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School of Fundamental Sciences staff - biochemistry, biotechnology and biomedical science

Within the School of Fundamental Sciences, this research grouping utilises genetics, molecular and cellular biology, protein biochemistry and microbiology to understand biological systems and human disease. Areas of research include human genetic disorders, vaccine development, phage display technologies, cancer, fertility and neuroscience.

Our main teaching responsibilities are within the Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry programme (College of Science), both at the undergraduate level and the postgraduate level with research-based teaching.

Head of Group

  • Dr Tracy Hale

    Dr Tracy Hale

    Group Leader - School of Fundamental Sciences

    Email:

    I'm a cellular and molecular biologist whose research interests are focussed on chromatin biology and its dysfunction during tumorigenesis.  Present research within my laboratory investigates the functional organisation of the genome within the nucleus, specifically the role of Heterochromatin Protein 1α, guanine quadruplex (G4) assemblies and histone H1 in mediating the partitioning of chromatin into domains of highly compacted heterochromatin .   Also under investigation in the laboratory, is how the alter organisation of heterochromatin organisation, observed during tumorigensis, alters nuclear integrity thus contributing to the malignant phenotype.

 

Principal investigators

  • Prof Kathryn Stowell

    Prof Kathryn Stowell

    Professor in Biochemistry - School of Fundamental Sciences

    Email:

    I am a biochemist with a background in human physiological biochemistry, protein biochemistry and regulation of gene expression. My research interests turned towards molecular genetics with a focus on the underlying causes of Malignant Hyperthermia in humans, but I remain a biochemist at heart. I work closely with anaesthetists at Palmerston North hospital on DNA analysis for Malignant Hyperthermia and calcium homeostasis in skeletal muscle. I run a research laboratory as well as an IANZ accredited diagnostic laboratory for Malignant Hyperthermia and teach a range of subjects including DNA structure, function and analysis, metabolic biochemistry and regulation of gene expression.

  • Associate Professor Jasna Rakonjac

    Associate Professor Jasna Rakonjac

    Associate Professor - School of Fundamental Sciences

    Email:

    Filamentous phage assembly and replication, phage display application in bionanotechnology and antibacterial development are the dominant activities in my laboratory.

  • Associate Professor Evelyn Sattlegger

    Associate Professor Evelyn Sattlegger

    Associate Professor in Metabolic Biochemistry - School of Fundamental Sciences

    Email:

    EXPERTISE and INTERESTS
    >>  Basic Biomedical Research aimed at understanding the molecular mechanisms occurring in a healthy organism, how diseases and disorders develop, and how they can be prevented or treated.  For example, we have recently discovered promising new anti-cancer drug leads  We apply a variety of techniques in the fields of Molecular Biology/Genetics, Genetics, Cell Biology, to Biochemistry, Biotechnology
    >>  Applying molecular techniques in Food Microbiology, e.g. to detect disease-causing bacteria.
    >>
     Teach and mentor undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral students, and emerging researchers

  • Associate Professor Andrew Sutherland-Smith

    Associate Professor Andrew Sutherland-Smith

    Associate Professor - School of Fundamental Sciences

    Email:

    My research interests are in protein structure & function, biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology. My lab is particularly focused on understanding the relationship of protein structure to protein function, and the implications of this relationship in both biomedical and evolutionary contexts. My teaching contributions are into the BSc (biochemistry and genetics) and BVSc programs. Before taking a faculty position at Massey University I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge UK.

  • Dr Helen Fitzsimons

    Dr Helen Fitzsimons

    Senior Lecturer - School of Fundamental Sciences

    I am a molecular geneticist with a background in molecular biology, genetics and neuroscience. My current research program is focused on the molecular processes that are required for formation and storage of memory, and how their disruption can lead to neurological disease. My teaching contributions include DNA structure and function, gene expression and developmental genetics within the BSc program.

  • Dr Dragana Gagic

    Dr Dragana Gagic

    Senior Lecturer in Microbiology - School of Fundamental Sciences

    General and enviromental microbiology researcher and PI with independent research programme in microbial ecology, metagenomics, host-microbial interactions and bacteriophage-related technologies. 

  • Dr Tracy Hale

    Dr Tracy Hale

    Group Leader - School of Fundamental Sciences

    I'm a cellular and molecular biologist whose research interests are focussed on chromatin biology and its dysfunction during tumorigenesis.  Present research within my laboratory investigates the functional organisation of the genome within the nucleus, specifically the role of Heterochromatin Protein 1α, guanine quadruplex (G4) assemblies and histone H1 in mediating the partitioning of chromatin into domains of highly compacted heterochromatin .   Also under investigation in the laboratory, is how the alter organisation of heterochromatin organisation, observed during tumorigensis, alters nuclear integrity thus contributing to the malignant phenotype.

  • Dr Matthew Savoian

    Dr Matthew Savoian

    Senior Lecturer - School of Fundamental Sciences

    Director - Manawatu Microscopy and Imaging Centre (MMIC) - School of Fundamental Sciences

    I am Director of the MMIC, Massey's imaging facility and a cell biologist. My laboratory is interested in understanding the molecular basis of male fertility. Specifically we focus on two fundamental processes, how chromosomes are accurately segregated during meiosis and the cellular events underlying sperm development. To investigate these we employ the Drosophila melanogaster fruit flymodel system and a multidisciplinary approach that combines quantitative live and fixed cell cell microscopy with molecular genetics and additional complementary imaging and analytical techniques.

Research officers

  • Dr Anja Schiemann

    Dr Anja Schiemann

    Research Officer - School of Fundamental Sciences

    Email:

    I’m a molecular biologist with a research interest in calcium dysregulation in skeletal muscle, specifically Malignant Hyperthermia. My focus at the moment is on determining the impact of variants in the human gene coding for the major skeletal muscle calcium release channel (RYR1) on calcium homeostasis .

Research technicians

  • Dr Mai Bayarjargal

    Dr Mai Bayarjargal

    Research Technician in Cell Biology - School of Fundamental Sciences

    Email:

  • Trevor Loo

    Trevor Loo

    Mass Spectrometry Facility Manager - School of Fundamental Sciences

    Email:

  • Rowane Lyver

    Rowane Lyver

    Quality Manager/Diagnostic and Research Technician - School of Fundamental Sciences

    Email:

  • Dr Ningxin Zhang

    Dr Ningxin Zhang

    Research Technician - School of Fundamental Sciences

    Email:

Senior Tutors

  • Dr Rosemary Brown

    Dr Rosemary Brown

    Senior Tutor in Biochemistry and Genetics - School of Fundamental Sciences

    Email:

  • Dr Rose Motion

    Dr Rose Motion

    Senior Tutor - School of Fundamental Sciences

    Email: