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Research fellows at Genetics Otago

Mandy Phipps-Green

Assistant Research Fellow, Merriman Lab, Department of Biochemistry

Mandy Phipps-GreenMandy graduated from the University of Otago in 1999 with a BA(Hons) majoring in anthropology, and from the University of Auckland in 2003 with a MSc(Hons) in forensic biology.

After completing postgraduate study, Mandy worked as a senior forensic biology technician for Environmental Science and Research (ESR) in Auckland.

Mandy is now an assistant research fellow in Associate Professor Tony Merriman's research group, where she is studying the genetic causes of gout and rheumatoid arthritis. These 2 forms of arthritis collectively affect 3–4% of New Zealand's population.

Recent publications

Merriman, T., Dalbeth, N., Phipps-Green, A., Merriman, M., Topless, R., Gow, P., Harrison, A., Highton, J., Jones, P., Stamp, L., & Hollis-Moffatt, J. (2009). A strong role for the ABC-binding cassette G2(ABCG2) gene in susceptibility to gout in New Zealand Western Polynesian, but not Eastern Polynesian (Māori), cases and controls. Presented at ACR/ARHP Annual Scientific Meeting Philadephia, U.S.A, October 2009.

Phipps-Green, A. J., Topless, R. K., Merriman, M. E., Dalbeth, N., Gow, P. J., Harrison, A. A., Highton, J., Jones, P. B., Stamp, L. K., Harrison, P., Wordsworth, B. P., & Merriman, T. R. (2009). No evidence for association of the systemic lupus erythematosus-associated ITGAM variant, R77H, with rheumatoid arthritis in the Caucasian population. Rheumatology, Sep 11. [Epub ahead of print]

Hollis-Moffatt, J. E., Rowley, K. A., Phipps-Green, A. J., Merriman, M. E., Dalbeth, N., Gow, P. J., Harrison, A. A., Highton, J., Jones, P. B., Stamp, L. K., Harrison, P., Wordsworth, B. P., & Merriman, T. R. (2009). The ITGAV rs3738919 variant and susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis in four Caucasian sample sets. Arthritis Research & Therapy, 11, R152 doi:10.1186/ar2828

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Dr Kirsten Donald

Evolutionary Biology, Department of Zoology

Kirsten DonaldKirsten is a research fellow in the Department of Zoology. She is an evolutionary biologist who uses molecular genetic markers to address evolutionary questions concerning phylogenetics, taxonomy, biogeography, and host/parasite evolution amongst intertidal organisms.

Kirsten's current research includes studying co-evolution of New Zealand whelks (Cominella spp.) and their parasites, assembling a robust worldwide trochid phylogeny, and addressing questions on historical Mediterranean/Atlantic dispersal using the topshell genus Osilinus as a model organism.

Kirsten Donald's profile on the Department of Zoology website

Recent publications

Williams, S. T., Donald, K. M., Spencer, H. G., & Nakano, T. (2010). Molecular systematics of the marine gastropod families Trochidae and Calliostomatidae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 54(3), 783-809.

Leung, T. L. F., Donald, K. M., Keeney, D. B., Koehler, A. V., Peoples, R. C., & Poulin, R. (2009). Trematode parasites of Otago Harbour (New Zealand) soft-sediment intertidal ecosystems: Life cycles, ecological roles and DNA barcodes. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 43, 857–865.

Aniruddha Chatterjee

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Pathology

Aniruddha is originally from Berhampore (West Bengal, India) where he completed a Masters degree in Biotechnology with distinction. Following this, Annirudha came to the University of Otago where he commenced his PhD in epigenetics under the supervision of Professor Ian Morison in the Department of Pathology in November 2009.

Aniruddha’s PhD primarily focused on mapping the DNA methylation events in human genome from neutrophil cells and identify inter-individual epigenetic variation, which could be important for disease susceptibility and alerted phenotypic traits. During this time he took the lead role in developing a robust pipeline for analyzing large-scale DNA methylation data, which was of its first kind in New Zealand and lead to several appreciated publications.

Since completing his PhD, Annirudha has been appointed as post doctoral fellow in the Department of Pathology where he works with Professor Mike Eccles on documenting the consequences of epigenetic variation in humans as well as investigating the epigenetic origin of progression of melanoma disease.

For more information on Annirudha you can visit his personal website.


Chatterjee A, Rodger EJ, Stockwell PA, Le Mée G, Morison IM “Generating Multiple Base-resolution DNA Methylomes Using Reduced Representation Bisulfite Sequencing” Methods in Molecular Biology (Springer), Invited manuscript in submitted.

Chatterjee A, Yuichi O, Stockwell PA, Horsfiled JA, Morison IM & Nakagawa SN “Mapping the zebrafish brain methylome using reduced representation bisulfite sequencing” Epigenetics 8:9, 1–11; 2013. [Cover story in Epigenie].

Laskar A, Chatterjee A, Chatterjee S, Rodger EJ. “Three dimensional molecular modeling of a diverse range of SC clan serine proteases” Molecular Biology International, October (2012).

Chatterjee A* “Epigenetic regulation: from mechanism to intervention”. Epigenomics 4(5):1-4 (2012).

Chatterjee A, Rodger EJ, Stockwell PA, Weeks RJ, Morison IM. “Technical considerations for reduced representation bisulfite sequencing with multiplexed libraries” Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, October, volume 2012. [Key technical article in Epigenie, Customer success story by Agilent]

Laskar A, Rodger EJ, Chatterjee A “Modeling and structural analysis of PA clan serine proteases” BMC Research Notes. 24; 5(1):256 (2012).

Chatterjee A, Stockwell PA, Rodger EJ, Morison IM. “Comparison of alignment software for genome-wide bisulphite sequence data” Nucleic Acids Research. 40(10): e79 (2012). [Editors choice article –Genome web, February 2012. Most read article March, May 2012, NAR].

Chatterjee A, & Morison IM. “Monozygotic twins: genes are not the destiny?” Bioinformation. 7(7): 369-370 (2011).

Laskar A, Rodger EJ, Chatterjee A, Mandal C. “Modeling and structural analysis of evolutionarily diverse S8 family serine proteases” Bioinformation. 7(5): 239-245 (2011).

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