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Dr Nigel Perry

Position: Research Leader, Plant & Food Research; Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Otago

Role in NuNZ: Leader: New food development

Research interests and activities

Biologically active natural products.  Projects include:
a. Natural products chemistry: discovering new compounds in foods and in native plants, by isolation directed by biological assays, with structure identification by combined NMR spectroscopy and molecular modelling. We also study biosynthesis in plants and ecological roles of natural products.
b. Synthetic organic chemistry: studies on biomolecules to understand the relationship between structure and biological activity, and to produce more active and selective compounds.
c. Analytical chemistry: using NMR, LC, GC, MS and Raman microscopy, to locate and quantify food bioactives and flavour chemicals.


PhD, Chemistry, University of Otago

Honours and awards

Fellow of NZ Institute of Chemistry
NZ Science & Technology Medal for excellence

Professional memberships

American Chemical Society
American Society Pharmacognosy
Otago Institute of the Royal Society of New Zealand
New Zealand Association of Scientists

Key publications

  • Cooney L J, van Klink J W, Hughes N M, Perry N B, Schaefer H M, Menzies I J and Gould K S (2012), 'Red leaf margins indicate increased polygodial content and function as visual signals to reduce herbivory in Pseudowintera colorata', New Phytologist, doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2012.04063.x,
  • Miller M R, Perry N B, Burgess E J and Marshall S N (2011), 'Regiospecific Analysis of Triacyglycerols from Marine Oils of Hoki (Macruronus novaezelandiae) and Green Lipped Mussels (Perna canaliculus)', J Amer Oil Chem Soc, 88, 509-516.
  • Wayman K A, de Lange P J, Larsen L, Sansom C E and Perry N B (2010), 'Chemotaxonomy of Pseudowintera: Sesquiterpene dialdehyde variants are species markers', Phytochemistry 71, 766-772.
  • Perry N B, Burgess E J, Rodríguez Guitián M A, Romero Franco R, López Mosquera E, Smallfield B M, Joyce N I and Littlejohn R P (2009), 'Sesquiterpene Lactones in Arnica montana: Helenalin and Dihydrohelenalin Chemotypes in Spain', Planta Med, 75, 660-666.
  • Chia E W, Pearce A N, Berridge M V, Larsen L, Perry N B, Sansom C E, Godfrey C A, Hanton L R, Lu G, Walton M, Denny W A, Webb V L, Copp B R and Harper J L (2008), 'Synthesis and anti-inflammatory structure-activity relationships of thiazine-quinoline-quinones: inhibitors of the neutrophil respiratory burst in a model of acute gouty arthritis', Bioorg Med Chem, 16, 9432-9442.
  • Svenson J, Smallfield B M, Joyce N I, Sansom C E and Perry N B (2008), 'Betalains in Red and Yellow Varieties of the Andean Tuber Crop Ulluco (Ullucus tuberosus)', J Agric Food  Chem, 56, 7730-7737.
  • Durling N E, Catchpole O J, Grey J B, Webby R F, Mitchell K A, Foo L Y and Perry N B (2007), 'Extraction of phenolics and essential oil from dried sage (Salvia officinalis) using ethanol-water mixtures', Food Chemistry, 101, 1434-1441.