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Contact Details

+64 3 479 9254
Associate Professor
Department of Oral Sciences
BSc(Hons) PhD
Research summary
Microbial genetics, next-generation DNA sequencing technology and bioinformatics
  • First-Year Coordinator (Bachelor of Oral Health)
  • Paper coordinator DEOH101, DEOH102, DTEC103 and DENT581
  • BDS(Honours) Programme Coordinator
  • Member of the University of Otago Institutional Biological Safety Committee (IBSC)
  • Primary professional society is the New Zealand Microbiological Society


Nick's research expertise is in the field of molecular microbiology specialising in the following areas:

  • The use of next-generation DNA sequencing (NGS) technology (and associated bioinformatic strategies) for microbial genomics (whole-genome sequencing)
  • The use of NGS to investigate changes in oral microbial populations in relation to health and disease, and
  • Biochemical and genetic characterisation of antimicrobial proteins (bacteriocins) produced by oral bacteria, mainly members of the genus Streptococcus

Nick's current research activities include whole-genome sequencing, oral metagenomics (characterisation of the oral microbiota in health and disease), and bioinformatic analyses, all in relation to oral biology.


Christophers, M., Heng, L., & Heng, N. (2023). Nisin E, a new nisin variant produced by Streptococcus equinus MDC1. Applied Sciences, 13, 1186. doi: 10.3390/app13021186 Journal - Research Article

Seymour, G. J., Cullinan, M. P., Heng, N. C. K., & Cooper, P. R. (Eds.). (2023). Oral biology: Molecular techniques and applications: Methods in molecular biology (Vol. 2588) (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Springer, 528p. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-2780-8 Edited Book - Research

Heng, N. C. K., & Stanton, J.-A. L. (2023). The long and short of genome sequencing: Using a hybrid sequencing strategy to sequence oral microbial genomes. In G. J. Seymour, M. P. Cullinan, N. C. K. Heng & P. R. Cooper (Eds.), Oral biology: Molecular techniques and applications: Methods in molecular biology (Vol. 2588). (3rd ed.) (pp. 75-89). New York, NY: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-2780-8_6 Chapter in Book - Research

Heng, N., Stanton, J.-A., & Tompkins, G. (2022). The genetic basis of bacteriocin STH2 resistance in Streptococcus mitis I18. New Zealand Dental Journal, 118(4), (pp. 176). [Abstract] Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Benn, A. M. L., Heng, N. C. K., Thomson, W. M., & Broadbent, J. M. (2022). Plaque and dental caries risk in mid-life. Caries Research, 56, 464-476. doi: 10.1159/000527255 Journal - Research Article

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