Late Breaking Posters accepted until 7 June

Diverse Pathways, Wide Horizons


The Organising Committee warmly invites you to GSA/NZSBMB 2017 at Dunedin’s University of Otago. Being home to New Zealand’s deepest and most diverse concentration of genetics research, as well as fantastic biochemistry and molecular biology research, we are uniting the GSA and NZSBMB for a superb multi-disciplinary conference.

Has there been a more exciting time for genetics research and cross-pollination with other fields? GSA/NZSBMB 2017 will look to the horizons of an unrivalled range of genetic and genomic fields, including ancient DNA, agriculture, bioethics, bioinformatics, conservation, ecology, evolution, human, molecular biology, model organisms, and teaching.

Many paths will meet and we are sure new ones will open up throughout our rich line up of plenary sessions, symposia, and poster sessions.

You can also gain inspiration from the rare and abundant wildlife on Dunedin's world renowned Otago Peninsula, just a few minutes’ drive from the conference, and then relax by a roaring fire in the atmospheric ballroom of the historic Larnach's Castle sitting majestically above the Otago Harbour. Or stroll into town to enjoy the culture and warm atmosphere of the “Edinburgh of the South’. 


Adventure and discovery await you at GSA/NZSBMB 2017 – we look forward to hosting you!


GSA/NZSBMB 2017 Conference Committee



View full schedule

Concurrent Sessions

Concurrent Sessions Confirmed

(only includes registered presenters)


Oral Presentations

Genetic hitchhikers: what species are hiding in your sequencing data? Rachael Ashby

A genomewide investigation of susceptibility and resistance of bottlenose dolphins to cetacean morbillivirus   Kimberley C Batley

Australian rainbowfishes: a model system for ecological genomic studies of adaptation to climate change Luciano B Beheregaray

Bioinformatic discovery of noncoding RNA genes Christopher Brown

Phylogenomics and species delimitation of pygmy perches: implications for biogeography, taxonomy and conservation Sean J Buckley

The devil’s in the diet: a metabarcoding study of ecosystem changes. Catriona D Campbell

Ancient DNA clarifies the evolutionary history, taxonomy and distribution of crested penguins  Theresa Cole

The anatomy of an adapted enzyme Ren Dobson

Genetics and conservation biology: a rexamination Ian R Franklin

Volcanoes and earthquakes shed light on how disturbance shapes spatial patterns of genetic diversity Ceridwen Fraser 

Epigenetics and sex determination Jenny Graves

Madagascar’s extinct elephant birds: what we know from molecular studies (752)

Alicia Grealy

A unified model for the molecular basis and evolution of temperature-dependent sex determination Clare Holleley

Epigenetic memory in vertebrates Tim Hore

Environmental DNA monitoring detects habitat-specific species assemblages in the marine ecosystem. Gert-Jan Jeunen

Zbtb11 regulates TP53 and is required for definitive haemopoiesis Maria-Cristina Keightley

Growing a Pair: Directing pluripotent stem cells towards human testis cell lineages

Ingrid M Knarston

Evolution of antibiotic resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa Iain L Lamont

Commemorating 60 years of bidirectional selection: Applying genomics to the Virginia body weight chicken lines Mette Lillie

New insights into sexual plasticity in fish using RNA-Seq Hui Liu

Evolving Eusociality: Using Drosophila to understand how queen pheromone inhibits reproduction in worker honeybees Mackenzie R Lovegrove

Evolution of the odorant receptor multigene family in insects: a tale from coloured fish to flying dragons, Richard D Newcomb

Cyclotides: deployment of the small circular peptides for butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea) plant defence Georgianna K Oguis

Phenotypically normal worker honey bees (Apis mellifera capensis) with three alleles at multiple microsatellite loci Benjamin Oldroyd

Identifying methylome changes in response to heavy, long-term cannabis use, in a large longitudinal cohort Amy Osborne

