Genomics and bioinformatics

Our research covers areas of genomics, proteomics and metabolomics, along with bioinformatics and biostatistics.

Plant cells

Plant & Food Research staff have access to the best available genomics, proteomics and metabolomics tools and resources, these include bioinformatics microarray facilities, robotic high throughput qPCR and controlled environment rooms. Our staff use molecular and cellular biology techniques to identify the systems, mechanisms and regulation of both plant and human biological processes. We build knowledge of the systems within whole organisms and different cell types, including the interactions between DNA, RNA and protein biosynthesis and how these systems interact.

At the University, Auckland Genomics offers NextGen DNA/RNA sequencing (NGS), Sanger sequencing and gene expression services. Auckland Mass spectrometry Centre processes analytes which range from elements, metabolites, lipids, pharmaceuticals and peptides to intact proteins.

Our researchers

University of Auckland staff

Dr Sarah Knight

  • Ecology and evolution
  • Population genetics
  • Molecular ecology
  • Phylogenetics

Professor Ant Poole

  • Bioinformatics
  • Microbial genomics
  • Origin of Life

Associate Professor Anna Santure

  • Genomics 
  • Population genetics

Co-appointed staff

Professor Andrew Allan

  • Carotenoid biosynthesis
  • Comparative genomics
  • Anthocyanin synthesis
  • Transcription factors

Dr Robert Schaffer

  • Fruit texture genomics
  • Ethylene related ripening
  • Fruit transcriptomics
  • Plant molecular diagnostics

Associate Professor Matt Templeton

  • Host-pathogen interactions
  • Fungal genomics
  • Pathogen effectors

Associate Professor Maren Wellenreuther

  • Genomics
  • Population genetics

Plant & Food Research staff

Dr Charles Ampomah-Dwamena


  • Plant pigments
  • Gene expression
  • Plant Biotechnology

Dr Ross Atkinson


  • Flavour and aroma genes
  • Fruit development and ripening
  • Overexpression of genes in plants
  • Fruit allergens

Dr Sean Bulley


  • Genetics, breeding and physiology
  • Primary metabolism of plants
  • Plant Biotechnology

Dr Richard Espley


  • Plant pigments
  • Gene expression
  • Plant Biotechnology

Dr Ken Marsh


  • Acid metabolism
  • Esters and aroma volatiles
  • Gene expression 

Dr Daryl Rowan


  • Metabolomics/metabolic
  • Biomarkers
  • Flavour volatiles
  • Biosynthesis

Dr Grant Smith


  • Sequences in plant genomes
  • Molecular diagnostics
  • Proteins in viral sequences
  • Pathogen populations
  • Nanotechnology applications

Roy Storey


  • Bioinformatics
  • Computational Biology

Dr Benjamin Warren


  • Bioinformatics
  • Machine Learning