Dr Dragana Gagic staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (06) 356 9099  ext. 84611

Dr Dragana Gagic PhD, MSc

Senior Lecturer in Microbiology

School of Fundamental Sciences

Senior Lecturer in Microbiology

School of Veterinary Science

Expertise in display technologies and protein-protein interactions, next-generation sequencing (2nd and 3rd generation), bioinformatics. These skills are applied to microbial ecology, probiotics, metagenomics and microbial functional genomics. 

General and enviromental microbiology researcher and PI with independent research programme in microbial ecology, metagenomics, host-microbial interactions and bacteriophage-related technologies. 

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Contact details

  • Location: C3.19, Science Tower C
    Campus: Manawatu


  • Doctor of Philosophy - Massey University (2009)
  • Master of Science with Distinction - University of Canterbury (1999)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

  • Microbial community structure of animal and human microbiota
  • Methanogens and their impact on enteric methane emission
  • Microbiota that is responsible for fibre degradation, propionate production and protein metabolism. Specifically, a focus is on the identification of the involvement of microbes available in culture (Hungate 1000 project)
  • Decoding interactions of segmented filamentous bacteria with the host 

Research Opportunities

  • Microbial community of biofeed for marbling of beef meat  (01/08/2020) Microbiological and genomic characterization of samples of micro-biofeed mixtures used to produce marble beef and isolation of dominant bacteria strains.


Health and Well-being, Future Food Systems

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Bacteriology (060501): Biological Sciences (060000): Genetics (060400): Genomics (060408): Microbial Ecology (060504): Microbial Genetics (060503): Microbiology (060500)


microbiology, microbial ecology, metagenomics, genomics, phage display, host-microbial interactions 

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 2 0

Research Outputs


Gagic, D., Ciric, M., Wen, WX., Ng, F., & Rakonjac, J. (2016). Corrigendum to "Exploring the secretomes of microbes and microbial communities using filamentous phage display" [Front. Microbiol. 2016, 7:429. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00429]. Frontiers in Microbiology. 7(JUN)
[Journal article]Authored by: Gagic, D., Rakonjac, J.
Gagic, D., Ciric, M., Wen, WX., Ng, F., & Rakonjac, J. (2016). Exploring the secretomes of microbes and microbial communities using filamentous phage display. Frontiers in Microbiology. 7(APR)
[Journal article]Authored by: Gagic, D., Rakonjac, J.
Ng, F., Kittelmann, S., Patchett, ML., Attwood, GT., Janssen, PH., Rakonjac, J., . . . Gagic, D. (2016). An adhesin from hydrogen-utilizing rumen methanogen Methanobrevibacter ruminantium M1 binds a broad range of hydrogen-producing microorganisms. Environmental microbiology. 18(9), 3010-3021
[Journal article]Authored by: Gagic, D., Rakonjac, J.
Gagic, D., Maclean, PH., Li, D., Attwood, GT., & Moon, CD. (2015). Improving the genetic representation of rare taxa within complex microbial communities using DNA normalization methods. Molecular Ecology Resources. 15(3), 464-476
[Journal article]Authored by: Gagic, D.
Henderson, G., Cox, F., Ganesh, S., Jonker, A., Young, W., Janssen, PH., . . . Okunade, S. (2015). Rumen microbial community composition varies with diet and host, but a core microbiome is found across a wide geographical range. Scientific Reports. 5
[Journal article]Authored by: Gagic, D.
Henderson, G., Cox, F., Ganesh, S., Jonker, A., Young, W., Janssen, PH., . . . Mizrahi, I. (2015). Erratum: Rumen microbial community composition varies with diet and host, but a core microbiome is found across a wide geographical range. Scientific Reports. 6
[Journal article]Authored by: Gagic, D.
Shi, W., Moon, CD., Leahy, SC., Kang, D., Froula, J., Kittelmann, S., . . . Rubin, EM. (2014). Methane yield phenotypes linked to differential gene expression in the sheep rumen microbiome. Genome Research. 24(9), 1517-1525
[Journal article]Authored by: Gagic, D.
Ciric, M., Moon, CD., Leahy, SC., Creevey, CJ., Altermann, E., Attwood, GT., . . . Gagic, D. (2014). Metasecretome-selective phage display approach for mining the functional potential of a rumen microbial community. BMC Genomics. 15(1)
[Journal article]Authored by: Gagic, D., Rakonjac, J.
Gagic, D., Wen, W., Collett, MA., & Rakonjac, J. (2013). Unique secreted-surface protein complex of Lactobacillus rhamnosus, identified by phage display. MicrobiologyOpen. 2(1), 1-17
[Journal article]Authored by: Gagic, D., Rakonjac, J.
Bennett, NJ., Gagic, D., Sutherland-Smith, AJ., & Rakonjac, J. (2011). Characterization of a dual-function domain that mediates membrane insertion and excision of Ff filamentous bacteriophage. Journal of Molecular Biology. 411(5), 972-985
[Journal article]Authored by: Gagic, D., Rakonjac, J., Sutherland-Smith, A.
Rakonjac, J., Bennett, NJ., Spagnuolo, J., Gagic, D., & Russel, M. (2011). Filamentous bacteriophage: biology, phage display and nanotechnology applications.. Current issues in molecular biology. 13(2), 51-76
[Journal article]Authored by: Gagic, D., Rakonjac, J.
Spagnuolo, J., Opalka, N., Wen, WX., Gagic, D., Chabaud, E., Bellini, P., . . . Rakonjac, J. (2010). Identification of the gate regions in the primary structure of the secretin pIV. Molecular Microbiology. 76(1), 133-150
[Journal article]Authored by: Gagic, D., Norris, G., Rakonjac, J.
Jankovic, D., Collett, MA., Lubbers, MW., & Rakonjac, J. (2007). Direct selection and phage display of a Gram-positive secretome. Genome Biology. 8(R266)
[Journal article]Authored by: Gagic, D., Rakonjac, J.
Savill, MG., Hudson, JA., Ball, A., Klena, JD., Scholes, P., Whyte, RJ., . . . Gagic, D. (2001). Enumeration of Campylobacter in New Zealand recreational and drinking waters. Journal of Applied Microbiology. , 38-46
[Journal article]Authored by: Gagic, D.


