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

TEL +64 4 918 5740
Email michelle.thunders@otago.ac.nz

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.

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Publications

Thunders, M., Chinn, V., Bilewitch, J., & Stockwell, P. (2018). Identification of potential 'lifestyle-responsive' epigenomic biomarkers in healthy women aged 18-40. Biomarkers, 23(5), 453-461. doi: 10.1080/1354750x.2018.1443512

Lu, X., Li, Y., Thunders, M., Matthew, C., Wang, X., Ai, X., … Qiu, J. (2018). Effect of enrofloxacin on the proteome of earthworms. Science of the Total Environment. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.10.275

Li, Y., Jiang, M., Thunders, M., Ai, X., & Qiu, J. (2018). Effect of enrofloxacin and roxarsone on CYP450s in pig. Research in Veterinary Science, 117, 97-98. doi: 10.1016/j.rvsc.2017.11.014

Thunders, M., Cavanagh, J., & Li, Y. (2017). De novo transcriptome assembly, functional annotation and differential gene expression analysis of juvenile and adult E. fetida, a model oligochaete used in ecotoxicological studies. Biological Research, 50, 7. doi: 10.1186/s40659-017-0114-y

Peng, C., Tang, L., Tan, X., Li, Y., Wang, X., Ai, X., … Thunders, M., & Qiu, J. (2017). Heavy metal fractionation after application of fermented sludge to soil and its effect on Sedum lineare. Fresenius Environmental Bulletin, 26(1-A), 810-822.

Journal - Research Article

Thunders, M., Chinn, V., Bilewitch, J., & Stockwell, P. (2018). Identification of potential 'lifestyle-responsive' epigenomic biomarkers in healthy women aged 18-40. Biomarkers, 23(5), 453-461. doi: 10.1080/1354750x.2018.1443512

Lu, X., Li, Y., Thunders, M., Matthew, C., Wang, X., Ai, X., … Qiu, J. (2018). Effect of enrofloxacin on the proteome of earthworms. Science of the Total Environment. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.10.275

Thunders, M., Cavanagh, J., & Li, Y. (2017). De novo transcriptome assembly, functional annotation and differential gene expression analysis of juvenile and adult E. fetida, a model oligochaete used in ecotoxicological studies. Biological Research, 50, 7. doi: 10.1186/s40659-017-0114-y

Peng, C., Tang, L., Tan, X., Li, Y., Wang, X., Ai, X., … Thunders, M., & Qiu, J. (2017). Heavy metal fractionation after application of fermented sludge to soil and its effect on Sedum lineare. Fresenius Environmental Bulletin, 26(1-A), 810-822.

Thomas, J. A., Wadsworth, D., Jin, Y., Clarke, J., Page, R., & Thunders, M. (2017). Engagement with online self-tests as a predictor of student success. Higher Education Research & Development, 36(5), 1061-1071. doi: 10.1080/07294360.2016.1263827

Dharmadasa, P., Kim, N., & Thunders, M. (2017). Maternal cadmium exposure and impact on foetal gene expression through methylation changes. Food & Chemical Toxicology, 109(Part 1), 714-720. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2017.09.002

Lu, X., Li, Y., Thunders, M., Cavanagh, J., Matthew, C., Wang, X., … Qiu, J. (2017). Differential protein expression and localization of CYP450 enzymes in three species of earthworm: Is this a reflection of environmental adaptation? Chemosphere, 171, 485-490. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2016.12.052

van Wissen, K., Thunders, M., Mcbride-Henry, K., Ward, M., Krebs, J., & Page, R. (2017). Cardiovascular disease and prediabetes as complex illness: People's perspectives. Nursing Inquiry, 24, e12177. doi: 10.1111/nin.12177

Thunders, M. (2015). Epigenetics: Its understanding is crucial to a sustainable healthcare system. Healthcare, 3(2), 194-204. doi: 10.3390/healthcare3020194

Thunders, M., Jin, Y., Clarke, J., Wadsworth, D., Thomas, J., & Page, R. (2014). Words and pictures: Back to basics for effective learning in the health sciences. International Journal of Research in Education Methodology, 5(3), 673-679.