Pleiotropic effect of ABCG2 in gout Amanda J Phipps-Green

Mitochondrial variation and heteroplasmy in Australian and Hawai’ian cane toads

Lee A Rollins

The genetic and mechanistic basis of worker sterility in the honey bee Isobel Ronai

Myth or relict: Does ancient DNA detect the enigmatic Upland seal? Alexander T Salis

GWAS on Post-term Birth: Analysis of Successive Finnish Birth Cohorts Identifies TKT and SSBP2 Loci William Schierding

Invader immune profiles? Differential gene expression patterns in cane toad populations match predictions about invasive species immune function Daniel Selechnik

the transcription factor petal loss suppresses growth between sepals in arabidopsis David R Smyth

Bridging the conservation genetics gap by identifying barriers to uptake for conservation practitioners Helen R Taylor

Determining the molecular effects of 5-fluorocytosine on the pathogenicity of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Jessica M Thomson

Untangling the evolutionary history of the European Bison (Bison bonasus) Ayla L. van Loenen

Use it or lose it? The genomic mechanisms underlying wing-loss in New Zealand’s alpine stoneflies. Andrew Veale

The shape of silencing: differential DNA methylation between the sexes of genes subject to X chromosome inactivation in marsupials Paul D Waters

Differential gene expression in brain tissue of cane toads across the australian invasive range Andrea J West

Using the mouse model to understand the interplay between genetic susceptibility and idiopathic scoliosis progression during puberty.Megan Wilson




Poster Presentations

Adaptive genomic divergence despite high gene flow in an Australian fish, golden perch (Macquaria ambigua) Catherine RM Attard

Genetic consequences of wildfire in an insular stand of the bird-pollinated, granite-outcrop endemic tree Eucalyptus caesia Nicole Bezemer

Waking the sleeping dragon - molecular insights into the hibernation of the central bearded dragon Alexander Capraro

Developmentally important transcription factor Fezf2 has a molecular and functional role in the mature brain Alison J Clare

Identification and expression of pluripotency genes during ascidian whole body regeneration. Rebecca M. Clarke

Regulation and Evolution of Complex Developmental Gene Networks Andrew G Cridge

Coming of age: the role of nuclear structure in zygotic genome activation Amy Dowdle

Does animal personality explain harem access in the polygynous new zealand sea lion (phocarctos hookeri)? Imogen Foote

Genomic analysis of hybridisation between the endemic kakÄ« (black stilt), and the self-introduced poaka (pied stilt) Natalie J Forsdick

Triose phosphate isomerase: far from perfect, far from done Josh B Gilligan

Sex and stress: Is cortisol a mediator of sex change in fish?Alexander Goikoetxea Pérez de Mendiola

Genomics of a weevil pest and its parasitoid biocontrol agent Thomas WR Harrop

Recombination drives evolution of the pyoverdine locus in Pseudomonas aeruginosa Astra Heywood

Evidence for post-transcriptional regulation of dosage compensation in platypus William Horspool

Telomere length dimorphism in dasyurid marsupials is based on parental origin of the chromosome Emory D Ingles

Functional analysis of a gout-associated noncoding snp variant Sarada Ketharnathan

Rock wallabies as a model for chromosome speciation: fine-scale mapping of chromosome rearrangements. Maya Kruger-Andrzejewska

Intergenerational effects of atrazine exposure during juvenile development in zebrafish Simon SDL Lamb

New structural and functional insights into the type II fungal ATP-binding cassette transporter Candida albicans Cdr1 Erwin Lamping

Unravelling the genetics of macadamia: integration of linkage and genome maps. Kirsty S Langdon

Independent loss of introns during evolution across multiple fungal clades Chun Shen Lim

To the Caribbean and beyond: complete mitogenomes of ancient guinea pigs as a proxy for human interaction post-AD500 Edana Lord

genome-wide association study of gout in 111,098 people of european ancestry

Tanya J Major

Whole genome insight into Kea’s alpine lifestyle Denise Martini

Gender bias and late onset idiopathic disease Jeremy McCallum-Loudeac

Innovative approaches to disease gene discovery in motor neuron disease Emily P McCann

