Associate Professor Bronwen Connor named a Member of New Zealand Order of Merit

07 June 2018
Bronwen raw

“It is a great honour and I am moved by the recognition”, Associate Professor Connor said, after hearing the news of this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Associate Professor Connor has worked at the Centre for Brain Research since 2009 and at Auckland University for nearly two decades, starting in 2000. She is head of the Neural Reprogramming and Repair Lab and Director of the Centre for Brain Research Educational Outreach.

With a background in neuropharmacology, Connor leads a research team investigating gene therapies and stem cell replacement therapies for conditions like Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease and depression.

Associate Professor Connor’s pioneering work includes developing a process which transforms adult skin cells into neural stem cells. This process removes the risks of immune rejection often associated with stem cell treatments, since it harvests the patient’s own skin cells. She has also pioneered the use of pharmacological agents, such as anti-psychotic drugs, for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and identified potential drug targets for faster treatment of patients with depression.

In addition to her pioneering research work, Associate Professor Connor developed the ‘Being Brainy’ online learning programme used in over 150 primary and intermediate schools across New Zealand.