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Research at the Otago Department of Biochemistry

The Department of Biochemistry is at the forefront of research and innovation in a diverse range of fields. We use basic, curiosity-driven research to understand the underlying processes behind life. Research groups use genetics, chemistry, and molecular and cellular biology to study a range of organisms including plants, humans and other animals, through to bacteria and viruses. This knowledge provides a scientific foundation for us to develop new technologies in medicine, biotechnology and agriculture. Our research findings are published in high-impact journals, translated into commercial applications, and often feature in the popular press.

Research interests in the Department fall into three broad categories:

Picking aphids

Biodiversity and agricultural productivity

Investigating the genetics and biochemistry of plants and other species to enhance agricultural productivity.

Cancer gene sequencing

Diagnostics, therapeutics, and biotechnology

Translating research into how diseases work at the molecular and genetic level into new treatments or diagnostics.

Two students working in a lab

Genetic and molecular basis of disease

Understanding how disease occurs using molecular genetics, bioinformatics, protein structural biology and cell biology techniques.

Our students benefit directly from the high-quality research we produce. World-class faculty provide an environment that sharpens minds and fosters curiosity, while being collegial and supportive. Our graduates are highly respected around the world in many different careers.

Many of our research projects are carried out in collaboration with other leading universities and research institutes all over the world.

Department faculty are also very successful in attracting research funding from a range of sources, including the Marsden Fund, Crown Research Institutes, the Health Research Council of New Zealand, and the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment.