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Associate Professor Gill Norris staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (06) 356 9099  ext. 84711

Associate Professor Gill Norris DipBusAdmin, PhD, MSc, BSc

Associate Professor

School of Fundamental Sciences

I am a structural biologist with interests in the relationship between protein structure and function.  I have expertise in protein purification and crystallisation, enzyme kinetics, and a new found enthusiasm for proteomics fuelled by our newly equipped state of the art mass spectrometry laboratory.  My pet project of the moment centres around glycocin GccF, a novel diglycosylated antimicrobial molecule whose activity is dependent on its glycans.  We have characterised its activity, its structure, and partially unravelled its mode of action in susceptible cells and are currently working to find the final piece of the puzzle. 

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  • Diploma in Business and Administration - Massey University (1994)
  • Doctor of Philosophy - Massey University (1983)
  • Master of Science - Massey University (1976)
  • Bachelor of Science - Massey University (1971)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

Structural biology, Protein Biochemistry, Proteomics, Glycobiology, Protein Expression and Purification, Enzyme kinetics, Protein Crystallisation, x-ray crystallography, Bacteriocins, Antimicrobial peptides, Analytical Biochemistry, Spectroscopy

Research Opportunities

  • PhD Scholarship  (26/10/2015) A PhD scholarship s available in my laboratory. It aims to determine unravel the molecular mechanism used by glycocin F to effectively shut down the growth of target bacteria.


Health and Well-being

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Analytical Biochemistry (060101): Biochemistry and Cell Biology (060100): Biochemistry and Cell Biology not elsewhere classified (060199): Biological Sciences (060000): Enzymes (060107): Microbiology (060500): Microbiology not elsewhere classified (060599): Proteomics and Intermolecular Interactions (excl. Medical Proteomics) (060109): Receptors and Membrane Biology (060110): Structural Biology (incl. Macromolecular Modelling) (060112)


Structural biology, Protein Biochemistry, Proteomics, Glycobiology, Protein Expression and Purification, Enzyme kinetics, Protein Crystallisation, x-ray crystallography, Bacteriocins, Antimicrobial peptides, Analytical Biochemistry, CD Spectroscopy, Mass Spectrometry

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 3 13
Team Member 0 5

Completed Projects

Project Title: Proteins from pieces: subdomain assembly in the evolution of protein structure

Date Range: 2010 - 2012

Funding Body: Marsden Fund - Full

Project Team:

Project Title: Glycocins? Yeah Right

Bacteriocins are small antimicrobial peptides produced by almost all bacterial species. We have found a new bacterocin family in which the peptides are modified by glycosyltransferases, and have coined the name glycocins for these glycosylated bacteriocins. Glycocin F, produced by a Lactobacillus plantarum strain, is a founding member of this class of bacteriocins, and contains two residues that are each modified by a GlcNAc sugar: (1) the hydroxyl oxygen of an internal serine, (still a relatively unusual modification in prokaryotes), and (2) the thiol sulfur of the C-terminal cysteine (a modification that is rare in biology). Both sugar modifications contribute to the antimicrobial activity of glycocin F. We have identified a gene, gccA, encoding a glycosyltransferase (GTase) predicted to be responsible for these modifications. Our MURF funding was used to quantitate the expression of gccF and other gcc genes, and to produce recombinant GccA for structural and biochemical characterisation. It was also used to clone and produce recombinant peptide GTases from other species secreting putative glycocins, including Enterococcus faecalis V583.
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Date Range: 2009 - 2012

Funding Body: Massey University

Project Team:

Research Outputs

Consultancy and Languages


  • English
    Last used: Today
    Spoken ability: Excellent
    Written ability: Excellent

Teaching and Supervision

Teaching Statement

I am paper coordinator for 122.232 Protein Biochemistry, and teach into 122322, Protein Structure and Function, 122327, Molecular and Cellular biology, 122.704, Molecular cell Biology, 203,328, Genome Analysis, and 123712, Chemistry and NanoScience.

