Dr Jonni Hazeline Koia

Research Fellow

Qualifications: PhD (UQ), BSc(Technology), MSc Waikato


About Jonni

Ko Tainui te Waka, ko Taupiri te Maunga. Ko Waikato te Iwi, ko waikato te Awa. He piko he taniwha, he piko he taniwha. Ko Potatau Tewherowhero te Tangata. Waikato Taniwharau!. Nō Rāhui Pokeka ahau. Ko Ngāti whāwhakia te hapu. Ko Te Ohaaki, ko Maurea raua ko Waikare ōku marae. No reira, tena tatou katoa.

I was awarded my PhD in plant molecular biology at the University of Queensland (UQ).  The primary focus of my PhD research was to perform transcript profiling of a pineapple microarray to gain a better understanding of pineapple fruit development at the molecular level.  This was the first large gene expression study to identify numerous genes involved in pineapple ripening and other important biological processes, such as those involved in anti-oxidant and vitamin C production.  I also investigated the molecular function of a number of genes known to be highly up-regulated as pineapple fruit develops in both plant and fruit model systems.

I have recently been awarded a Health Research Council Māori Postdoctoral Fellowship, where my research interests have now turned to rongoā rākau (Māori medicinal plants) that are traditionally known to have anti-diabetic potential.  My project will involve identifying and validating anti-diabetic agents in rongoā rākau using both scientific molecular cell approaches and traditional Māori methodologies.  My project will also actively engage with relevant Maori community to aide in preserving and safeguarding mātauranga Māori of the rongoā rākau under investigation.

Research Interests

My current research interests involves understanding the medicinal properties of rongoā rākau at the molecular cell level and to preserve mātauranga Māori (traditional knowledge) through active engagements within relevant Māori community.


Biochemistry; Molecular Biology; Plants

Rongoā Rākau; Rongoā Māori; Preserving Mātauranga Māori; Māori Community Engagement

Recent Publications

  • Moyle, R. L., Koia, J. H., Vrebalov, J., Giovannoni, J., & Botella, J. R. (2014). The pineapple AcMADS1 promoter confers high level expression in tomato and Arabidopsis flowering and fruiting tissues, but AcMADS1 does not complement the tomato LeMADS-RIN (rin) mutant. Plant Molecular Biology, 86(4-5), 395-407. doi:10.1007/s11103-014-0236-3

  • Koia, J., Moyle, R., Hendry, C., Lim, L., & Botella, J. R. (2013). Pineapple translation factor SUI1 and ribosomal protein L36 promoters drive constitutive transgene expression patterns in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Molecular Biology, 81(4-5), 327-336. doi:10.1007/s11103-012-0002-3

  • Koia, J. H., Moyle, R. L., & Botella, J. R. (2012). Microarray analysis of gene expression profiles in ripening pineapple fruits. BMC Plant Biology, 12(1), 13 pages. doi:10.1186/1471-2229-12-240

  • Moyle, R. L., Crowe, M. L., Ripi-Koia, J., Fairbairn, D. J., & Botella, J. R. (2005). PineappleDB: An online pineapple bioinformatics resource. BMC Plant Biology, 5. doi:10.1186/1471-2229-5-21

View All research publications by Jonni Koia

Contact Details

Room: D.1.05A
Phone: +64 7 858 5138