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Research overview

Toxicological/cancer research in my laboratory involves the identification of both novel treatments for triple negative breast cancer and hormone refractory prostate cancer. In conjunction with Associate Professor Bill Hawkins from the Department of Chemistry, we are synthesizing novel 2nd generation derivatives of curcumin and examining their activity in both in vitro and in vivo models of breast cancer. Collaborations with Greg Kennedy from the University of Wisconsin have expanded our examination of these drugs into colon cancer. Collaborations with Dr Khaled Greish have provided an opportunity to increase the tumor targeting ability of our drugs by utilizing nanomiceller drug delivery. We are also studying mechanisms which drive cancer cells translation with Dr Andrew Cridge (Biochemistry Department). Grants from NZBCF, Otago Medical Research Foundation and University of Otago Research Grant fund our work. Recent PhD graduates have taken up Research Fellow positions at Ludwig Cancer Institute and the Children's Cancer Institute of Australia. Recent MSc graduates have taken up PhD positions in Korea and Europe or have entered Medical School.

Rosengren Group

Professor Rhonda Rosengren Group, back row from left to right, Nensi Shrestha, Risha Singh, Professor Rhonda Rosengren, Shuli Chen. Front row from left to right, Mayur Azam and Orleans Martey

Postdoctural Fellow

Dr Rebekah (Beks) Bower

Assistant Research Fellow

Mhairi Nimick

Current students

PhD Students

  • Orleans Martey
  • Nensi Shrestha
  • Risha Singh

MSc Student

  • Mayur Azam

Former students



BBiomedSc (Hons)


  • Monica Archibald (2014)
    • Use of tyrosine kinase inhibitors in cancer via combination therapy within SMA micelles
  • Olivia Thame (2014)
    • SMA-RL71 as a nanomedicine for metastatic breast cancer

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