Red X iconGreen tick iconYellow tick icon

Contact Details

+64 3 479 7170
Department of Pathology (Dunedin)
Research summary
Epigenetics and genetics of blood disorders and development and laboratory haematology


Ian is a research haematologist, combining careers in diagnostic haematology and basic haematology research. His research interests include childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (epigenetics), epigenetics of development (IVF and placental), genomic imprinting, genetics of blood disorders, and others.

Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia

There is strong influence that environmental factors contribute to the incidence of childhood ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia). It is hypothesised that epigenetic events (DNA-methylation) contribute to the onset of ALL. Ian has used medium-throughput techniques to identify genes that are highly methylated leading to gene silencing in ALL. Functional studies are being performed to characterise candidate genes.

Epigenetics of Development

As a member of the National Research Centre for Growth and Development, Ian is determining the frequency with which epigenetic errors occur by children conceived by in vitro fertilisation.

The placenta appears to be more labile epigenetically than somatic tissues. The Centre is using high-throughput techniques to identify genes that are specifically methylated or unmethylated in the placenta and will determine the functional significance of this epigenetic change.

Genomic Imprinting

The Department of Pathology hosts and maintains the Catalogue of Parent of Origin Effects. This database is the most comprehensive database of parent of origin effects in animals. It includes documentation of all know imprinted genes in mammals.

Familial Thrombocytopenia

Linkage and mutation screening on a unique New Zealand family with thrombocytopenia, lead to the identification of the first reported mutation of human cytochrome c. This mutation enhances the activity of cytochrome c within the cell death pathway. By dysregulating platelet production in the bone marrow, the mutant protein causes premature release of platelets into the marrow space instead of into the circulation. In collaboration with Dr Liz Ledgerwood, Ian is characterising the biochemical mechanism of this pro-apoptotic cytochrome c.


Dunstan-Harrison, C., Morison, I. M., & Ledgerwood, E. C. (2024). Inherited thrombocytopenia associated with a variant in the FLI1 binding site in the 5' UTR of ANKRD26. Clinical Genetics. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/cge.14547 Journal - Research Article

Adriaansen, M. J., Morison, I. M., & Perry, H. E. (2024). Discrepancies between two D-dimer assays and impact on clinical decisions: A retrospective analysis of samples tested in community- and hospital-based laboratories in Auckland. New Zealand Medical Journal/Te ara tika o te hauora hapori, 137(1589), 12-19. Retrieved from Journal - Research Article

Powell, R. M., Moravec, J. C., Jones, G. T., Bhat, B., Lin, S. M., Planer, J. D., … Pattison, S., Morison, I. M., … Eccles, M. R., & Macaulay, E. C. (2024). DNA methylation profiling of heterogeneous sporadic LAM and matched lung tissue. American Journal of Respiratory Cell & Molecular Biology, 70(1), 81-84. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2023-0300LE Journal - Research Other

Ronayne, C., Morison, I., & Hancox, B. (2023). Looking through the lipid glass: Is everything as it seems? In T. Milne, M. Anwar, L. Burga, H. Harcombe, M. Garelja, A. Middleton, D. C. Ribeiro, N. Fleming, K. Ogbuehi & A. Bahn (Eds.), Proceedings of the 266th Otago Medical School Research Society (OMSRS) Meeting: Research Staff Speaker Awards. Dunedin, New Zealand: OMSRS. Retrieved from Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Dunnet, M. J., Ortega-Recalde, O. J., Waters, S. A., Weeks, R. J., Morison, I. M., & Hore, T. A. (2022). Leukocyte-specific DNA methylation biomarkers and their implication for pathological epigenetic analysis. Epigenetics Communications, 2, 5. doi: 10.1186/s43682-022-00011-z Journal - Research Article

Back to top