Dr Katie Burns


Dr Katie Burns is a Research Fellow in the Department of Molecular Medicine and Pathology. Her research is focussed on understanding the mechanisms underpinning differences in the way individuals process chemotherapy drugs, and how this relates to treatment side effects and responses. She has a particular interest in the molecular biology of these processes.

Professional Memberships

  • 2016 - current New Zealand Society for Oncology (NZSO)
  • 2014 - current American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
  • 2012 - current Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists (ASCEPT)


Research | Current

Katie is currently working in the Cancer Pharmacogenetics group. Her research is centred around the mechanisms that underpin the incidence of severe normal tissue toxicity in patients, and mechanisms to predict drug response. She also has a particular interest in the impact of disease on drug pharmacology and the importance of understanding the complexities of drug pharmacokinetics for the personalisation of treatment regimens in cancer. 

Research Interests

  • Membrane transporters
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Drug toxicity
  • Therapeutic Response

Research Grants

  • 2019-2021   $200,000      Maurice Paykel Postdoctoral Fellowship (PI)
  • 2017-2021   $1,186,557   Health Research Council (AI)
  • 2017-2019   $183,950      Genesis Oncology Trust John Gavin Postdoctoral Fellowship (PI)
  • 2017-2018   $12,018        Faculty Research Development Fund (PI)
  • 2017-2018   $33,604        Leukaemia & Blood Cancer NZ (AI)
  • 2016-2017   $2,500          FMHS PDS ThermoFisher Scientific Award (PI)
  • 2016-2017   $37,260        New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation (AI)
  • 2015-2017   $150,000      Lottery Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowship (PI)
  • 2015-2016   $8,000          Maurice and Phyllis Paykel Trust (PI)

Teaching | Current

Guest lecturer, MEDSCI 303: Drug Disposition and Kinetics

Guest lecturer, MEDSCI 306: Principles of Toxicology

Project Supervisor. MEDSCI 701: Special Studies in Medical Science

Guest lecturer, MEDSCI 715: Molecular Toxicology

Postgraduate supervision

Current Students

  • Ursula Burns-Maybury (MSc, Primary Supervisor)

  • Stephen O'Connell (MSc, Primary Supervisor)

  • Maia Van Kan (PhD, Co-supervisor)

  • Minghan Yong (PhD, Co-supervisor)

Completed Students

  • Daniel Allright (MBiomedSc, Primary Supervisor)

  • Liam Andrew (MSc, Co-supervisor)

  • Alice Cho (BSc Hons, Primary Supervisor)

  • Kieran Deane-Alder (MSc, Primary Supervisor)

  • Prachi Patel (MSc, Primary Supervisor)

  • Mayerni Situmorang (MSc, Primary Supervisor)

  • Maia Van Kan (MSc, Co-supervisor)


Australasian Society of Clinical Experimental Pharmacology and Toxicology (ASCEPT) www.ascept.org

  • 2019-present Treasurer of ASCEPT-NZ section


  • 2019-2021 Maurice Paykel Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biomedical Science (Maurice and Phyllis Paykel Trust)
  • 2017-2019 John Gavin Postdoctoral Fellowship (Genesis Oncology Trust)
  • 2015-2017 Lottery Health Research Post-Doctoral Fellowship (Te Tahua Rangahau Hauoratanga Lottery Health Research)


  • 2018 Cancer Research Trust NZ Professional Development Award
  • 2010 University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship
  • 2009 Faculty of Science Masters Award, University of Auckland
  • 2004 AECOM Undergraduate Scholarship
  • 2012 Fred Fastier prize: New Zealand Section of the Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists


  • 2018 Invited participant; AACR Translational Cancer Research Workshop
  • 2014 SMS Student Publication Bursary, University of Auckland

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Burns, K. E., Deane-Alder, K. D., Bellissima, B. L., & Tingle, M. D. (2020). Circulating microRNA as biomarkers of clozapine-induced cardiotoxicity. Biomarkers, 25 (1), 76-85. 10.1080/1354750X.2019.1693631
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/50380
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Malcolm Tingle
  • Helsby, N. A., Duley, J., Burns, K. E., Bonnet, C., Jeong, S. H., Brenman, E., ... Findlay, M. (2020). A case-control study to assess the ability of the thymine challenge test to predict patients with severe to life threatening fluoropyrimidine-induced gastrointestinal toxicity. British journal of clinical pharmacology, 86 (1), 155-164. 10.1111/bcp.14153
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nuala Helsby, Soo Hee Jeong, Michael Findlay
  • van Kan, M., Burns, K. E., Browett, P., & Helsby, N. A. (2019). A higher throughput assay for quantification of melphalan-induced DNA damage in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Scientific Reports, 910.1038/s41598-019-55161-3
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Maia van Kan, Peter Browett, Nuala Helsby
  • Alexander, S. P. H., Fabbro, D., Kelly, E., Mathie, A., Peters, J. A., Veale, E. L., ... Pawson, A. J. (2019). THE CONCISE GUIDE TO PHARMACOLOGY 2019/20: Enzymes. British journal of pharmacology, 176 Suppl 1, S297-S396. 10.1111/bph.14752
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nuala Helsby
  • Burns, K. E., Allright, D., Porter, D., Findlay, M. P., & Helsby, N. A. (2019). A simple ex vivo bioassay for 5-FU transport into healthy buccal mucosal cells. Cancer chemotherapy and pharmacology, 84 (4), 739-748. 10.1007/s00280-019-03904-4
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nuala Helsby, Michael Findlay
  • Helsby, N. A., Yong, M., van Kan, M., de Zoysa, J. R., & Burns, K. E. (2019). The importance of both CYP2C19 and CYP2B6 germline variations in cyclophosphamide pharmacokinetics and clinical outcomes. British journal of clinical pharmacology, 85 (9), 1925-1934. 10.1111/bcp.14031
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nuala Helsby, Maia van Kan, Janak de Zoysa
  • Burns, K. E., Shepherd, P., Finlay, G., Tingle, M. D., & Helsby, N. A. (2018). Indirect regulation of CYP2C19 gene expression via DNA methylation. Xenobiotica, 48 (8), 781-792. 10.1080/00498254.2017.1372648
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Malcolm Tingle, Nuala Helsby, Graeme Finlay
  • Burns, K. E., Lo, W. Y., Findlay, M. P., Sharples, K., Laking, G., & Helsby, N. A. (2016). High CYP2C19 phenotypic variability in gastrointestinal cancer patients. Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology, 77 (1), 195-204. 10.1007/s00280-015-2923-4
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Michael Findlay, Nuala Helsby, George Laking


Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 503 - Bldg 503
Level 3, Room 302
New Zealand

Social links

Web links