Emeritus Professor Lynnette Robin Ferguson

D.Phil. (Oxon.), DSc., QSO, FNZIFST, FRSNZ


Lynnette Ferguson obtained her D.Phil.(Oxon) (the equivalent of a PhD) from Oxford University, working on the subject of DNA damage, DNA repair and mutagenesis in yeast. After her return to New Zealand, she began working as part of the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre, using mutagenicity testing as a predictor of carcinogenesis, with particular focus on the New Zealand situation. In 2000, she took on a 50% role as Head of a new Discipline of Nutrition at the University of Auckland. In more recent years, she has considered the interplay between genes and diet in the development of chronic disease, with particular focus on Inflammatory Bowel Disease, a cancer-prone condition, and also in prostate cancer. As programme leader for the multidisciplinary-multiorganisation Nutrigenomics New Zealand, she worked with a range of others to bring nutrigenomics tools and potential to the New Zealand science scene. She has supervised more than 40 students to the successful completion of B.tech, MSc or PhD. Her laboratory regularly supervises 2-3 summer students each year. She is the author or co-author of more than 350 peer reviewed publications as chapters in books or articles in international journals. She serves on the Editorial Boards of several major journals.

Research | Current

Lynnette's current research considers the interplay between genes and diet in the development of chronic disease, with particular focus on Inflammatory Bowel Disease, a cancer-prone condition and also in both colorectal and prostate cancer.   As programme leader for the multidisciplinary-multiorganisation Nutrigenomics New Zealand, she has worked with a range of others across The university of Auckland, Plant and Food Research and Agresearch Ltd, to bring nutrigenomics tools and potential to the New Zealand science scene. http://www.nutrigenomics.org.nz/ Research interests: Gene-diet interactions in the development of chronic disease, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, Colorectal cancer, Prostate cancer.


2021 Publications

Assessment of Factors Associated with PSA Level in Prostate Cancer Cases and Controls from Three Geographical Regions. N Karunasinghe, TZ Minas, BY Bao, A Lee, A Wang, S Zhu, J Masters, ...

Effect of androgen deprivation therapy on serum levels of sclerostin, Dickkopf-1, and osteoprotegerin: a cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis A Wang, N Karunasinghe, LD Plank, S Zhu, S Osborne, C Brown, Scientific reports 11 (1), 1-12

A Polyphenol Enriched Variety of Apple Alters Circulating Immune Cell Gene Expression and Faecal Microbiota Composition in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial MPG Barnett, W Young, K Armstrong, D Brewster, JM Cooney, S Ellett, ... Nutrients 13 (4), 1092

Diet and nutrition LR Ferguson, N Karunasinghe, Genome Stability, 575-588


2020 Publications


Anticancer Characteristics of Fomitopsis pinicola Extract in a Xenograft Mouse Model—a Preliminary Study CHJ Kao, DR Greenwood, SMF Jamieson, ME Coe, PM Murray, ...Nutrition and cancer 72 (4), 645-652

Inflammatory bowel disease: why this provides a useful example of the evolving science of nutrigenomics LR Ferguson, Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 50 (2), 299-315

Effects of an Omega-3 and Vitamin D Supplement on Fatty Acids and Vitamin D Serum Levels in Double-Blinded, Randomized, Controlled Trials in Healthy and Crohn’s Disease Populations  B Brennan Laing, A Cavadino, S Ellett, LR Ferguson, Nutrients 12 (4), 1139

Selenium supplementation and prostate health in a New Zealand cohort N Karunasinghe, L Ng, A Wang, V Vaidyanathan, S Zhu, LR Ferguson, Nutrients 12 (1), 2

Direct-to-consumer testing LR Ferguson, VR Parslow, Principles of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics, 529-537

A personalised dietary approach—a way forward to manage nutrient deficiency, effects of the western diet, and food intolerances in inflammatory bowel disease BB Laing, AG Lim, LR Ferguson, Nutrients 11 (7), 1532


Teaching | Current

Offers projects for MEDSCI701 and 702, co-supervises MSc and PhD projects


Queens Service Order in Public Health

Fellow, New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology

Fellow, Royal Society of New Zealand

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.
  • Karunasinghe, N., Symes, E., Gamage, A., Wang, A., Murray, P., Zhu, S., ... Ferguson, L. R. (2019). Interaction between leukocyte aldo-keto reductase 1C3 activity, genotypes, biological, lifestyle and clinical features in a prostate cancer cohort from New Zealand. PloS one, 14 (5)10.1371/journal.pone.0217373
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nishi Karunasinghe, William Zhu
  • Panunzio, M., Caporizzi, R., Cela, E. P., Antoniciello, A., Di Martino, V., & Ferguson, L. R. (2019). Promotion of the mediterranean diet incancer long-survivors by means of the Med-Food Anticancer Program: a pilot study. ANNALI DI IGIENE MEDICINA PREVENTIVA E DI COMUNITA, 31 (1), 45-51. 10.7416/ai.2019.2257
  • Vaidyanathan, V., Naidu, V., Jabed, A., Tran, K., Kallingappa, P., Kao, C. H., ... Marlow, G. (2019). Modern Molecular Biology Technologies and Higher Usability of Ancient Knowledge of Medicinal Plants for Treatment of Human Diseases. In M. Ozturk, K. R. Hakeem (Eds.) Plant and Human Health (pp. 173-205). Cham: Springer International Publishing. 10.1007/978-3-030-03344-6_7
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/46509
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Khanh Tran, Nishi Karunasinghe
  • Ferguson, L. R. (2018). Calcium and/or vitamin D supplementation: could they affect your risks of colorectal cancer development or progression?. ANNALS OF TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE, 610.21037/atm.2018.08.29
  • Karunasinghe, W. P., Wang, A., Vaidyanathan, V., & Ferguson, L. (2018). Supplemented selenium for prostate health varies with genetic polymorphisms and dietary mineral interaction-- proof of concept!. Queenstown, New Zealand. 25 August - 26 August 2018. Related URL.
  • Ferguson, L. R., Karunasinghe, N., & Vaidayanathan, V. (2018). Genomic Instability and Prostate Cancer Risk in New Zealand. Paper presented at 49th Annual Meeting of the Environmental-Mutagenesis-and-Genomics-Society (EMGS) - Maintaining Genomic Integrity in the Face of Environmental Insult, San Antonio, TX. 22 September - 26 September 2018. ENVIRONMENTAL AND MOLECULAR MUTAGENESIS. (pp. 1).
  • Peng, Y., Bishop, K. S., Ferguson, L. R., & Quek, S. Y. (2018). Screening of Cytotoxicity and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Feijoa Extracts Using Genetically Modified Cell Models Targeting TLR2, TLR4 and NOD2 Pathways, and the Implication for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Nutrients, 10 (9).10.3390/nu10091188
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Siew-Young Quek, Yaoyao Peng
  • Momozawa, Y., Dmitrieva, J., Théâtre E, Deffontaine, V., Rahmouni, S., Charloteaux, B., ... Gori, A.-S. (2018). IBD risk loci are enriched in multigenic regulatory modules encompassing putative causative genes. Nature communications, 9 (1)10.1038/s41467-018-04365-8

Contact details

Primary office location

Level B, Room B20
New Zealand