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Gabi Dachs

Research Professor

BSc PhD(Cape Town)

Tel +64 3 364 0544


Professor Gabi Dachs completed her undergraduate and PhD studies in Cape Town, South Africa, followed by postdoctoral work at the MRC Harwell in the United Kingdom.

Prior to joining the University of Otago in Christchurch, Professor Dachs worked as senior scientist at the Gray Cancer Institute in London, UK.

Research interests

Professor Gabi Dachs is interested in why human tumours are difficult to treat, and in new ways of treating them.

Current research interests at present include:

  • Can we dampen the activity of the global transcription factor HIF-1 using vitamin C? Can we reduce tumour growth in mice using vitamin C? Can we increase vitamin C in cancer cells using gene therapy? What is the relationship between ascorbate and HIF-1 in tumours from kidney cancer patients?
  • Why do obese cancer patients often fare worse than non-obese patients? Can we identify the molecular factors associated with obesity in cancer? What effect do these obesity-related factors have on chemotherapy?
  • Which human enzymes are responsible for the activation of novel anticancer prodrugs (in collaboration with Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre)? Can this knowledge guide clinical use of these agents?
  • Can we improve gene directed enzyme prodrug therapy combinations to target solid tumours or their vasculature?

In the media

Professor Gabi Dachs was featured in Radio New Zealand's The Science Of... Vitamin C in August 2017.

Indications of cancer aggression

Cancer aggression - proliferation of tumour cellsTumor cell proliferation

Cancer aggression - tumour vascularityTumor vascularity

Cancer aggression - tumour hypoxiaTumor hypoxia

Impact of Vitamin C

(With E Campbell)

Increased levels of vitamin C (ascorbate) in tumours is associated with slower tumour growth
Increased levels of vitamin C (ascorbate) in tumours is associated with slower tumour growth.

Increased levels of dietary vitamin C are associated with reduced levels of HIF-1
Increased levels of dietary vitamin C are associated with reduced levels of HIF-1.


Topham, B., de Vries, M., Nonis, M., van Berkel, R., Pullar, J. M., Magon, N. J., Vissers, M. C. M., Currie, M. J., Robinson, B. A., Gibbs, D., Ang, A., & Dachs, G. U. (2024). Blood vitamin C levels of patients receiving immunotherapy and relationship to monocyte subtype and epigenetic modification. Epigenomes, 8, 17. doi: 10.3390/epigenomes8020017 Journal - Research Article

Praditi, C., Dachs, G., Bozonet, S., Pearson, J. A., Wiggins, G., & Vissers, M. (2023). The role of ascorbate in the activation of hypoxic response in breast cancer cell lines. Proceedings of the New Zealand Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (NZSBMB) 50th Anniversary Conference. Retrieved from Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Praditi, C., Bozonet, S. M., Dachs, G. U., & Vissers, M. C. M. (2023). Ascorbate uptake and retention by breast cancer cell lines and the intracellular distribution of sodium-dependent vitamin C transporter 2. Antioxidants, 12, 1929. doi: 10.3390/antiox12111929 Journal - Research Article

de Vries, M., Stewart, T., Ireton, T., Keelan, K., Jordan, J., Robinson, B. A., & Dachs, G. U. (2023). Patients’ and carers’ priorities for cancer research in Aotearoa/New Zealand. PLoS ONE, 18(8), e0290321. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0290321 Journal - Research Article

Dachs, G. (2023, May). Scatterlings: Cancer research across continents and time. University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand. [Inaugural Professorial Lecture]. Other Research Output

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