Dr Cherie Blenkiron

PhD 2003, The University of Edinburgh UK, BSc (hons) 1999 Biochemistry and Genetics, The University of Nottingham UK


Research interests

Research | Current


I am a cancer biologist by training, interested in the identification of molecular biomakers for cancer and other disease states. My research uses cell biology and genomics methods with a focus on the analysis of small non-coding microRNAs and cellular packages called extracellular vesicles (EVs). Many of my cancer related projects investigate rare, understudied tumours such a Merkel Cell Carcinoma, Granulosa Cell Tumours and Vulvar Squamous Cell Carcinoma using genomics to identify the mutations that drive cancer initiation and progression. These studies look at the evolution of tumours as they metastasise around the body to understand heterogeneity. I am particularly interested in the identification of circulating minimally invasive markers that can be used to diagnose and monitor these tumours.

I also have an interest in the processes of tissue banking including bioethics, the appropriate consent, collection and storage of donor tissues for use in research.

I work collaboratively across disciplines on projects ranging from Cancer through to Placenta with researchers from across the University and increasingly overseas. 



• Prof. Cristin Print, Dr Ben Lawrence, Dr Kate Parker and Prof. Mike Findlay - NETwork! neuroendocrine tumour project

• Prof. Larry Chamley, Placental Extracellular Vesicles

• A/Profs A. Phillips and S. Swift - Bacterial Extracellular Vesicles in infection

• Prof. A. Shelling and Dr. A Muthukaruppan - the molecular and genomic analysis of Granulosa Cell Tumours and Vulval Squamous Cell Carcinoma

• A/Prof Mhoyra Fraser, Blood Extracellular Vesicles as a marker of fetal ischemia

• Mr Phillip Shepherd, Auckland Regional Tissue Bank, development of a pathology app for accurate recording of tissue sampling at point of collection



Teaching | Current

MEDSCI720 Methods in Molecular Genetics

MEDSCI203 Cancer Genomics

MBCHB 221B Principles of Medicine, various workshops

Postgraduate supervision


• Tamsin Robb, PhD 2018 (Joint Main Supervisor with C. Print) Tumour Heterogeneity: a patient specific multilayerd investigation. AMRF Scholarahip. UoA

• Yohanes Nursalim, PhD 2018 (Joint Main Supervisor with L. Chamley) Genetic Feotomaternal Microchimerism. Marsden Fund Scholarship. UoA

• Matthew Kang, PhD 2017 (co-supervisor with L. Chamley) Genetic Fetomaternal Microchimerism. UoA Scholarship. UoA

• Vanessa Chang, PhD 2014 (advisor with S. Swift) UoA

• James Hearn, PhD 2016 (advisor with M. Kalev) UoA

• Sandra Fitzgerald, PhD 2017 (advisor with C. Print) UoA

• Zachary Devereaux, MSc 2017 (co-supervisor with S. Swift) Fungal Extracellular Vesicles and the transfer of drug resistance. UoA

• Sai Kriti Aurora, MSc 2018 (co-supervisor with A. Muthukaruppan) The role of transforming growth factor receptor beta (TGF-B) in granulosa cell tumours of the ovary. UoA



• Jia Wei, PhD 2016 (co-supervisor with L. Chamley), UoA

• Wei-Tzu Cheng, PhD 2017 (co-supervisor with A. Shelling), UoA

• Denis Simonov, PhD 2018 (co-supervisor with A. Phillips), UoA

• Julia Cree, MSc 2017 (co-supervisor with T. Merry)



Board Member (Asia Pacific representative), International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (https://www.isev.org) (2018-present)

Associate Investigator, Maurice Wilkins Centre for Biodiscovery (2018- present)


Associate Director for the Hub for Extracellular Vesicle Investigations (2018- present)

Scientific Advisory Board, Auckland Regional Tissue Bank (2017- present)

Core Operations Group, Auckland Regional Tissue Bank (2017- present)


Ad Hoc journal reviewer for the International journals: Scientific Reports, Journal for Extracellular Vesicle Investigations, Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, Proteomics, European Journal of Nutrition, Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology, Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Obesity, Journal of Molecular Medicine.

Areas of expertise

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Member of the New Zealand Society for Oncology (2017- present)

Member of the NZ Melanoma Special Interest group (2017- present)



Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)


Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 501 - Bldg 501
Level 2, Room 210
New Zealand

Social links

Web links