Dr Lisa Ivy Pilkington

BA/BSc, BSc(Hons), MSc, PhD

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Senior Lecturer



2009 BA/BSc Conjoint (majoring in Chemistry, Statistics and German, University of Auckland, NZ)

2010 BSc(Hons, First Class; Chemistry, University of Auckland, NZ)

2014 PhD (Chemistry, University of Auckland, NZ)

2016 MSc (Statistics, University of Oxford, UK)


Previous and Current Appointments:

2014-2015 Post-Doctoral Research Fellow (ACSRC and School of Chemical Sciences, University of Auckland, NZ). Supervised by Assoc. Prof David Barker and Dr Euphemia Leung.

2016-2018 Post-Doctoral Research Fellow (School of Chemical Sciences, University of Auckland, NZ). Supervised by Assoc. Prof David Barker and Assoc. Prof. Bruno Fedrizzi

2018-2020 Lottery Health Post-Doctoral Research Fellow (School of Chemical Sciences, University of Auckland, NZ). 

Nov 2020- Senior Lecturer (School of Chemical Sciences, University of Auckland, NZ). 

  • Rutherford Post-Doctoral Fellow (2019-)
  • NZ-China Emerging Researcher Fellow (2020-)
  • Breast Cancer Foundation New Zealand Ronald Kay Fellow (2020-)


Research | Current

My research is focussed around the development and application of analytical and chemometric methods to chemistry problems. This includes:

  • Development and application of methods, tools and techniques for analysis

    • Development of statistical techniques

    • Synthesis of chemical standards

    • Development and optimisation of analytical methods

  • Use of analytical and statisical methods to answer chemical questions:

    • R-based statistical analysis (big data, machine learning)

    • MS-based and spectroscopic measurements and data collection. 


My research applyies these principles to a range of different areas, spanning Agricultural/Food, Biological and Medicinal/Forensic applications. Past and present projects include: 

  • Agricultural/Food: 
    • Exploring the composition and chemistry of alternative plant-based "milks" and various factors which influence its properties.
    • Analysing the chemical signature of Manuka Honey and exploring impacts of factors on its chemical composition. 
    • Exploring the properties and composition of Manuka Honey meads - a new and upcoming product with incredible potential
    • Analysing the chemical signature of raw bovine milk and explore the concept of terroir.
    • Development and application of novel statistical methodology to analyse complex compositional data. 
  • Biological: 
    • Synthesis of standards, development, optimisation and use of MS-based methods to detect the presence, and explore the modulation, of thiols.
    • Development of novel electrochemical sensors for the analysis of biological thiols
    • Investigation of the surface chemistry and wettability/drop-impact properties of NZ flora - are our native plants unique and what can they tell us? 
    • Analysis of the effect of various factors on the fermentation profiles and kinetics of yeast.
  • Medicinal/Forensic:
    • Development and utilisation of novel QSAR methodologies and statistical software for increasing the efficiency of drug discovery processes.
      • Investigation of novel, selective inhibitors of the CYP1 family of enzymes as anticancer agents.
      • Investigation of novel inhibitors of the PC-PLC enzyme and study of their efficacy as antiproliferative agents against human cancer.
      • The synthesis of bioactive thieno-pyridines and pyrroloquinolines - compounds that have been shown to inhibit a number of important enzymes involved in cell regulation and are being analysed for their antiproliferative activity. 
    • Chemometric analysis of natural products to determine their potential to act as drugs or therapeutic leads. 
    • It's in the water - analysing wastewater to assess illicit drug-use in New Zealand
    • It's in the water (II) - analysing wastewater to assess New Zealand habits
    • Development of smarth, wound-healing devices


Teaching | Current

CHEM252 (NEFU, course co-ordinator)


CHEM740 (course co-ordinator)

Postgraduate supervision

I currently supervise a number of postgraduate students for Honours, Masters and PhD.


Current students (PhD):

Patrick Peou (main supervisor)

Natalie Haverkate (co-supervisor)

Mohinder Naiya (co-supervisor)

Shaun Rees (co-supervisor)

Delsa Pulickal Joseph (co-supervisor)

Krishna Panicker (co-supervisor)

Hansi Perera (co-supervisor)

Bill Jia (co-supervisor)

Irene Kim (co-supervisor)

Emily Paulin (advisor)

Jennifer Muhl (advisor)

Marcus Luong (advisor)

Gillean Miller (advisor)


Current students (MSc):

Devon Bryant

Miriama Wilson

Shen Xing

Chandra Chhouk


Current students (BSc(Hons)):

Claire Webster




2020 - JSPS Hope Fellow

2020-present - Breast Cancer New Zealand Ronald Kay Fellow

2019-present - Rutherford Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

2019/2020 - New Zealand-China Emerging Researcher Fellowship

2019 - Highlighted and corresponding author in the 2019 RSC ChemComm Emerging Researchers Issue

