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Tony Kettle

Principal Investigator
Research Professor

BSc(Hons) PhD(Otago) MSc(SFU) FRSNZ

Tel +64 3 364 0577

Research interests

For the past 25 years, we have probed the enzymology of myeloperoxidase (MPO). This haem protein gives pus and phlegm their characteristic green tinge. MPO produces chlorine bleach from hydrogen peroxide and common salt.

The knowledge from this work has helped us understand how white blood cells called neutrophils use MPO to kill bacteria. It has also revealed that chlorine bleach and free radicals contribute to inflammation.

We have shown that chlorine bleach promotes inflammatory tissue damage in cystic fibrosis, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular disease. In collaboration with AstraZeneca, we have also developed specific inhibitors of MPO that are potential anti-inflammatory drugs.

Current research topics


Cystic Fibrosis

Cycstic fibrosis and oxidative stress

Heart Disease

Plaque developing inside a blood vessel


Bacteria killing by neutrophils

Radical Reactions

Radical Reactions


Mechanisms of inhibition of myeloperoxidase


Biomarkers of hypochlorous acid

Public Health Lectures

In the media

Professor Kettle was interviewed for Radio New Zealand's Our Changing World series in October 2014.



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Inaugural Professorial Lectures

Tony Kettle delivers his Inaugural Professorial Lecture
Watch Prof. Kettle's Inaugural Professorial Lecture, Free Radicals spark the fires of inflammation, March 2013

A white blood cell hunting & phagocytosing E coli.


Swaminathan, A., Borichevsky, G. M., Frampton, C. M., Day, A. S., Hampton, M. B., Kettle, A. J., & Gearry, R. B. (2024). Comparison of fecal calprotectin and myeloperoxidase in predicting outcomes in inflammatory bowel disease. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1093/ibd/izae032 Journal - Research Article

Paumann-Page, M., Ashby, L. V., Khalilova, I., Magon, N. J., Hofbauer, S., Paton, L. N., … Kettle, A. J. (2023). Hypochlorous acid inactivates myeloperoxidase inside phagocytosing neutrophils. Redox Biochemistry & Chemistry, 5-6, 100008. doi: 10.1016/j.rbc.2023.100008 Journal - Research Article

Ashby, L. V., Flannery, M., Chua, I., & Kettle, A. J. (2023). Measuring oxidant production in phagosomes to identify abnormalities in neutrophil function. Free Radical Biology & Medicine, 201(Suppl. 1), (pp. 13). doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2023.03.072 Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Magon, N. J., Turner, R., Kettle, A. J., & Winterbourn, C. C. (2023). Cross-linking between cysteine and lysine, tryptophan or tyrosine in peptides and proteins treated with hypochlorous acid and other reactive halogens. Redox Biochemistry & Chemistry. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.rbc.2023.100002 Journal - Research Article

Kettle, A. J., Ashby, L. V., Winterbourn, C. C., & Dickerhof, N. (2023). Superoxide: The enigmatic chemical chameleon in neutrophil biology [Invited review]. Immunological Reviews, 314, 181-196. doi: 10.1111/imr.13183 Journal - Research Other

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