Dr Elizabeth Joyce McKenzie

PhD (University of Auckland)


Liz did her Masters on the biogeochemistry of hot springs and her PhD on clandestine methamphetamine laboratories. Following her Masters, she worked in the Life in Extreme Environments program at at Portland State University,USA, then returned to New Zealand to work for Forensic & Industrial Science Ltd until 2013. While finishing her PhD in 2013, she worked at the Centre for Genomics, Proteomics and Metabolomics, School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland. In 2015 she began a postdoctoral fellowship at the Liggins Institute where she worked on isolating biomarkers associated with complications of pregnancy.

Research | Current

Liz's research interests lie in the use of volatile biomarkers as diagnostic and investigative tools (volatilomics), where she applies gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) coupled with solid phase microextraction/thermal desorption to study milk, plasma/serum, faeces, skin and urine. Currently she is investigating the role of symbiotic fungi in the metabolism of short-chain fatty acids in the human gut, using SPME GC-MS and imaging mass spectrometry (MALDI-ToF-MS). She also has an interest in optimisation of untargeted data extraction and curation pipelines for mass spectrometry-based metabolomics and in developing statistical methods for detection of subtle metabolite dysregulation.

Postgraduate supervision

PhD students

  • Raphael Bang - Antimicrobial compounds derived from natural sources (co-supervisor)
  • Jamie De Seymour - Dietary patterns and biomarkers of gestational diabetes (co-supervisor) graduated 2018
  • Melinda Thomas - Biomarkers of preterm birth (co-supervisor) graduated 2018

MSc students

  • Magda Rosin - Human gut fungi and yeast (current)
  • Sachin Jayan, graduated 2017 - Faecal volatilome of children born preterm (Co-supervisor)

Summer students

  • Jena Macapagal - LC-MS method for metabolomic analysis of plasma samples (2015/16)
  • Kieran Deane-Alder - JGL Network Analysis in Metabolomics (2016/17)
  • Nita McKenzie - SkinOmics (2017/18)
  • Tuan Tuan Cheng - LDGM Network Analysis in Metabolomics (2017/18)


Co-oversight of of Mass Spectrometry Hub Strategic Research Initiative (with Dr Frederik Pruijn and SRIF lead PI Dr Angus Grey), coordinate Virtual Machine implementation and software evaluation and acquisition, metabolomics data platform implementation.

Areas of expertise

Analytical chemistry


Forensic Science

Clandestine methamphetamine laboratories

Gas Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS)

Solid Phase MicroExtraction (SPME)

Committees/Professional groups/Services

2017 - current. University of Auckland Mass Spectrometry Hub SRIF ($600K) Co-oversight and MS Data lead
2017 - 2019     Australia & NZ Society for Mass Spectrometry Conference organising committee
2015 - current. Health & Safety Committee, Liggins Institute
2013 - current. Founder and co-facilitator, Chrom Mass Spec Tech Support list-serv (80 members)
2013 - 2015     Health & Safety Committee, School of Biological Sciences
2005 - 2007     Independent Forensic Practitioners Institute, founding member and exec committee member

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.
  • Chia, A.-R., de Seymour, J. V., Wong, G., Sulek, K., Han, T.-L., McKenzie, E. J., ... Tan, K. H. (2020). Maternal plasma metabolic markers of neonatal adiposity and associated maternal characteristics: The GUSTO study. Scientific reports, 10 (1)10.1038/s41598-020-66026-5
  • Shah, R. M., McKenzie, E. J., Rosin, M. T., Jadhav, S. R., Gondalia, S. V., Rosendale, D., & Beale, D. J. (2020). An Integrated Multi-Disciplinary Perspective for Addressing Challenges of the Human Gut Microbiome. METABOLITES, 10 (3)10.3390/metabo10030094
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Magda Rosin
  • Mitchell, S. M., McKenzie, E. J., Mitchell, C. J., Milan, A. M., Zeng, N., D'Souza RF, ... Knowles, S. O. (2020). A period of 10 weeks of increased protein consumption does not alter faecal microbiota or volatile metabolites in healthy older men: a randomised controlled trial. Journal of nutritional science, 910.1017/jns.2020.15
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Amber Milan, Justin O'Sullivan, David Cameron-Smith, Farha Ramzan
  • Jayasinghe, T. N., Vatanen, T., Chiavaroli, V., Jayan, S., McKenzie, E. J., Adriaenssens, E., ... Battin, M. R. (2020). Differences in Compositions of Gut Bacterial Populations and Bacteriophages in 5-11 Year-Olds Born Preterm Compared to Full Term. Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 1010.3389/fcimb.2020.00276
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Justin O'Sullivan, Tommi Vatanen, José Derraik, Malcolm Battin, William Schierding, Eric Thorstensen, Mark Vickers, David Cameron-Smith
  • Souza, R. T., McKenzie, E. J., Jones, B., de Seymour, J. V., Thomas, M. M., Zarate, E., ... Villas-Boas, S. (2019). Trace biomarkers associated with spontaneous preterm birth from the maternal serum metabolome of asymptomatic nulliparous women - parallel case-control studies from the SCOPE cohort. Scientific reports, 9 (1)10.1038/s41598-019-50252-7
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Lesley McCowan, Beatrix Jones
  • Y de Vries, J., Pundir, S., Mckenzie, E., Keijer, J., & Kussmann, M. (2018). Maternal Circulating Vitamin Status and Colostrum Vitamin Composition in Healthy Lactating Women-A Systematic Approach. Nutrients, 10 (6).10.3390/nu10060687
  • Jones, B., Han, T.-L., Delplancke, T., McKenzie, E. J., de Seymour, J. V., Chua, M. C., ... Baker, P. N. (2018). Association between maternal exposure to phthalates and lower language ability in offspring derived from hair metabolome analysis. Scientific reports, 8 (1)10.1038/s41598-018-24936-5
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Beatrix Jones
  • de Seymour, J., Chia, A., Colega, M., Jones, B., McKenzie, E., Shirong, C., ... Conlon, C. (2016). Maternal Dietary Patterns and Gestational Diabetes Mellitus in a Multi-Ethnic Asian Cohort: The GUSTO Study. Nutrients, 8 (9), 1-12. 10.3390/nu8090574
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Beatrix Jones


Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 502 - Bldg 502
Level 4, Room 420
New Zealand

Web links