Principal InvestigatorPhD (Otago) MSc(Hons) (Canterbury)
Mark Hampton is a professor at the Department of Pathology and Biomedical Science on the University of Otago, Christchurch campus, and director of Mātai Hāora - Centre for Redox Biology and Medicine .
He completed his undergraduate and PhD studies in New Zealand before taking up postdoctoral positions at the Karolinksa Institute in Sweden and Harvard in the USA. He subsequently returned to the University of Otago where he was promoted to a professorial role in 2013.
Oxidants (also called reactive oxygen species or free radicals) are continuously generated in our body, and we rely on sophisticated antioxidant systems to prevent them from causing damage. However, oxidants also have beneficial roles. They can act as signalling molecules that regulate a number of life and death pathways in cells, and they are generated by the immune system to fight microbes. Prof Hampton's research is focused on how understanding how cells sense and respond to oxidants, and how these pathways might be modulated to prevent and treat human disease.
In the early stages of Professor Hampton's career he investigated the role that neutrophil oxidants play in killing phagocytosed microbes. His interests then broadened to the impact of these oxidants on neighbouring cells during inflammation, and the controlled generation of oxidants by other cells during normal metabolism.
Professor Hampton's current projects include investigations of the ability of oxidants generated by the innate immune system to regulate epigenetic and cell death pathways; how the disruption of redox homeostasis can promote the killing of cancer cells and pathogenic microbes; and how oxidative stress is associated with the biological processes underlying human ageing.