Postgraduate study in Genome Biology
With the University of Auckland ranked number one in the global University Impact Rankings, there’s never been a better time to pursue postgraduate study in genome biology right here in Aotearoa.
Genome biology is a cutting edge area of science that could help us understand why some people develop certain diseases and others don't. It’s about the relationships that connect a cell’s DNA codes (the genotype), the gene regulation, DNA repair, replication, and environmental signals (epigenetics and the microbiome) with development and disease. Our researchers investigate risk prediction for complex disease, modification of the microbiome to address complex diseases, and the impact of environmental factors on the development of the microbiome in preterm infants. Take part in this research and you could investigate how genetic variation contributes to the development of polygenic diseases like obesity, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, or you could use mixed omics approaches to understand the complex interplay between you, your microbes and your environment.
- Associate Professor Justin O'Sullivan (Genetics and genome organisation)
Dr Justin O'Sullivan's profile on Research Gate
- Dr Tommi Vatanen (Gut microbiome, computational biology, metabolism, immunity)
Dr Tommi Vatanen's publications on Google Scholar
- Dr William Schierding (Genome mapping, variant detection, RNA-sequencing, methylome epigenetics)
Masters and doctoral projects are available to explore the following questions:
- Precision genetics to improve Asthma prediction, diagnosis and treatment in children (Justin O'Sullivan)
- COVID-19 understanding how genetics mean that some people recovery and others don't (Justin O'Sullivan)
- Precision Medicine - Interpretation of enhancer mutations driving cancer onset, progression, and treatment (Dr William Sschierding)
- Placental and early childhood growth genetics (William Schierding)
- mTBI (concussion) and brain structure genetics (William Schierding)
- Neurodevelopmental Epigenetics post-concussion (William Schierding)
- "Inter-kingdom interactions in the gut microbial communities" – a computational project to explore in-house and public metagenomic data sets for eukaryotic microbes and viruses, and to study their interaction with bacteria, in silico. (Tommi Vatanen)
- “Assessing the effect of prophylactic dextrose gel on the neonatal microbiome" – a project to analyse 16S rRNA sequencing data from the hPOD project (Tommi Vatanen)
You can get a scholarship to assist with your study. See what’s on offer for Liggins Institute students.
Are you an undergraduate student interested in research? Check the Honours projects available at the Liggins Institute.
Publications and news articles
- Low tolerance for transcriptional variation at cohesin genes is accompanied by functional links to disease-relevant pathways
- The role of DNA methylation in human trophoblast differentiation
- GWAS on longitudinal growth traits reveals different genetic factors influencing infant, child, and adult BMI
- Type 1 diabetes study probes babies' gut bugs (NZ Herald article)
- Could bacteria-attacking viruses hold clue to obesity?
How to apply
Contact the team to find out more about the projects on offer or to apply.
Associate Professor Justin O'Sullivan firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Tommi Vatanen email@example.com
Dr William Schierding firstname.lastname@example.org