Sam Murray

Sam Murray

Analytical Chemist – Research and Development

Role at Cawthron

Sam is an analytical chemist with over 15 years’ experience in internationally accredited laboratories, having held senior roles such as laboratory manager and technical consultant.

Sam’s unique combination of technical and analytical chemistry expertise has led him to develop and validate a wide range of methods on state-of-the-art instrumentation for various key primary industries in New Zealand.

His research primarily focuses on marine biotoxins produced from harmful algal blooms. This includes chemical analysis using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), compound discovery and structural characterisation, and the bioaccumulation of these biotoxins in marine species and their trophic transfer up the marine food web.

Sam’s current work within MBIE’s Safe New Zealand Seafood programme is aimed at enhancing the understanding of microalgal species abundance, distribution, and toxicity in the South Pacific Ocean, in particular the species associated with ciguatera fish poisoning.

Sam is also a Senior Pacific Consultant and manages Cawthron’s Pacific Kete, a cross group initiative to help improve the scientific capabilities of Pacific Nations.

Technical skills

  • Compound discovery and characterisation
  • Natural product isolation and purification
  • Sampling of marine micro- and macro-algae, invertebrates, fish, and other aquatic organisms
  • Method development and validation


  • PhD candidate (Analytical Chemistry), University of Waikato, 2019
  • BSc in Chemistry (First Class Honours), University of Waikato, 2018
  • Graduate Diploma in Chemistry. University of Waikato, 2015
  • National Diploma in Science (Chemistry and Microbiology). Otago Polytechnic, 2004

Sam Murray