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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..


Waddell, O., Pearson, J., McCombie, A., Marshall, H., Purcell, R., Keenan, J., Glyn, T., & Frizelle, F. (2024). The incidence of early onset colorectal cancer in Aotearoa New Zealand: 2000–2020. BMC Cancer, 24, 456. doi: 10.1186/s12885-024-12122-y Journal - Research Article

Glyn, T., Williams, S., Whitehead, M., Eglinton, T., West, N., & Purcell, R. V. (2024). Digital spatial profiling identifies molecular changes involved in development of colitis-associated colorectal cancer. Frontiers in Oncology, 14, 1247106. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2024.1247106 Journal - Research Article

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 Journal - Research Article

Pearson, J., Waddell, O., McCombie, A., Marshall, H., Purcell, R., Keenan, J., Glyn, T., & Frizelle, F. (2023, November-December). The incidence of early-onset colorectal cancer in Aotearoa: 2000-2020. Verbal presentation at the International Biometric Society Australasian Region (IBS-AR) and the Statistical Ecology and Environmental Monitoring (SEEM) Joint Conference, Waitangi, New Zealand. Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

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 Journal - Research Article

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