Dr Ian Sims

Dr Ian Sims profile picture

Principal Scientist Ferrier Research Institute


Dr Ian Sims leads the group of chemists and biologists at the Ferrier Research Institute who specialise in analysing complex carbohydrate structures.

“We do a huge variety of work here and offer a commercial polysaccharide analysis service that is quite sought-after. People come to us from all around the world to find out what their samples actually contain.”

The team works collaboratively with researchers in New Zealand and overseas.

“We often combine our analytical skills with the expertise of biologists and immumologists, which gets us involved in the most interesting research projects. I always look for collaborators who can complement the expertise we have here.”

Ian is investigating the metabolism of complex carbohydrates by gut bacteria in on-going projects with biologists at the University of Otago and Plant & Food Research.

“Monitoring the degradation of complex carbohydrate mixtures and quantifying the changes we see in beneficial gut microbes is critical to understanding the biological responses of gut epithelial cells, which are important for good health.”

Ian started out studying plant biology and has a PhD from the University of Wales, but did most of his practical work at the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research in Aberystwyth. He spent six years at the Botany School in Melbourne before coming to New Zealand.

Ian is often seen riding a bike. “I’ve been a cyclist most of my life. I bike to work most days and have done everything in the sport really—touring, racing and mountain biking. We now ride tandem with our children (one with my wife and one with me) but as they get older they like to ride their own bikes.”


View Ian's publications on Google Scholar.