Dr Nishi Karunasinghe

PhD Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia


The variation between individuals based on their demographics, lifestyle and genetics may help us understand their overall risk of cancer, impact their cancer diagnosis procedures, prognosis and treatment as well as how they metabolise important micronutrients. I am interested in understanding such variations in men that may particularly impact their prostate cancer risk, diagnosis methods, prognosis and treatment. Our findings indicate that the genetic variation associated with the current prostate cancer screening marker may have an influence on delayed diagnoses of significant prostate cancer, unless we adopt genetic and lifestyle stratified thresholds. These impacts will be prominent in our Māori/Pacific men and men of European descent carrying a similar genotype signature. Our findings also indicate that men carrying this genetic signature are also disadvantaged with increased side effects if they have to receive androgen deprivation therapy as a treatment regime for advanced prostate cancer.

Research | Current

Genetic associations of prostate cancer diagnosis, treatment and prognosis outcomes. Genetic association of selenium health benefits. 

Teaching | Current

Supervised 15 Summer Students on projects related to prostate cancer and selenium nutrition.

Postgraduate supervision

Supervised two PhD students and one Master of Biomedical Science student on aspects related to prostate cancer.


Received a one year grant from the Health Research Council of New Zealand (2020) to work towards building a collaboration for a future New Zealand-wide extension study on genetic aspects on prostate cancer

Bayer Travel Fellowship  for the Best of the Best presentations at the Australia New Zealand Urogenital and Prostate Cancer Trials Group Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) 2017, Melbourne Australia and ASM 2016 Brisbane, Australia. 


Maintaining and security of prostate cancer cases and controls databeses

Security of blood components collected from prostate cancer patients and controls

Publication of research articles

Publication of review articles and book chapters

Reviewing journal articles

Reviewing grant applications

Writing grant applications

Commercial consultation projects

Collaboations with New Zealand teams on extended prostate cancer studies

Collaboration with overseas researchers on joint projects-related to prostate cancer

Collaboration with New Zealand and overseas teams on extended analyses of blood components collected from proatate cancer patients and controls.

Areas of expertise

Data analyses and interpretation

Research and review publications

Communication with relevant groups from New Zealand and overseas for extension studies


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., Ng, L., Wang, A., Vaidyanathan, V., Zhu, S., & Ferguson, L. R. (2019). Selenium Supplementation and Prostate Health in a New Zealand Cohort. Nutrients, 12 (1).10.3390/nu12010002
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Lynnette Ferguson, William Zhu
  • 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: Lynnette Ferguson, William Zhu
  • Karunasinghe, N., Ambs, S., Wang, A., Tang, W., Zhu, S., Dorsey, T. H., ... Ferguson, L. R. (2018). Influence of lifestyle and genetic variants in the aldo-keto reductase 1C3 rs12529 polymorphism in high-risk prostate cancer detection variability assessed between US and New Zealand cohorts. PloS one, 13 (6)10.1371/journal.pone.0199122
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Lynnette Ferguson, William Zhu
  • Vaidyanathan, V., Karunasinghe, N., Krishnamurthy, V., Kao, C. H.-J., Naidu, V., Pallati, R., ... Jabed, A. (2017). Aggressive prostate cancer incidence in New Zealand-"united we fall, divided we stand". The New Zealand Medical Journal, 130 (1466), 96-99.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Prasanna Kallingappa, Clare Wall, Lynnette Ferguson, Khanh Tran
  • Asadi, K., Ferguson, L. R., Philpott, M., & Karunasinghe, N. (2017). Cancer-preventive Properties of an Anthocyanin-enriched Sweet Potato in the APCMIN Mouse Model. Journal of cancer prevention, 22 (3), 135-146. 10.15430/jcp.2017.22.3.135
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Lynnette Ferguson
  • Vaidyanathan, V., Naidu, V., Karunasinghe, N., Kao, C. H.-J., Pallati, R., Jabed, A., ... Ferguson, L. R. (2017). Effect of ageing and single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with the risk of aggressive prostate cancer in a New Zealand population. Molecular BioSystems10.1039/c7mb00203c
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/44051
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Lynnette Ferguson, Prasanna Kallingappa
  • Venkatesh, V., Vijay, N., Kao, C., Karunasinghe, N., Bishop, K., Wang, A., ... Zhu, S. (2017). Environmental factors and risk of aggressive prostate cancer among a population of New Zealand men: A genotypic approach. Molecular BioSystems, 13 (4), 681-698. 10.1039/C6MB00873A
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/33628
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: William Zhu, Lynnette Ferguson
  • Wang, A., Karunasinghe, N., Plank, L., Zhu, S., Osborne, S., Bishop, K., ... Holmes, M. (2017). Effect of androgen deprivation therapy on bone mineral density in a prostate cancer cohort in New Zealand: A pilot study. Clinical Medicine Insights: Oncology, 1110.1177/1179554917733449
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Lindsay Plank, William Zhu, Lynnette Ferguson, Alice Wang


Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 504 - Bldg 504
Level 0, Room 016
New Zealand

Web links