Dr Lisa Ivy Pilkington

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

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Senior Research Fellow



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


Future Appointment: 

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


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, Biological and Medicinal applications. Past and present projects include: 

  • Agricultural: 
    • Analysing the chemical signature of Manuka Honey and exploring impacts of factors on its chemical composition. 
    • 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, particularly in relation to soil. 
  • Biological: 
    • Synthesis of standards, development, optimisation and use of MS-based methods to detect the presence, and explore the modulation, of polysulfide compounds as cell-signaling molecules.
    • Analysis of leaf composition through spectroscopy for inspiration for water-repellent surfaces.
    • Analysis of the effect of various factors on the fermentation profiles and kinetics of yeast.
  • Medicinal:
    • 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. 


Teaching | Current




Postgraduate supervision

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


Current students (PhD):

Natalie Haverkate (co-supervisor)

Mohinder Naiya (co-supervisor)

Shaun Rees (co-supervisor)

Emily Paulin (advisor)

Delsa Pulickal Joseph (advisor)

Alex Lowery (advisor)

Jennifer Muhl (advisor)


Current Students (PgDipSci):

Devon Bryant

Khiang Lim


2020 - JSPS Hope 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)

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)

  • 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 6, Room 627A
New Zealand

Web links