Dr Elizabeth Joyce McKenzie

PhD (University of Auckland)

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Research Fellow

Biography

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. Her current research interests include use of volatile biomarkers as diagnostic and investigative tools, the impact of volatile toxicants on human health, and the metabolic impact of human symbiotic fungi and yeast - the mycobiome.

Research | Current

Projects on offer:

Masters/Hons

Volatilomic biomarker profiling of plasma and urine from patients with heart failure

Dr Patrick Gladding, Consultant Cardiologist, Waitemata District Health Board, Auckland;
Dr Elizabeth McKenzie, Research Fellow, Liggins Institute;
Dr Chris Pook, Analytical Chemist, School of Applied Sciences, Auckland University of Technology.

Heart failure is a common problem in New Zealand and results in significant morbidity, mortality and hospitalisations. There is significant disparity in heart failure prevalence and outcomes, for instance the frequency of heart failure and mortality in Maori is eight times more than in Europeans and in part delays in diagnosis and hospital investigations is a reason for this disparity. An unambiguous  universal test would aid early diagnosis and the initiation of treatment essential in preventing end-stage heart failure.

The measurement of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from biofluids is a promising new way of early detection and monitoring of disease processes. VOC’s are best measured using gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS), which is already employed clinically for measuring inborn errors of metabolism. We have collected plasma and urine samples from 50 patients with heart failure, and 20 from healthy controls. Current methods for volatiles analysis (solvent extraction, solid phase microextraction) are hampered by either inability to recover and detect a wide range of compounds, or are not amenable to quantitation. We will analyse plasma and urine samples quantitatively using sequential dynamic headspace sampling on a thermal desorption GC-MS system. This method will enable detection and quantitation of compounds with a wide range of volatilities.

The result of this project will inform a larger study that could lead to a clinically useful novel non-invasive diagnostic test for heart failure. This should increase healthcare accessibility and reduce disparity.

 

 

 

Teaching | Current

BioSci 741: Applied Microbiology & Biotechnology - Gut Metabolomics.

Postgraduate supervision

PhD students

  • Githal Arachchige - Liposoluble Vitamers (current)
  • Jamie De Seymour, graduated 2018  - Dietary patterns and biomarkers of gestational diabetes (Co-supervisor)
  • Melinda Thomas, graduated 2018 - Biomarkers of preterm birth (Co-supervisor)

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)

Responsibilities

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

Chemical contamination in former clandestine methamphetamine laboratories

Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry

Solid Phase MicroExtraction

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)

  • 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
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Shikha Pundir
  • 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, Philip Baker
  • 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
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/30949
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Philip Baker, Beatrix Jones
  • Thomas, M. M., Sulek, K., McKenzie, E. J., Jones, B., Han, T. L., Villas-Boas, S. G., ... Baker, P. N. (2015). Metabolite profile of cervicovaginal fluids from early pregnancy is not predictive of spontaneous preterm birth. International journal of molecular sciences, 16 (11), 27741-27748. 10.3390/ijms161126052
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/32430
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Silas Villas-Boas, Lesley McCowan, Philip Baker, Beatrix Jones
  • McKenzie, E. J. (2014). Chemical contamination in former clandestine methamphetamine laboratories The University of Auckland. ResearchSpace@Auckland.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/22473
  • McKenzie, E. J., Miskelly, G. M., & Butler, P. A. G. (2013). Detection of methamphetamine in indoor air using dynamic solid phase microextraction: A supplementary method to surface wipe sampling. Analytical Methods, 5 (20), 5418-5424. 10.1039/c3ay40537k
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Gordon Miskelly
  • McKenzie, E. J., Miskelly, G. M., & Butler, P. A. G. (2013). Dynamic solid phase microextraction analysis for airborne methamphetamine: Quantitation using isotopically substituted methamphetamine. Analytical Methods, 5 (17), 4391-4396. 10.1039/c3ay40536b
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Gordon Miskelly
  • McKenzie, E. J., Brown, K. L., Cady, S. L., & Campbell, K. A. (2001). Trace metal chemistry and silicification of microorganisms in geothermal sinter, Taupo volcanic zone, New Zealand. Geothermics, 30 (4), 483-502. 10.1016/S0375-6505(01)00004-9
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/23413
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Kathleen Campbell

Identifiers

Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 505 - Bldg 505
Level 2, Room 206
85 PARK RD
GRAFTON
AUCKLAND 1023
New Zealand

Web links