a global research perspective with experts in physiology, developmental biology, and pathology.

Laboratory animal pathology

Due to the large number of pathologists in the Pathobiology group we are uniquely placed to offer histological consultancy services for studies involving laboratory animals. Members of the group have been involved in numerous studies with mice, rats, guinea pigs, and rabbits and have investigated problems as diverse as cancer progression, intestinal barrier function, toxicology, and wound healing.

Toxicology research

The Pathobiology group contains a dedicated veterinary toxicologist who is available to consult with industry partners. There is also a strong toxicology research theme within the group with current investigations of suspected dietary toxins both in ruminants and in companion animals.


The group includes a dedicated histology laboratory that has two full-time staff and is able to cut and stain slides to a high standard. The laboratory is well designed for rapid turn-around of standard histological techniques, but is also able to develop protocols for less routine histological methods if required. The laboratory also has the ability to develop immunohistochemistry or in situ hybridization protocols if required.


The Pathobiology group has a strong research interest in the immunological response to infectious agents, especially the higher bacteria such as Mycobacteria. This group is involved in pioneering research investigating novel vaccines and is also currently researching a potential vaccine to prevent cancer in horses.  

Molecular biology

The Pathobiology group has a dedicated laboratory for performing molecular biology techniques to investigate the presence of DNA within a sample, to sequence DNA from cases, and to look for gene expression within a sample. Many of the techniques developed can be used with formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues making it possible to perform retrospective studies of archived material. These techniques are currently being used mainly to detect the presence of infectious agents within samples and to investigate the specific defects that cause genetic diseases of domestic animals.

Companion animal pathology

Massey Pathobiology has many research projects involving companion animals. These include both surveys of disease prevalence as well as investigations of neoplastic, genetic, and infectious diseases. Massey Pathobiology has a strong clinical pathology interest and is currently conducting studies aimed at refining clinical pathological diagnoses in companion animals.

Ruminant pathology

In addition to numerous diagnostic-based projects involving ruminants, the Massey Pathobiology group has particular interests in diseases that result in photosensitivity, diseases due to plant-based toxins, and bone diseases of ruminants. Immunology to prevent ruminant diseases is also a strong research focus of this group.

Equine pathology

The Massey Pathobiology group is currently investigating both bone disease and neoplastic disease in horses.


  • Prof John Munday

    Prof John Munday

    Professor in Veterinary Pathobiology - School of Veterinary Science

Key contact

  • Prof John Munday

    Prof John Munday

    Professor in Veterinary Pathobiology - School of Veterinary Science


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