Prof John Munday staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (06) 356 9099  ext. 85172

Prof John Munday PhD, BVSc

Professor in Veterinary Pathobiology

School of Veterinary Science

Head of Research Groups

School of Veterinary Science

I am a Diplomate of the ACVP and so am a boarded veterinary pathologist. This means I have a good knowledge of the pathogenesis and diagnosis of a wide variety of endemic and exotic animal diseases. I have approximately 15 years' experience as a diagnostic pathologist and have worked as a diagnostic pathologist in both New Zealand and in the United States of America. Using my pathology background, I have previously collaborated with studies examining tissues from a variety of animal species including mice, rats, rabbits, sheep, and horses. Currently, my main research interests are the diagnosis and prognostic markers for neoplasia in companion animals and the role of  infectious agents in the development of cancer in domestic species. I recently wrote a chapter in the premier textbook in veterinary cancer pathology and have a broad knowledge of the diagnostic techniques and prognostic markers available both in veterinary medicine as well as for some cancers of people. My interest in infectious diseases has resulted in me establishing an association between papillomavirus infection and skin cancer in cats and much of my current research is further validating that relationship and developing clinical applications for this knowledge. During this time I have developed skills in molecular biology and I was the first to fully sequence and classify two papillomaviruses from domestic cats. I was also the first to prove that the papillomavirus that causes feline sarcoids has a bovine definitive host. Overall, I have authored 84 peer-reviewed manuscripts and currently have a group of 3 PhD students for which I am the chief supervisor.

I am a veterinary pathologist who is boarded by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. As such I have a good knowledge of a wide range of diseases of animal species. I have 15 years' experience in the diagnosis of animal diseases, both in New Zealand as well as in the United States of America. I am a recognised expert of cancer biology and pathology and have publised  book chapters on both subjects. My other research focus is investigating a role of infectious agents in the development of cancer in animals.  

More about me...View less...


Contact details

  • Ph: 0064 6 356 9099 ext 85172
    Location: 7.28, Vet tower
    Campus: Tiritea


  • Doctor of Philosophy - Massey University (2001)
  • Bachelor of Veterinary Science - Massey University (1994)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

The role of infectious agents in the development of cancer.

The role of papillomaviruses in the development of diseases of animals.

The role of genetic factors in the development of cancer in companion animals.

The classification of cancer of domestic animals.

The identification of prognostic factors for predicting the behaviour of cancers of domestic animals.

Diseases of the skin of domestic animals.

Diseases of the cardiovascular system of domestic animals.

Genetic diseases of cats.  

Collaborative research developing and using histological scoring schemes to classify lesions in animal models of human disease.


21st Century Citizenship, Health and Well-being

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences (070000): Veterinary Diagnosis and Diagnostics (070703): Veterinary Immunology (070705): Veterinary Medicine (070706): Veterinary Pathology (070709): Veterinary Sciences (070700): Veterinary Virology (070712)


Veterinary pathology

Veterinary oncology




Animal models


Lesion grading

Lesion classification

Toxicological studies

Inflammation scoring

Wound healing

Image analysis






Genetic diseases

Intestinal neoplasia

Oral neoplasia

Skin cancer






Horse penis




Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 5 14
Team Member 0 2

Completed Projects

Project Title: Does a papillomaviral etiology influence the biological behaviour and prognosis of feline nasal skin cancer

In humans, oral SCCs are either caused by papillomavirus (PV) infection or by other carcinogens such as tobacco. As these two groups of SCCs have different causes they also have different clinical behaviors. Immunostaining using anti-p16CDKN2A protein (p16) antibodies is used to indicate a PV etiology in human oral SCCs and p16-positive SCCs have a more favorable prognosis. The present study investigated whether p16 immunostaining within feline nasal planum SCCs was similarly associated with the presence of PV DNA and with a longer survival time. Intense p16 immunostaining was visible in 32 of 51 (63%) SCCs. In 30 cats with non-excised SCCs, cats with p16-positive neoplasms had a longer estimated mean survival time (643 days) than cats with p16-negative SCCs (217 days, p=0.013). Papillomavirus DNA was amplified more frequently from p16-positive nasal planum SCCs (28 of 32) than p16-negative SCCs (5 of 19, p<0.001). The different survival times in cats with p16-positive and p16-negative SCCs suggests that p16 could be a useful prognostic indicator in these common feline cancers. As the clinical behavior of the SCCs can be subdivided using p16 immunostaining, the two groups of SCCs may be caused by different factors supporting a PV etiology in a proportion of feline nasal planum SCCs.
Read Project Description Hide Project Description

Date Range: 2012 - 2012

Funding Body: Massey University

Project Team:

Project Title: Papillomaviruses, p16, and skin cancer in cats

Although papillomaviral (PV) DNA is frequently present in feline cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), a causative association cannot be proven. Oncogenic human PVs cause neoplastic transformation by inhibiting retinoblastoma (pRb) and p53 activity. Therefore, absence of pRb and p53 immunostaining, along with increased p16 immunostaining, indicates a PV etiology in some human SCCs. If PVs cause cutaneous feline SCCs, it was hypothesized that a similar immunohistochemistry profile, along with PV DNA, would be detectable. This was investigated using 5 feline viral plaques, 10 Bowenoid in situ carcinomas, 19 SCCs from UV-exposed skin and 11 SCCs from UV-protected skin. Papillomaviral DNA was amplified by PCR from 30 of 45 lesions. Reduced pRb immunostaining was present in 26 of 45, increased p16 immunostaining in 30, and p53 immunostaining in 19. Both reduced pRb immunostaining and increased p16 immunostaining were more frequent in lesions containing PV DNA. In contrast, no association between p53 immunostaining and the presence of PV DNA was observed. SCCs from UV-protected skin more frequently contained PV DNA, reduced pRb, and increased p16 than UV-exposed SCCs. UV-exposure was not associated with p53 immunostaining within the SCCs. These results suggest feline PVs alter cell regulation by degrading pRb. Unlike oncogenic human PVs, there was no evidence that feline PVs degrade p53. These results provide further evidence that PVs may cause feline cutaneous SCCs, especially those in UV-protected skin, and suggest a possible mechanism of this oncogenic action.
Read Project Description Hide Project Description

Date Range: 2010 - 2011

Funding Body: Massey University

Project Team:

Research Outputs





Teaching and Supervision

Teaching Statement

I teach into the final year necropsy rotation as well as the third year veterinary pathology course. In the third year course the sections that I teach include oncology in general pathology and the skin, endocrine, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems in systemic pathology.

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Supervisor 4 3
Co-supervisor 1 0

Current Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • Ivayla Yozova - Doctor of Philosophy
    Methods for assessment of endothelial glycocalyx integrity in cats
  • Herath Ariyarathna - Doctor of Philosophy
    Prognostic impact of mast cell indices on canine mammary tumors
  • Cara Brosnahan - Doctor of Philosophy
    Diagnostic investigation into summer mortality events of farmed Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in New Zealand.
  • Jonathan Bray - Doctor of Philosophy
    Understanding the prognosis and progression of soft tissue sarcoma in the dog

Co-supervisor of:

  • Benjamin Bridgeman - Doctor of Philosophy
    Molecular and Immunological studies of Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • 2017 - Neroli Thomson - Doctor of Philosophy
    Felis catus Papillomavirus Type 2 Infection and Skin Cancer in Domestic Cats
  • 2016 - Cameron Knight - Doctor of Philosophy
    The Association Between Equine Papillomavirus Type 2 and Equine Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • 2013 - Danielle Aberdein - Doctor of Philosophy
    Investigations of a novel lymphoproliferative disease in British shorthair kittens

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