2017 - Lottery Health Research Post-Doctoral Fellowship

2016 - L H Briggs Memorial Prize for Best Doctoral Thesis (Chemistry, University of Auckland) 

2015 - Gavin and Anne Kellaway Medical Research Fellowship

2015 - New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women Fellowship

2015 - Dean's List for Excellence (University of Auckland)

2011-2014 - University of Auckland Doctoral Scholar

2010 - University of Auckland Honours Scholarship

2009 - Statistic New Zealand Prize

2009 - Senior Prize in Statistics

2008,2009 - Faculty of Science Summer Scholarship

2008,2009 - Grace Kay Award

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Editorial Board (Foods)

Language Editor (Biocatalysis)

AVITech - Artificial Vision Technologies Doctoral Network Member (2021-)

Review Editor on the Editorial Board of Chemometrics (specialty section of Frontiers in Analytical Science, 2021-)

School of Chemical Sciences Research Committee Member (2021-)

School of Chemical Sciences Health and Safety Committee Member (2021-)

Faculty of Science Food, Food Production and Nutrition Theme Steering Committee Member (2021-)

School of Chemical Sciences Research Showcase Committee Member (2020)

School of Chemical Sciences Research Innovation Strategy Committee Member (2020-)

Faculty of Science Post Doctoral Society Committee Member (Chair, Chemistry Department Rep., Secretary 2017-2020)

Faculty of Science Research Steering Committee Member (2019-2020)

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.
  • Pilkington, L. I., Sparrow, K., Rees, S. W. P., Paulin, E. K., van Rensburg, M., Xu, C. S., ... Leung, E. (2020). Development, synthesis and biological investigation of a novel class of potent PC-PLC inhibitors. European journal of medicinal chemistry, 19110.1016/j.ejmech.2020.112162
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Ivanhoe Leung, Shaun Rees, Emily Paulin, Ries Langley, Euphemia Leung, David Barker
  • Muhl, J. R., Pilkington, L. I., & Deed, R. C. (2020). First Synthesis of 3-S-Glutathionylhexanal-d8 and its Bisulfite Adduct. Tetrahedron Letters, online first.10.1016/j.tetlet.2020.152100
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rebecca Deed, Jennifer Muhl
  • Deed, R. C., Pilkington, L. I., Herbst-Johnstone, M., Miskelly, G. M., Barker, D., & Fedrizzi, B. (2019). A new analytical method to measure S-methyl-l-methionine in grape juice reveals the influence of yeast on dimethyl sulfide production during fermentation. Journal of the science of food and agriculture, 99 (15), 6944-6953. 10.1002/jsfa.9983
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rebecca Deed, Gordon Miskelly, David Barker, Bruno Fedrizzi
  • Pilkington, L. I., Deed, R. C., Parish-Virtue, K., Huang, C.-W., Walker, M. E., Jiranek, V., ... Fedrizzi, B. (2019). Iterative synthetic strategies and gene deletant experiments enable the first identification of polysulfides in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Chemical communications (Cambridge, England), 55 (60), 8868-8871. 10.1039/c9cc03020d
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rebecca Deed, David Barker, Bruno Fedrizzi
  • Luong, T. M., Pilkington, L. I., & Barker, D. (2019). Stereoselective Total Synthesis of (+)-Aristolactam GI. The Journal of organic chemistry, 84 (9), 5747-5756. 10.1021/acs.joc.9b00653
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: David Barker
  • Pilkington, L. I., Yang, X., Liu, M.-W., Hemar, Y., Brimble, M. A., & Reynisson, J. (2019). A Chemometric Analysis of Compounds from Native New Zealand Medicinal Flora. Chemistry, an Asian journal, 14 (8), 1117-1127. 10.1002/asia.201800803
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Margaret Brimble
  • Pilkington, L. I., Wagoner, J., Kline, T., Polyak, S. J., & Barker, D. (2018). 1,4-Benzodioxane Lignans: An Efficient, Asymmetric Synthesis of Flavonolignans and Study of Neolignan Cytotoxicity and Antiviral Profiles. Journal of natural products, 81 (12), 2630-2637. 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.8b00416
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: David Barker
  • Pilkington, L. I., van Rensburg, M., Reynisson, J., & Barker, D. (23/8/2018). Synthesis of novel, potent phosphatidyl-choline specific phospholipase C inhibitors. Poster presented at 256th American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition: Nanoscience, Nanotechnology & Beyond, Boston, MA, USA. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: David Barker


Contact details

Primary office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 301 - Bldg 301
Level 5, Room 527A
New Zealand

Web links