Somdee, T., Thunders, M., Ruck, J., Lys, I., Allison, M., & Page, R. (2013). Degradation [Dha7]MC-LR by a microcystin degrading bacterium isolated from Lake Rotoiti, New Zealand. ISRN Microbiology, 2013, 596429. doi: 10.1155/2013/596429

Holmes, C., McCulley, M., Nicoll, J. A. R., Alder, J. T., Chen, C. P. L.-H., & Francis, P. T. (2007). Genetic variation in the 5-HT2A receptor and altered neocortical [3H] ketanserin binding in Alzheimer's disease. Neuroscience Letters, 420(1), 58-60. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2007.04.009

Holmes, C., Ballard, C., Lehmann, D., Smith, D. A., Beaumont, H., Day, I. N., … McCulley, M., … Warden, D. (2005). Rate of progression of cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease: Effect of butyrylcholinesterase K gene variation. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, 76(5), 640-643. doi: 10.1136/jnnp.2004.039321

McCulley, M. C., Day, I. N. M., & Holmes, C. (2004). Association between interleukin 1-β promoter (-511) polymorphism and depressive symptoms in Alzheimer's disease. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B, 124 B(1), 50-53. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.b.20086

Wolfe, J., Jeremiah, S., Young, J., Burley, M. W., Stewart, H., McCulley, M., … Povey, S. (1997). Mapping ESTs to the TSC1 candidate interval by use of the ‘Science 96’ transcript map. Annals of Human Genetics, 61(5), 401-409. doi: 10.1046/j.1469-1809.1997.6150401.x

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Journal - Research Other

Li, Y., Jiang, M., Thunders, M., Ai, X., & Qiu, J. (2018). Effect of enrofloxacin and roxarsone on CYP450s in pig. Research in Veterinary Science, 117, 97-98. doi: 10.1016/j.rvsc.2017.11.014

Castro, N., Faulkner, J., Skidmore, P., Williams, M., Lambrick, D. M., Signal, L., Thunders, M., … Stoner, L. (2014). Pre-adolescent cardio-metabolic associations and correlates: PACMAC methodology and study protocol. BMJ Open, 4(9), e005815. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005815

Thunders, M., Mangai, S., & Cooper, R. (2013). Nutrigenetics, nutrigenomics and the future of dietary advice. Food & Nutrition Sciences, 4(10), 999-1003. doi: 10.4236/fns.2013.410129

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Jin, Y., Thunders, M., & Page, R. (2013). Using a glossary random entry tool on moodle online learning sites to improve students’ engagement: A pilot study. In M. Gosper, J. Hedberg & H. Carter (Eds.), Proceedings of the 30th Annual Conference on Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ASCILITE). (pp. 438-441). [Full Paper]

Thunders, M., Jing, Y., & Page, R. (2013). The language of science: An online animated tool for learning the vocabulary used in the health sciences. In M. Gosper, J. Hedberg & H. Carter (Eds.), Proceedings of the 30th Annual Conference on Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ASCILITE). (pp. 875-878). [Full Paper]

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Chinn, V., Shultz, S., Page, R., Coad, J., Kruger, R., & Thunders, M. (2016). Next level health: An integrated health programme using multiple behaviour change to develop a balanced health practice for women. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 23(Suppl. 1), (pp. S77-S78). doi: 10.1007/s12529-016-9586-3

Thunders, M. C., & Chinn, V. A. (2016). The epigenomic impact of a 6 month health intervention on women aged 18-40. Proceedings of the Society of Toxicology Contemporary Concepts in Toxicology Meeting: Toxicoepigenetics. 35. Retrieved from https://www.toxicology.org

Thunders, M., Kim, N., & Page, R. (2014). Sex, worms, genes and cadmium. Proceedings of the New Zealand Trace Elements Group Conference. (pp. 42). Retrieved from http://www.tracenz.org/

Thunders, M. (2014). Epigenetics and the role exercise plays. New Zealand Journal of Sports Medicine, 41(2), (pp. 83). [Abstract]

Chinn, V., Cornwall, J., Thunders, M., Orta, O., & Stoner, L. (2014). Influence of gender on the reliability of central adiposity measurements using B-mode ultrasound. New Zealand Journal of Sports Medicine, 41(2), (pp. 88). [Abstract]

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Conference Contribution - Poster Presentation (not in published proceedings)

Thunders, M. C., Chinn, V., & Page, R. (2016, April). The epigenetic impact of a 6 month lifestyle intervention programme on women aged 18-40. Poster session presented at the 13th International Congress of Human Genetics, Kyoto, Japan.

Van Wissen, K. A., Thunders, M. C., McBride-Henry, K. S., Ward, M. A., Krebs, J. D., Harding, S. A., & Page, R. A. (2014, May). Complex illness: The experiences of people with cardiovascular disease also found to have prediabetes. Poster session presented at the New Zealand Society for the Study of Diabetes (NZSSD) Annual Scientific Meeting, Queenstown, New Zealand.

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Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Thunders, M., & Chinn, V. (2017, September). Revealing the invisible impact of lifestyle change (using epigenomic studies to determine molecular impact). Verbal presentation at the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine Conference, Sydney, Australia.

Thunders, M. (2016, September). Are epigenomic studies useful for health promotion? Verbal presentation at the School of Public Heatlh Symposium, Wellington, New Zealand.

Thunders, M. (2015, November-December). School children as health advisors. Verbal presentation at the Science Communicators Association of New Zealand (SCANZ) Conference, Wellington, New Zealand.

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