Ciric, M., Ng, F., Rakonjac, J., & Gagic, D. (2018). Metasecretome phage display. In Methods in Molecular Biology. (pp. 519 - 534).
[Chapter]Authored by: Gagic, D., Rakonjac, J.


Tu, Y., Ahn, M., Patchett, ML., Naffa, R., Gagic, D., & Norris, GE.The use of natural products in the leather industry: Depilation without damage. 35th IULTCS Congress 2019: "Benign by Design" Leather - The Future Through Science and Technology.
[Conference]Authored by: Gagic, D., Norris, G.
Moon, CD., Gagic, D., Ciric, M., Noel, S., Summers, EL., Li, D., . . . Attwood, GT. (2014). Exploring rumen microbe-derived fibre degrading activities for improving feed digestibility. In J. Roche (Ed.) Proceedings of the 5th Australasian Dairy Science Symposium 2014. (pp. 377 - 379). : Australasian Dairy Science Symposium 2014
[Conference Paper in Published Proceedings]Authored by: Gagic, D., Rakonjac, J.

Consultancy and Languages


  • December 2017 - Current - Pure Nature Pasture Ltd
    Training of PNP staff in microbiology techniques and leading microbiome studies related to animal feed


  • Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian
    Last used: current
    Spoken ability: Excellent
    Written ability: Excellent

Teaching and Supervision

Teaching Statement

My primary goal as an educator is to create a classroom environment in which students can achieve their potential and learn to think as scientist.

The traditional lecture is an important component of any of my classes. I usually introduce “in lecture questions” which help focus students’ attention and boost the lecture attendance. I believe that these questions solidify acquired knowledge of previous topic and give students a good introduction into the subsequent topic. 

One of my prerogatives in undergraduate teaching is to enable students to experience a setting that corresponds to “real-life” situation in science jobs. To achieve this, I have designed project-based laboratory for the Environmental Microbiology (162.304) students. They are only given samples, starting literature and final questions to answer in the form of a report. Students are in charge of planning the experiments, time management, choosing appropriate methods and equipment, and participating in the teamwork. In student evaluations for the past two years, multiple students wrote that lab project stood out as one of the most memorable and effective.


Courses Coordinated

  • 162.304 Applied and Environmental Microbiology
  • 162.704 Current Topics in Microbiology

Graduate Supervision Statement

I have closely mentored >15 postgraduate students. The very first thing that I try to encourage them to do is to question everything, and I strive to do the same. Asking questions hinting at the limitations of a study can help a student logically deduce the next step in refining it. My expectations of all postgraduate students are that they engage in rigorous literature reviewing and integration of the acquired knowledge into their research project, as required, throughout the study programme. This process teaches students to critically review the relevant articles and help with modifying their original hypotheses, if appropriate. As a postgraduate supervisor, my practice is to have an open door policy and weekly meetings, and monthly meetings with all co-supervisors.

Besides thinking as a scientist, postgraduate students should be introduced to important components of a science job beyond the bench, such as grant and manuscript writing, budget management, and conference presentations. My students are encouraged to apply for scholarships, travel funds and awards as a practice for grant proposal writing. To practise budget management students are given estimated budget for each year and expected to monitor the consumables expenditure. Another important aspect of scientific career is publishing. I encourage each PhD student to publish three peer-reviewed journal articles (one literature mini-review in the first year of study and two original research articles from results of the doctorate) and present their work at national and international conferences.


Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Main Supervisor 0 1
Co-supervisor 6 1

Current Doctoral Supervision

Co-supervisor of:

  • Dan Wang - Doctor of Philosophy
    Biofilm Formation Mechanisms of Vibrio Parahaemolyticus Isolated from New Zealand Seafood Products
  • Yiying Huang - Doctor of Philosophy
    The mechanism for spore formation and toxin production in biofilms of Bacillus cereus
  • Laura Payling - Doctor of Philosophy
    The effects of human methane excretion and dietary fibre on the composition and functionality of the human gut microbiota
  • 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.
  • Jorge Bresciano Kauffman - Doctor of Philosophy
    The role of floral microorganisms in plant-pollinator interactions

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Main Supervisor of:

  • 2017 - Filomena Ng - Doctor of Philosophy
    Identification and functional characterization of adhesins involved in attachment of methanogens to rumen protozoa

Co-supervisor of:

  • 2018 - Sandeep Kumar - Doctor of Philosophy
    Physiology of rumen bacteria associated with low methane emitting sheep

Contact us Mon - Fri 8:30am to 4:30pm 0800 MASSEY (+64 6 350 5701) TXT 5222 contact@massey.ac.nz Web chat Staff Alumni News Māori @ Massey