School of Medical Sciences

Research in the Department of Physiology


Research banner 6

Physiology is a research-based science which depends on the acquisition of knowledge by observation and controlled, properly designed experiments, paired with subsequent valid interpretation of experimental observations. We employ state of the art methods and staff are regularly invited to international symposia to present their research work to expert audiences.

All research in the Department of Physiology is directed towards understanding fundamental mechanisms directly relevant to human and animal medicine.


Physiology research groups

Research group Principal investigator/s
Basal Ganglia Neurophysiology Laboratory Prof Janusz Lipski and Dr Peter Freestone

Brain Development and Repair Group

Dr Justin Dean

Cardiac Energetics Assoc Prof Denis Loiselle
Cardiac Nanobiology Group Dr David Crossman
Cardiac Structure and Function Prof Ian LeGrice and Prof Bruce Smaill
Cardio-vascular Autonomic Research Cluster Dr Carolyn Barrett, Dr Sarah-Jane Guild, Prof Simon Malpas, Dr Fiona McBryde, Prof Julian Paton, Dr Rohit Ramchandra
Cellular and Molecular Cardiology Dr Kim Mellor
Cerebro-Vascular Control Laboratory Dr Fiona McBryde
Circulatory Control Laboratory Dr Carolyn Barrett

Fetal physiology and neuroscience group

Prof Laura Bennet and Prof Alistair Gunn

Human Physiology Laboratory Assoc Prof James Fisher
Inner Ear Therapeutics Assoc Prof Srdjan Vlajkovic
Molecular Neuroendocrinology Assoc Prof Kathy Mountjoy
Molecular Vision Laboratory Prof Paul Donaldson, Dr Julie Lim and Dr Angus Grey
Muscle Cell Function Dr Marie Ward
Perinatal Molecular Neuroscience Research Group Assoc Prof Mhoyra Fraser
Synaptic Function Research Group Assoc Prof Johanna Montgomery
Translational Cardio-Respiratory Laboratory Prof Julian Paton


Research opportunities for students

Opportunities for undertaking research in physiology are available at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, with work from such projects contributing to publications in international journals. Some research opportunities for students are listed below:

·       Summer studentships

·       Honours research projects

·       Masters and PhD research projects


Funding bodies

Research conducted by the Department of Physiology is made possible by the support of the following granting bodies:

  • Health Research Council of New Zealand
    The HRC is the major government-funded agency responsible for purchasing and co-ordinating health research and fostering the health research workforce in New Zealand.
  • The Marsden Fund 
    The Marsden Fund was set up to support excellence in research and researchers
  • The Maurice & Phyllis Paykel Trust
    The Maurice & Phyllis Paykel Trust is a charitable trust dedicated to the advancement of the health sciences in New Zealand, chiefly through support of innovative research in medical and paramedical fields.
  • Auckland Medical Research Foundation
    The Auckland Medical Research Foundation is an independent organisation committed to the promotion of medical research in Auckland. The purpose of the Foundation is to improve the health of New Zealanders through funding the highest quality medical research of all kinds.
  • Lotteries Health Board, New Zealand
  • The University of Auckland Staff Research Fund
  • The Neurological Foundation of New Zealand
    The Neurological Foundation of New Zealand is an independent body that raises money to support neurological research and education in New Zealand. The Foundation is funded by individual New Zealanders, with more than 95% of contributions coming from donations and bequests.
  • The Wellcome Trust