Dr Anita Muthukaruppan

2010 The University of Auckland, PhD Obstetrics and Gynaecology


Anita is a Research Fellow who works with Professor Andrew Shelling in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, researching breast and gynaecological cancer.  In 2016, she was awarded the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation Belinda Scott Fellowship to investigate the role of transcription factor FOXA1 in breast cancer.

She graduated with a Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours in Biomedical Science from The University of Auckland in 2003. Her honours dissertation investigated the roles of forkhead transcription factors in ovarian cancer, under the supervision of Professor Andrew Shelling.

After working as a research assistant at the Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, Australia for 1.5 years, Anita undertook her PhD, “Gene Expression Analysis in Breast Cancer”, at The University of Auckland 2006 under the supervision of Professor Andrew Shelling and Professor Cristin Print. She was a recipient of The University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship and the Cancer Society of New Zealand Training Scholarship in Cancer Research, and graduated in 2011. After being away for a couple of years on maternity leave, Anita joined Andrew Shelling’s laboratory in March 2014.

Research | Current

Anita’s primary research interests are breast cancer pathogenesis, and identification of biomarkers for diagnosis and prognosis, and the prediction of treatment response in patients.

She is mainly interested in oestrogen receptor alpha (ESR1) and the oestrogen signalling pathway in breast cancer. She is also interested in how three transcription factors that are important in breast cancer: ESR1, FOXA1 and GATA3, may work together and contribute to the breast cancer development.

In addition, she is working on other projects involving vulval cancer and ovarian cancer, and has collaborative projects with the Department of Paediatrics and Auckland University of Technology.

Teaching | Current

Lectures on reproductive health for MEDSCI100G.

Postgraduate supervision

Anita has supervised three honours students to completion in projects in breast and ovarian cancer. In 2016, she is supervising an MD student researching vulval cancer.


In addition to research, Anita helps to manage the daily operations of the laboratory.

Areas of expertise

Breast cancer and gynaecological cancer.

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Anita is a founding and committee member of the Faculty’s Postdoctoral Society, that helps with establishing working relationships, enabling research collaborations and enhancing professional development amongst postdoctoral researchers.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)


Contact details

Office hours

Monday - Friday

9am - 4pm

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 502 - Bldg 502
Level 2, Room 201K
New Zealand

Web links