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Dr Theresa Pankhurst

Dr Theresa Pankhurst (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou) received her PhD from Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington under the supervision of Dr Lisa Connor in 2021. Her thesis investigated the potential for innate-like T-cells residing in the lung to be harnessed as adjuvants in mucosal vaccines.

In 2020 Theresa joined the Vaccine Alliance Aotearoa NZ – Ohu Kaupare Huaketo (VAANZ) and is currently a postdoctoral researcher working within the Vaccine Evaluation team of VAANZ under supervision of Dr Lisa Connor.

Theresa is the inaugural Te Urungi Churchill College By-Fellow, a fellowship established by the Malaghan Institute’s Māori advisory group Te Urungi that aims to strengthen relationships between the Malaghan Institute and Māori communities to ultimately improve health outcomes for Māori. As Te Urungi Fellow Theresa is currently seconded to the Babraham Institute at the University of Cambridge.



Pankhurst TE, Buick KH, Lange JL, Marshall AJ, Button KR, Palmer OR, Farrand KJ, Montgomerie I, Bird TW, Mason NC, Kuang J, Compton BJ, Comoletti D, Salio M, Cerundolo V, Quiñones-Mateu ME, Painter GF, Hermans IF, Connor LM (2023). MAIT cells activate dendritic cells to promote TFH cell differentiation and induce humoral immunity. Cell Rep. 42(4):112310

Montgomerie I, Bird TW, Palmer OR, Mason NC, Pankhurst TE, Lawley B, Hernández LC, Harfoot R, Authier-Hall A, Anderson DE, Hilligan KL, Buick KH, Mbenza NM, Mittelstädt G, Maxwell S, Sinha S, Kuang J, Subbarao K, Parker EJ, Sher A, Hermans IF, Ussher JE, Quiñones-Mateu ME, Comoletti D, Connor LM; On behalf theVAANZ Group (2023). Incorporation of SARS-CoV-2 spike NTD to RBD Protein Vaccine Improves Immunity Against Viral Variants. iScience. 26(4):106256