De novo assembly and reconstruction of complete circular chloroplast genomes using Geneious Hilary Miller

Is migration propensity linked to genetic “switches” in a great “speciator” silvereyes Zosterops lateralis? Graeme Oatley

Germline memory: Understanding epigenetic reprogramming in vertebrates Oscar Ortega-Recalde

Interactions between PvdA and PvdF, two enzymes involved in pyoverdine biosynthesis in Pseudomonas aeruginosa  Priyadarshini Devi Philem

Hierarchical metapopulation structure in the southern Australia coastal bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops cf. australis) Eleanor AL Pratt

A bimolecular luminescence complementation assay to identify a bee-friendly insecticide Charlotte Pushparajan

DNA methylation and aging in zebrafish Alexandria Ragsdale

Detecting genetic divergence in a relict New Zealand seabird Aisling Rayne

Understanding evolution of ciprofloxacin resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa Attika Rehman

Convergence of Deformed Wing virus recombinant strains in honey bee populations with Varroa-resistance Emily Remnant

Phylogenetic affinities of white-chinned petrels: questions for conservation management Kalinka Rexer-Huber

The case for basic research in the biological sciences Isobel Ronai

Identification and characterisation of two putative ecdysteroid kinases in Drosophila melanogaster Jack Scanlan

One big family? Population genetic structure of the endangered black-fronted tern (Chlidionias albostriatus) Ann-Kathrin V. Schlesselmann

Association of genetic variants in AAT encoded SERPINA1 gene with gout in Europeans and Polynesian  Amara Shaukat

Determining the regulation of Lbx1 gene expression during mouse spinal cord development. Kathleen J Sircombe

Testing the Kinship Theory of Genomic Imprinting in African honey bees Nicholas MA Smith

Sex-differential microrna expression in the developing mouse brain Susie Szakats

Evidence for a large expansion and neofunctionalisation of neuroglobin-like genes in sea anemones Hayden L Smith

Scratched, then sniffed? exploring the role of chemotaxis in host invasion Laura RK Stringer

Linkage disequilibrium and linked identity by decent for loose linkage  John Sved

Modelling rare disease in Xenopus laevis using CRISPR/Cas9 Amy Taylor

Functional analysis of the SOXB1 bound Nestin enhancer using CRISPR  Ella Thomson

Genetic effects on social isolation anxiety in zebrafish (Danio rerio) Hilary Thomson

Evolution of Pseudomonas aeruginosa during long term infection in a patient with cystic fibrosis Samuel J.T Wardell

Establishing an invertebrate chordate model to study whole body regeneration Megan Wilson

Understanding the Batten disease associated protein CLN5 Jade JR Yip

Lhx9 is required for urogenital ridge formation and ovarian development Stephanie Workman



Bioinformatics Workshop A:

Introduction to R and R Shiny (2hr 45m) SOLD OUT

(presented by The Bioinformatics Institute (University of Auckland)

Monday 3 July 2017 

2.00 pm - 5.15 pm

(free of charge - limited spaces, booking via online registration essential)

With just a little guidance, you can wield the power and expressivity of R to make awesome paper-ready images for scientific publication, AND turn your analyses into elegant interactive web applications without requiring HTML, CSS, or JavaScript knowledge.

Who should attend? What equipment do I need?

  • No prior coding knowledge required.  Knowledge of unix and basic command-line text editors is a plus.
  • Please bring your own laptop, as this is a hands-on workshop.  If you do not have a laptop, we will try to pair you up with someone who does.

More information on this workshop is available on the BioInfo Workshops Guide (pdf)



Bioinformatics Workshop B: 

Best Practice in RNASWQ (1 hr) SOLD OUT

(presented by The Bioinformatics Institute (University of Auckland)

Wednesday 5 July 2017

2.00 pm - 3.00 pm

(free of charge - limited spaces, booking via online registration essential)

Want to design, analyse and visualise RNA-seq experiments? Wish you knew how to solve bioinformatics issues when manipulating large datasets?