I supervise Kevin Ma (MSc), and am joint supervisor of Jack Somerton (MSc), Marc Bailie (MSc), Renee Atua (MSc) and Shelly Grace (MSc).

I co-supervise Dongfong Chao (PhD), Hanan Kayed (PhD), Taryn Miller (PhD), Sofia Khanum (PhD), Faya Ngonidzashe (PhD) and Bishwa Subedi (PhD)

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Supervisor 1 7
Co-supervisor 1 12

Current Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • Jennifer Tu - Doctor of Philosophy
    Understanding the molecular mechanism of an environmentally friendly method for preserving and depilating sheep skin: the advantages and disadvantages for the New Zealand leather industry.

Co-supervisor of:

  • Jatnika Hermawan - Doctor of Philosophy
    1. The Elucidation of Proton-Coupled Electron-Transfer Mechanism in MnSOD through Structural Analysis of MnSODs 2. The Analysis of the Process of Inquiry based Learning from Students' Conversations in a Biochemistry Labs

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • 2019 - Sean Bisset - Doctor of Philosophy
    Understanding the mechanism of action of the glycosylated bacteriocin glycocin F
  • 2019 - Stuart Brown - Doctor of Philosophy
    A search for biomarkers of ovine pre-partum vaginal prolapse
  • 2017 - Rafea Naffa - Doctor of Philosophy
    Understanding the Molecular Basis of the Strength Differences in Skins Used in Leather Manufacture
  • 2010 - Jana Filitcheva - Doctor of Philosophy
    PNGases: A diverse family of enzymes related by function rather than catalytic mechanism
  • 2009 - Judith Stepper - Doctor of Philosophy
    The molecular and cellular characterisation of the first glycocin: Plantaricin KW30
  • 2008 - Matthew Bennett - Doctor of Philosophy
    The Structure and Function of Esterases from Lactic Acid Bacteria
  • 2007 - Andrew Robertson - Doctor of Philosophy
    The bovine spliceosomal U1 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particle: a study of its autoantigenicity and biochemical properties.

Co-supervisor of:

  • 2019 - Ngonidzashe Faya - Doctor of Philosophy
    The reproductive biology and venom system of the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis
  • 2019 - Bishwa Subedi - Doctor of Philosophy
    Structural and functional studies of pseudomurein peptide ligases in methanogenic archaea
  • 2019 - Taryn Miller - Doctor of Philosophy
    Insect bioactive capabilities of Epichloë festucae var lolii AR48 infected Lolium perenne
  • 2017 - Hanan Kayed - Doctor of Philosophy
    The Effects Cross Linking on Collagen Type I Nanostructure and Nanostructural Response to Uniaxial Tension
  • 2015 - Sofia Khanum - Doctor of Philosophy
    Characterization of the secretins, large outer membrane channels of Gram-negative bacteria
  • 2014 - Mayank Saraswat - Doctor of Philosophy
    In search of novel folds:Protein evolution via non-homologous recombination
  • 2013 - Melissa Basil-Jones - Doctor of Philosophy
    Fibrillar collagen structure in ovine leather and related materials and its relationship to strength
  • 2011 - Pattamawadee Tananchai - Doctor of Philosophy
    Stablization of enzymes by chemical modifications
  • 2009 - Alice Clark - Doctor of Philosophy
    The filamin A actin binding domain structure and function: Implications for a gain-of-function mechanism for the otopalatodigital syndrome spectrum disorders
  • 2009 - Richard Edmonds - Doctor of Philosophy
    Proteolytic depilation of lambskins
  • 2008 - Verena Peters - Doctor of Philosophy
    Polyester synthases and polyester granule assembly
  • 2007 - Mee Ahn - Doctor of Philosophy
    Sustrate Analogues As Mechanistic Probes For 3-Deoxy-D-Arabino-Heptulosonate 7-Phosphate Synthase And 3-Deoxy-D-Manno-Octulosonate 8-Phosphate Synthase

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