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Jan Powell


Jan earned her BSc, MSc and PhD in microbiology from the University of Otago and her MPH in epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg school of Public Health in Baltimore MD, USA.


Jan’s research interests focus on understanding how hazards (microorganisms, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, particles etc) interact with human cells and what those interactions tell us about the effects of these hazards on human health. She is leading the Advanced Cell Systems programme which uses state-of-the-art and innovative organ-on-a-chip technology to emulate human organ systems and is initially studying the virulence of food-borne pathogens in a human intestinal model. The organ-on-a-chip technology has broad research applications across infectious diseases, pharmacology, toxicology and environmental health, and Jan is keen to develop collaborations in these areas. Previously at ESR, Jan managed the Environmental Health Schedule for the Ministry of Health which includes science services and projects across hazardous products, climate change, water quality, social systems, and air quality. This work contributes to the development of policies, standards, guidelines, legislation and protocols, and supports the work performed by public health units. She also contributes to projects and reports on a variety of food safety topics for the New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre, the Ministry for Primary Industry, and other clients. Prior to joining ESR Jan’s career spanned academia, the pharmaceutical industry, and public health. She is also an inventor on three patent families.