Group leader

Senior Lecturer

School of Biological Sciences

PhD students

Jennifer Soundy profile-picture photograph

Jennifer Soundy

New Zealand | Contact Jen

Development of DNA aptamers to Pseudomonas aeruginosa and their use to deliver nanosilver as a new anti-microbial approach

In 2017 the World Health Organisation ranked the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa as the second most significant threat to human health of all infectious organisms. This gram-negative bacterium is responsible for a wide variety of severe hospital-acquired infections and is intrinsically resistant to many antimicrobials.

We have isolated DNA aptamers that bind live P. aeruginosa that we have used as targeting agents to deliver medicinal nanosilver. We have conjugated aptamers with DNA scaffolds on which silver nanoclusters can form for the delivery of silver ions to the bacteria. We call these aptamer targeted antimicrobials ‘aptabiotics’ and are currently investigating their specificity and efficacy as a novel type of antimicrobial that circumvents conventional antibiotic resistance mechanisms.

Varun Venkatesh profile-picture photograph

Varun Venkatesh

New Zealand | Website | Contact Varun

Investigating the role of the apelinergic system in Glioblastoma

Glioblastoma is a highly debilitating brain cancer with a 12–14-month survival time. My research is exploring the apelinergic system, a peptide signalling system that has recently been shown to be an important factor in other cancers but has not been investigated in depth in glioblastoma. I hopes to shed some light on the potential roles of this system within the cancer.


Dr Tinte Itinteang

2012 | Haemangioma: A Study of the Biology

Dr Ryan Steel

2011 | Relating Neurochemical Changes Associated with THC Use to Learning and Memory in Adolescent Rats

Dr Sandi Dempsey

2009 | Developing a Cell Based Screen for Inhibitors of Two Component Signal Transduction in Mycobacteria

Dr Tim Sargeant

2008 | The Effect of Opiates on the Developing Cerebral Cortex

Dr Anasuya Vishvanath

2008 | The Molecular Pathogenesis of Haemangioma