MacKenzie earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology (1983) from New Mexico State University and a PhD in Immunology/Virology from the University of New Mexico (1990). Post-Doctoral research was conducted at the University of Wisconsin.
MacKenzie's research is centered on understanding mechanisms of immune dysregulation induced by environmental exposure to environmental metals and metalloids such as uranium and arsenic. Ongoing studies include investigations into immune dysregulation and development of biomarkers of autoimmunity within three tribal communities (Navajo Nation, Cheyenne River Sioux, and Crow Nation) as part of the Center for Native American Environmental Health Equity P50 Center, studying how environmental metals interact with zinc-binding proteins with immune regulatory function as part of the UNM METALS Superfund Center, and investigating the effects of pre- and postnatal exposure to uranium and other metals on birth outcome and child development-potentially mediated by altered immune function. Other research interests relate to the potential for targeting degradation of the androgen receptor as a potential therapeutic approach for prostate cancer and identification of novel approaches for cancer chemotherapy.