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Rachel PurcellSenior Research Fellow

BSc(Hons)(Cork) MSc(Hons)(PIC) PhD(Otago)


Rachel is a Senior Research Fellow with the Department of Surgery. She has a background in molecular biology and cancer genetics.

Her research is centred on the molecular mechanisms of pathogenic bacteria in colorectal carcinogenesis.

Rachel's current research projects include investigating the effect of the gut microbiome on radiotherapy response in rectal cancer, microbiome-based markers of diverticular disease and molecular classification of colorectal cancer..


Ajithkumar, P., Gimenez, G., Stockwell, P. A., Almomani, S., Bowden, S. A., Leichter, A. L., … Pattison, S., … Frizelle, F. A., Eccles, M. R., Purcell, R. V., Rodger, E. J., & Chatterjee, A. (2024). DNA methylome and transcriptome maps of primary colorectal cancer and matched liver metastasis. Data, 9(1), 8. doi: 10.3390/data9010008

Sulit, A. K., Daigneault, M., Allen-Vercoe, E., Silander, O. K., Hock, B., McKenzie, J., Pearson, J., Frizelle, F. A., Schmeier, S., & Purcell, R. (2023). Bacterial lipopolysaccharide modulates immune response in the colorectal tumor microenvironment. npj Biofilms & Microbiomes, 9, 59. doi: 10.1038/s41522-023-00429-w

Kolisnik, T., Sulit, A. K., Schmeier, S., Frizelle, F., Purcell, R., Smith, A., & Silander, O. (2023). Identifying important microbial and genomic biomarkers for differentiating right- versus left-sided colorectal cancer using random forest models. BMC Cancer, 23, 647. doi: 10.1186/s12885-023-10848-9

Purcell, R., Sulit, A., & Frizelle, F. (2023). The influence of the microbiome on the tumour-immune microenvironment in colorectal cancer. Annals of Oncology, 34(Suppl. 1), SO-23. doi: 10.1016/j.annonc.2023.04.495

Purcell, R., Sulit, A., & Frizelle, F. (2023). Immune cell and microbiome contributions to radiotherapy response in rectal cancer. Annals of Oncology, 34(Suppl. 1), P-67 . doi: 10.1016/j.annonc.2023.04.123

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