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Dr Michelle Thunders thumbnailBSc (Hons) Human Genetics (UCL), PhD Human Genetics (UCL)

Tel +64 4 918 5740

Michelle Thunders is a Senior Lecturer in Pathology and Molecular Medicine currently working at the University of Otago, Wellington in the Department of Pathology. She obtained both a BSc (Hons) and PhD in Human Genetics from University College London and has worked in a variety of academic institutions in the UK and in NZ. She is a strong believer in inclusive genetics education and making knowledge accessible, actionable and meaningful to all. Her research interests are in the analysis of sequencing data, both RNA and DNA, to understand health, risk and disease pathogenesis at a molecular level. She is interested in epigenomic biomarkers relative to assessing human health and disease, specifically DNA methylation and whether stressors we are exposed to, both physical and psychological, can have a legacy effect on subsequent generations. This potentially has profound implications in terms of how we assess heritability of disease, health equity and disease risk. Michelle has been using the earthworm as a model organism to explore this hypothesis and over the last two years built up a research network including PhD students and collaborators at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Michelle is currently co-supervising three PhD students.


Kenwright, D., Kuruppu, N., Cornwall, J., Print, C., Lindt, T., Grainger, R., & Thunders, M. (2023). A Delphi consensus exercise to determine a genetics and genomics curriculum for primary medical degree in Aotearoa New Zealand. Focus on Health Professional Education, 24(4), 24-36. doi: 10.11157/fohpe.v24i4.653

Chinn, V., Neely, E., Shultz, S., Kruger, R., Hughes, R., Page, R., … Thunders, M. (2023). Next level health: A holistic health and wellbeing program to empower New Zealand women. Health Promotion International, 38, daab205. doi: 10.1093/heapro/daab205

He, Z., Wilson, A., Rich, F., Kenwright, D., Stevens, A., Low, Y. S., & Thunders, M. (2023). Chromosomal instability and its effect on cell lines. Cancer Reports, e1822. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/cnr2.1822

Wu, Y., Deng, S., Wang, X., Thunders, M., Qiu, J., & Li, Y. (2023). Discovery and mechanism of action of a novel antimicrobial peptide from an earthworm. Microbiology Spectrum, 11(1). doi: 10.1128/spectrum.03206-22

Wang, Y., Li, Y., Geng, H., Zuo, Q., Thunders, M., & Qiu, J. (2023). Effect of arsenite on the proteome of earthworms Eisenia fetida. Soil Ecology Letters, 5(1), 181-194. doi: 10.1007/s42832-021-0126-y

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