Who should attend? What equipment do I need?

  • The course has been adapted to the needs of beginners in the field of NGS bioinformatics and allows scientists with no or little background in computer science to get a first hands-on experience in this new and fast evolving research topic.
  • No laptop necessary.

 More information on this workshop is available on the BioInfo Workshops Guide (pdf)

Bioinformatics Workshop C:

Best Practice in Metagenomics (1 hr)

(presented by The Bioinformatics Institute (University of Auckland)

Wednesday 5 July 2017

3.15 pm - 4.15 pm

(free of charge - limited spaces, booking via online registration essential)

Novice observing the incredible world of metagenomics with excitement, but not sure where to start? Meet the experts and get an overview of metagenomics tools and approaches.

Who should attend? What equipment do I need?

  • This course is designed to be understood by novice scientists with no or little background in computer science as a way to get a basic knowledge in this incredible field of novel discoveries.
  • No laptop necessary.

More information on this workshop is available on the BioInfo Workshops Guide (pdf)


Royal Albatross / Fort Taiaroa / Larnach Castle Tour

Includes Guided 'Unique' Tour Albatross Colony and Taiaroa Fort (1.5 hours), 1 hour guided tour of Larnach Castle.  Delegates may bring their own lunch or purchase at Larnach Castle, includes return bus transport. 

Sunday 2 July 2017

Depart 11.30 am St David Lecture Theatre Complex

return by 5.30 pm

Thursday 6 July 2017

Depart 10.00 am St David Lecture Theatre Complex

return by 4.00 pm

Cost:  NZ$105.00 

Orokonui Ecosanctuary Tour

Includes guided tour, return bus transport.

Sunday 2 July 2017

Depart 1.00 pm St David Lecture Theatre Complex

Return by 5pm (includes a Special Session: Conservation Genetics)


Cost: NZ$50.00

The Emerson Brewing Company Tour

Includes one hour brewing tour including tastings.

70 Anzac Avenue, Dunedin, own transport

Sunday 2 July 2017

12.15 pm - 1.30 pm 

Thursday 6 July 2017

10.15 am - 11.30 am

Cost: NZ$25.00


Bookings for tours are made via Online Registration

Anatomy Museum 

The Anatomy holds a large collection of anatomical specimens and models, many of which are unique in Oceania. Some models date back to the late 1800s (porcelain models by Steger and wax models by Ziegler). 

Lindo Fergusson Building, Great King Street (opposite main entrance to Dunedin Hospital) - Curator to meet delegates outside the building

Sunday 2 July 2017

12.50 pm - 2.00 pm

Thursday 6 July 2017

12.50 pm - 2.00 pm

Cost: Admission Free

Dunedin is the only destination in NZ that provides cultural riches and architectural heritage, complemented by a natural environment and rare wildlife all within an easy drive from central Dunedin. 

Recently named New Zealand’s Most Beautiful City, Dunedin is a landscape of striking intensity with many stunning beaches and dramatic cliffs. Exquisite examples of Victorian and Edwardian architecture punctuate a compact cityscape with a vibrant culture reflected in an eclectic array of kerbside cafés, antiques stores and boutique fashion outlets.

We hope that you will take advantage of the pre and post conference tours planned - more details will be announced when registration opens 20th February.

For more information on Dunedin go the Tourism Dunedin Website






Member (GSA and/or NZSBMB)

 Joining GSA Member
(includes 1 Yr membership)

Joining NZSBMB Member
(includes 1 Yr membership)

Full time Student
(members & non-member rate)






Earlybird (paid by 22 May 2017)













Standard (paid from 23 May 2017)















St David Lecture Theatre Complex

Located in the heart of the University of Otago, the St David Lecture Theatre Complex, Dunedin, New Zealand will host Annual Conference of the Genetics Society of Australasia with the NZ Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology.



