Dr. Rachel Anderson

Senior Research Scientist

E: Rachel.Anderson@agresearch.co.nz


2005: PhD (Biotechnology), Massey University, Palmerston North.
2000: BTech Honours (Biotechnology), Massey University, Palmerston North.

Research interests & activities

My research focusses on how agri-foods effect the interactions between the host and its resident bacteria, in particular how these alter intestinal barrier function. I have a special interest in the role of the obligate anaerobes, which account for the majority of the bacteria in the intestines but are largely unstudied due to the technical difficulties of co-culturing obligate anaerobes (cannot survive in oxygen) and intestinal cells (require oxygen). Long-term my research will benefit NZ by generating evidence for industry to use to substantiate health claims for high-value functional ingredients with intestinal health benefits, thereby contributing to growth in the export revenue of the NZ Agri-food sector.


2016: Associate Investigator for the Riddet Centre of Research Excellence.
2012-15: Principle Investigator of Marsden Fast-start project.
2011: International Mobility Fund grant.
2010: FRST Bridge to Employment Fellowship.
2008: Finalist in MacDiarmid Young Scientist of the Year Awards.
2008: NZSAP Animal Science Award.
2007-09: FRST Postdoctoral Fellowship.
2007: NZIAHS Postgraduate Award.
2006: Best Young Investigator Poster Presentation at the International Conference on Nutrigenomics and Gut Health, Auckland.
2003: Best Postgraduate Student Poster Prize at the NZ Institute of Chemistry Conference, Nelson.
2002: C. Alma Baker Trust Fellowship.
2002: Leonard Condell Doctoral Scholarship.
2001-04: Meat NZ Doctoral Scholarship.


Anderson RC, Ulluwishewa D, Young W, Ryan L, Henderson G, Meijerink M, Maier E, Wells JM & Roy NC (2016) Human oral isolate Lactobacillus fermentum AGR1487 induces a pro-inflammatory response in germ-free rat colons. Scientific Reports, 6:Article 20318. 

Dalziel J, Mohan V, Peters J, Anderson RC, Gopal, PK & Roy NC (2015). The probiotic Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 inhibits propagating colonic contractions in the rat isolated large intestine. Food & Function 6(1):256-263.

Maier E, Anderson RC & Roy NC (2015). Understanding how commensal obligate anaerobic bacteria regulate immune functions in the large intestine. Nutrients 7(1):45-73.

Sengupta R, Anderson RC, Altermann E, McNabb WC, Ganesh S, Armstrong KM, Moughan PJ & Roy NC (2015). Lactobacillus fermentum AGR1487 cell surface structures and supernatant increase paracellular permeability through different pathways. MicrobiologyOpen, 4(4), 541–552.

Ulluwishewa D, Anderson RC, Young W, McNabb WC, van Baarlen P, Moughan PJ, Wells JM & Roy NC (2015). Live Faecalibacterium prausnitzii in an apical anaerobic model of the intestinal epithelial barrier. Cellular Microbiology 17(2):226-240.

Anderson RC, Young W, Clerens S, Cookson AL, McCann MJ, Armstrong KM & Roy NC (2013). Human oral isolate Lactobacillus fermentum AGR1487 reduces intestinal barrier integrity by increasing the turnover of microtubules in Caco-2 cells. PLoS ONE 8(11):e78774.

Russ AE, Peters JS, McNabb WC, Barnett MPG, Anderson RC, Park Z, Zhu S, Maclean P, Young W, Reynolds GW & Roy NC (2013). Gene expression changes in the colon epithelium are similar to those of intact colon during late inflammation in interleukin-10 gene deficient mice. PLoS ONE 8(5):e63251.

Sengupta R, Altermann E, Anderson RC, McNabb WC, Moughan PJ & Roy NC (2013). The role of cell surface architecture of lactobacilli in host-microbe interactions in the gastrointestinal tract. Mediators of Inflammation  237921.

Meijerink M, Ulluwishewa D, Anderson RC & Wells JM (2011). Cryopreservation of monocytes or differentiated immature DCs leads to an altered cytokine response to TLR agonists and microbial stimulation. Journal of Immunological Methods 373:136-142.

Ulluwishewa D, Anderson RC, McNabb WC, Moughan PJ, Wells JM & Roy NC (2011). Regulation of tight junction permeability by intestinal bacteria and dietary compounds. Journal of Nutrition 141:769-776.

Anderson RC, Bermingham EN, McNabb WC, Cookson AL, Tavendale M, Armstrong KM, Knowles S & Roy NC (2010). Moderate levels of dietary sheep milk powder reduce experimentally-induced colonic inflammation in rats. Animal Production Science 50:714-721.

Anderson RC, Cookson AL, McNabb WC, Park Z, McCann M & Roy NC (2010). Lactobacillus plantarum MB452 increases the integrity of the intestinal barrier by increasing the expression levels of genes involved in tight junction formation. BMC Microbiology 10:Article 316.

Anderson RC, Cookson AL, Kelly WJ, McNabb WC & Roy NC (2010). Lactobacillus plantarum DSM 2648 is a potential probiotic that enhances intestinal barrier function. FEMS Microbiology Letters 309:184-92.

Russ A, Barnett MPG, McNabb WC, Anderson RC, Reynolds GW & Roy NC (2010). Post-weaning effects of milk and milk components on the intestinal mucosa in inflammation. Mutation Research 690:64-70.

Anderson RC & Yu PL (2008). Pilot-scale extraction and antimicrobial activity of crude extract from ovine neutrophils. Process Biochemistry 43:882-886.

Anderson RC & Yu PL (2008). Fragments of proregion of cathelicidins and other immune related peptides display antimicrobial activity. Biotechnology Letters 30:813-818.

Anderson RC & Yu PL (2005). Factors affecting the antimicrobial activity of ovine-derived cathelicidins against E. coli 0157:H7. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents 25:205-210.

Treffers C, Chen L, Anderson RC & Yu PL (2005). Isolation and characterisation of antimicrobial peptides from deer neutrophils. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents 26:165-169.

Anderson RC, Hancock REW & Yu PL (2004). Antimicrobial activity and bacterial membrane interaction of ovine-derived cathelicidins. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 48:673-676.

Anderson RC, Haverkamp R & Yu PL (2004). Investigation of morphological changes to S. aureus induced by ovine-derived antimicrobial peptides using TEM and AFM. FEMS Microbiology Letters 240:105-110.

Anderson RC, Wilkinson B & Yu PL (2004). Ovine antimicrobial peptides: new products from an age-old industry. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 55:69-75.

Anderson RC & Yu PL (2003). Isolation and characterization of proline/arginine-rich cathelicidin peptides from ovine neutrophils. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 312:1139-1146.