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Nina Dickerhof imagePrincipal Investigator
Senior Research Fellow MSc(Germany) PhD(Otago)

Tel +64 3 364 0568

Research interests

My research focuses on understanding how the immune system uses oxidants to combat bacteria; and how bacteria evade these oxidants.

We have discovered critical antioxidant systems in Streptococcus pneumoniae that enable this major human pathogen to overcome oxidative killing by the immune system. We are investigating how these pneumococcal antioxidant systems work at the molecular level using biophysical, structural and mutational studies. Our aim is to uncover strategies for disarming bacterial antioxidant defences to bolster the immune system's ability to eradicate invading pathogens.

We are also investigating the flip side of immune-derived oxidants: Their ability to cause tissue damage and chronic inflammation. By finding markers of oxidative tissue damage, we aim to offer more precise tools for detecting and addressing inflammation.


Shearer, H. L., Currie, M. J., Agnew, H. N., Trappetti, C., Stull, F., Pace, P. E., … Dobson, R. C. J., & Dickerhof, N. (2024). Hypothiocyanous acid reductase is critical for host colonization and infection by Streptococcus pneumoniae. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 107282. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.jbc.2024.107282 Journal - Research Article

Blake, T. L., Sly, P. D., Anderson, I., Wainwright, C. E., Reid, D. W., Bell, S. C., Smith, B. R., Kettle, A. J., & Dickerhof, N. (2024). Changes in urinary glutathione sulfonamide (GSA) levels between admission and discharge of patients with cystic fibrosis. Journal of Cystic Fibrosis. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.jcf.2024.04.009 Journal - Research Other

Shearer, H. L., Pace, P. E., Smith, L. M., Fineran, P. C., Matthews, A. J., Camilli, A., Dickerhof, N., & Hampton, M. B. (2023). Identification of Streptococcus pneumoniae genes associated with hypothiocyanous acid tolerance through genome-wide screening. Journal of Bacteriology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1128/jb.00208-23 Journal - Research Article

Shearer, H. L., Loi, V. V., Weiland, P., Bange, G., Altegoer, F., Hampton, M. B., … Dickerhof, N. (2023). MerA functions as a hypothiocyanous acid reductase and defense mechanism in Staphylococcus aureus. Molecular Microbiology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/mmi.15035 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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