Mercure Dunedin Leisure Lodge

Special Delegate Rate valid until 1 April (or until sold):

Standard Twin (2 x double or queen bed) NZ$135 room rate per night. Book directly by emailing Reservations quoting ref:  GEN2017

Standard room charges will apply from 2 April.  Please see the Mercure Dunedin Leisure Lodge website for more information including cancellation policy.

Commodore Motels & Apartments

Special Delegate Rate valid until 1 April (or until sold):

Studio (King or Queen Bed) NZ$135 room rate per night.
Book directly by emailing Reservations quoting ref:  GEN2017

Standard room charges will apply from 2 April.  Please see the Commodore Motel website for more information including cancellation policy.


Aurora on George

Special Delegate Rate valid until 1 April (or until sold):

Executive Studio (King) NZ$145/NZ$155 (2 people) room rate per night.

Luxury Studio (Super King) NZ$165/NZ$175 (2 people).

Deluxe 1 Bdrm (Super King) NZ$170/NZ$180 (2 People).

Premier 2 Bdrm (2 x Super King) NZ$200/NZ$210 (2 People).

Book directly by emailing Reservations quoting ref:  GEN2017

Standard room charges will apply from 2 April.  Please see the Aurora on George Website for more information including cancellation policy.

Alhambra Oaks

Special Delegate Rate valid until 1 April (or until sold):

Small Studio (Queen) NZ$135

Large Studio (Queen or King) NZ$145

Superior (Super King) NZ$155

Family Apartment (Queen + separate room 2 x singles) NZ$200 

Book directly by emailing Alhambra Oaks quoting ref GEN2017.  Please see the Alhambra Oaks Website for more information including cancellation policy.


There will be a number of sponsorship packages available for this event and a limited number of trade exhibition booths.  Please contact the Conference Organiser for further information.

Call for Papers

Late Posters Accepted until 7 June 2017

Late Poster Online Submission

 (late poster submissions can be submitted via the "Posters" Tab on the Currinda dashboard)

The Organising Committee is pleased to call for papers covering the full diversity of genetics research, and biochemistry and molecular biology research of related interest, for the 2017 annual conference of the GSA, to be held with the NZSBMB in Dunedin 2-6 July 2017.

The 2017 Dunedin Conference will include sessions on ancient DNA, biochemistry, bioinformatics, evolution and development, genomics, law and ethics, microbial, model organisms (development and health) and genetics teaching and public outreach. Sessions will also focus on application in agriculture, ecology and conservation, heritage and medicine.



The Committee invites you to submit abstracts for consideration as an oral or poster presentation.  All submissions will be subject to a selection process by the Committee. The Committee will allocate abstracts to the program taking into account the quality of each abstract and the balance of the programme.

A limited number of poster presenters may have opportunities for short oral presentations during a poster session. There will be a question in the Abstract Submission Form where participation can be indicated.

Oral Presentations

Oral Presentations will be allocated 10 minutes presentation time with additional 5 minutes for Q&A (total 15 minutes). Presenters are advised to include sufficient time within the 15 minutes for questions and discussion from the audience.


Guidelines for Submission:

  • All abstracts are to be submitted via the on-line submission process (see Submit Abstract button)
  • Submission by email, fax or post will not be accepted
  • Abstracts must be no more than 250 words in length
  • Title must not exceed 125 Characters (including spaces)
  • Only one presenting author may be selected
  • Do NOT include symbols, tables, pictures or diagrams within the abstract

The receipt of all abstracts will be confirmed by an acknowledging email. All applicants will be notified of the success or otherwise of their application within the time needed to register within the Early Bird Registration phase. Submissions which are not accepted as an oral presentation may be offered a place as a poster.

Please note that the space available for presentations is limited and preference will be given to papers of the highest quality as judged by the Programme Committee. Authors may only present one oral presentation and unlimited poster presentations.


Prepare your abstract

Abstracts are cut and pasted directly in the Currinda Abstract Management System. You will need:

  • A descriptive presentation title of a up to 125 characters including spaces. Use sentence case
  • The names, organisations, states and email addresses (optional) for each author. 
  • The presentation abstract of no more than 250 words.


