Gemmell Lab

  • A few of New Zealand's most devastating pest mammals: the ship rat, brush tail possum and a stoat, holding a baby bird
    Gene Drives and Pest Control: Making New Zealand pest Free by 2050.

We blend genomics with ecology, population, conservation and evolutionary biology, to examine a range of interesting, and frequently fundamental questions in organisms ranging from invertebrates to mammals.

Our lab also provides research services to key end users in conservation, biosecurity, fisheries and agricultural areas by working on theory based projects through to applied management driven research projects.

Currently our major research projects focus on:

  • Exploring the effects of mtDNA mutations on male fertility, and their utility in biocontrol
  • Developing new approaches to measure biodiversity
  • Investigations into the molecular basis of sex reversal in fish
  • Investigating the genetic basis of inbreeding depression using New Zealand birds
  • How some parasites can effectively manipulate their hosts behaviour
  • The basis and consequences of cryptic female choice in salmon
  • Comparative genetics in the cognitive ability of crows
  • The development of genomic tools for aquaculture
  • Evolutionary and conservation genetics e.g. the Tuatara genome project

Our lab also runs the Sanger sequencing and genotyping services at the University of Otago, through the Genetic Analysis Service (GAS).

Among our collaborators are Landcare Research, Department of Conservation, NIWACawthron and AgResearch.

Are you a BSc (Hons), MSc, or PhD students with an interest in molecular biology, evolution and ecology? Check our Research opportunities page, and contact us!

We are based in the Anatomy Department of the University of Otago, and have excellent research staff, facilities and strong international collaborations, offering students excellent opportunities to gain a variety of highly pertinent research and technical skills.

Christmas dinner function at Ombrello's restaurant, December 2022. From left to right, at the back: Joanne Gillum, Gert-Jan jeunen, Gracie Kroos, Hayley Quertermous, Chloé van der Burg, Neil Gemmell, Benjamín Durán-Vinet, Jessica Moffitt, William Pearman, Kristen Fernandes, Sara Ferreira. Front: Alana Alexander, Kaj Kamstra, Jonika Edgecombe, Michelle Liddy, Allison Miller, Jackson Treece.
Gemmell Lab at their Christmas function dinner, December 2022