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Dr Matt Barnett

Position: Senior Research Scientist, Foods & Bio-based Products, AgResearch

Role in NuNZ: Work Package Leader, Transcriptomics

Research interests and activities

Development of food components with a beneficial effect for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases via prevention or amelioration of inflammation, and identification of epigenetic and gene expression changes associated with such an effect. Also science team leadership, staff performance management and staff growth and development.


PhD Biological Sciences The University of Auckland.
MSc (1st Class Honours) Biological Sciences The University of Auckland.
BSc Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular biology The University of Auckland.

Honours and awards

2009 Invited speaker, Australia NZ Laboratory Animal Association Conference, on Nutrigenomics NZ. Wellington, NZ, 1-3 September 2009
2009 Invited to present a series of three lectures on “Omics technologies” to Food Science Australia, Werribee, Melbourne, March 2009 on behalf of Nutrigenomics New Zealand
2008-2011 Invited lecturer for The University of Auckland MEDSCI 315 paper: "Genes, nutrition & health”
2008 Invited speaker, Functional Foods conference: Functional Foods and Edible Oils – The Future. “Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids – effects on colon inflammation and gene expression.” Heritage Hotel, Auckland, New Zealand, 12-13 November, 2008
2008 Invited speaker, New Zealand Rheumatology Association conference. “Nutrigenomics New Zealand: Are lessons learned studying Crohn’s disease applicable to other inflammatory phenotypes?” Novotel Tainui Hotel, Hamilton, New Zealand, 4 September 2008
2008 Submitted Paper Selected For Oral Presentation, 3rd Asia Pacific Nutrigenomics Conference: Diet-Gene Interaction in Human Health and Disease. “Comparison of differentially expressed genes and proteins in the interleukin 10 gene-deficient mouse as a result of feeding diet enriched with the n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid.” The Sebel Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 6th-9th May 2008
2007-2010; New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (FRST) Grant: Nutritional Epigenetics (Contract C10X0701; Programme Leader)
2007 EE Dalton Award (sponsored by FRST) recognising excellent research and emerging leadership of Postdoctoral scientists
2007 Invited Speaker, NZBio Conference: Imaginative Partnering – Innovative Science. Presentation with the title: “Developing Nutrigenomics Foods for Intestinal Health using Animal Models of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases”
2006 New Zealand Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science (NZIAHS) Postdoctoral Award
2006 New Zealand Society of Animal Production (NZSAP) Young Member Award for best oral presentation
2005-2008; FRST Post-doctoral Fellowship
2005  Invited Speaker: New Zealand Nutrition Society conference, 7-12-05
1997-2000; The Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT) - PhD Scholarship
1997-2000; The University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship

Professional memberships

Management Committee Member and Web Editor for the New Zealand Society of Endocrinology, Inc.
Associate Member of the International Society of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics
NZ Institute of Agricultural Science
NZ Society of Animal Production

Key publications

  • Armstrong KM, Bermingham EN, Bassett SA, Treloar BP, Roy NC, Barnett MP (2011). Global DNA methylation measurement by HPLC using low amounts of DNA. Biotechnology Journal 6(1):113-7. PMID: 21053336
  • Barnett MP, McNabb WC, Cookson AL, Zhu S, Davy M, Knoch B, Nones K, Hodgkinson AJ, Roy NC (2010). Changes in colon gene expression associated with increased colon inflammation in interleukin-10 gene-deficient mice inoculated with Enterococcus species. BMC Immunology 2010, 11:39. PMID: 20630110
  • Barnett M, Bermingham E, McNabb W, Bassett S, Armstrong K, Rounce J, Roy N (2010). Investigating micronutrients and epigenetic mechanisms in relation to inflammatory bowel disease. Mutation Research 690(1-2):71-80. PMID: 20188748
  • Ferguson LR, Philpott M & Barnett MPG (2009). Nutrigenomics: Integrating Genomic Approaches into Nutrition Research. In: Molecular Diagnostics (Second Edition). San Diego: Academic Press: 347-363. ISBN: 978-0-12-374537-8
  • Barnett MPG, Phillips ARJ, Harris PM & Cooper GJS (2008). Impaired insulin secretion in perfused pancreases isolated from offspring of protein malnourished rats. Journal of the Pancreas 9(4): 477-488. PMID: 18648139.
  • Dommels YEM, Butts C, Zhu ST, Davy M, Martell S, Hedderly D, Barnett MPG, McNabb WC, Roy NC (2007). Characterization of intestinal inflammation and identification of related gene expression changes in mdr1a-/- mice. Genes & Nutrition 2:209-223. PMID: 18850176.