Online Abstract Submission

Abstract submission is via the Currinda Event Management System.  If you do not already have a profile you will need to create one in the system before submission.  Please see the Vimeo Video which demonstrates the abstract submission process on Currinda.


GSA Member Students

Travel awards for the Dunedin Conference are available via the GSA Website 



Please ensure that you press ‘Submit’ once you have completed your abstract. Authors will be able to change their submission online up until 20th April 2017. After that date the abstract will be locked and authors will not have access. Authors will be advised by email of outcome on 28 April 2017.


Audiovisual Equipment

Each lecture room will be equipped for the presentation of Power Point slides and include a data projector, computer (with external speakers), lectern and microphone. Multimedia clips should be embedded in your slides. Other audiovisual aids, such as Overhead Projectors, are not available.

Presenters will take their Power Point slides and associated media files to the conference on a memory stick, where an audiovisual technician will load the presentation. All slides will be run from a central presentation computer. However, if you have a complex presentation, which includes multiple media files, we suggest you bring your own laptop as a backup in case of difficulties loading your presentation.

Presenter Registration

All presenters will be required to register for the conference by 5pm 15th May 2017 and pay the appropriate registration fee. Presenters also need to meet their own travel and accommodation costs.

Download Abstract Guidelines (PDF)



Assoc Prof Michael Black
Department of Biochemistry
University of Otago


Dr Monica Gerth (NZSBMB)
Department of Biochemistry
University of Otago 


Dr Wayne Patrick (NZSBMB)
Department of Biochemistry
University of Otago


Dr Anna Santure
School of Biological Science,
University of Auckland


Prof Jonathan Waters
Department of Zoology 
University of Otago

Prof Peter Dearden
Department of Biochemistry
University of Otago


Assoc Prof Christine Jasoni
Department of Anatomy
University of Otago


Prof Stephen Robertson
Clinical Genetics Group
University of Otago


Prof Hamish Spencer
Department of Zoology
University of Otago


Dr Megan Wilson
Department of Anatomy 
University of Otago

Prof Neil Gemmell
Department of Anatomy
University of Otago


Prof Lisa Matisoo-Smith
Department of Anatomy
University of Otago


Prof Clive Ronson
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
University of Otago


David Turner
Department of Biochemistry
University of Otago


Terms & Conditions


The Conference is open to everyone.  Partners may attend the welcome function and conference dinner (partner tickets are available on the registration form).



All fees are in New Zealand Dollars.  Payment will be accepted by credit card (Visa or Mastercard only), direct credit or cheque (must be made out in NZ $).  The earlybird fee will cease to apply from 2 May 2017 – any unpaid registrations at that time will revert to the full registration fee.


Cancellation Policy

Any cancellations or alterations should be put in writing (email) to the Conference Organiser.  



If cancellation of registration is received in writing on or before 1 June 2017 – registration fees less NZ$70 administration fee will be refunded.  From 2 June 2017- no refund of monies paid.  



Accommodation is booked directly with the hotel via the Accommodation Page.  The attendee should note the cancellation policy for the chosen hotel/motel when making the direct booking.  It is the attendees responsibility to notify the hotel directly of any changes to their booking.



Registration fees do not include insurance of any kind.  It is strongly recommended that at the time you register for the conference and book your travel you take out an insurance policy of your choice.  The Annual Conference of the Genetics Society of Australasia with the NZ Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Conference Secretariat cannot take any responsibility for any participant failing to arrange their own insurance.


Disclaimer of Liability

The Organising Committee, including the The Annual Conference of the Genetics Society of Australasia with the NZ Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Conference Secretariat, will not accept liability for damages of any nature sustained by attendees or loss of or damage to their personal property as a result of the conference or related events. If for any reasons beyond the control of the organising committee, the conference is cancelled, registration fees will be refunded after deduction of expenses.