University of Otago.Department of Physiology.Department of Physiology.

Physiology TV

An overview of Physiology at the University of Otago.

News

13th November, 2017

Otago study could mean hope for infertile couples

Crucial new information about how the brain controls fertility has been unlocked by University of Otago researchers, with their findings just published in prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

13th November, 2017

Phenomenal success for Physiology researchers in latest Marsden funding round

Four 3-year project grants were awarded to Department of Physiology researchers in this year’s Marsden Fund - totalling over $3.8M.

25th October, 2017

Charlotte Steel, BSc (Hons) NEUR student in the Department has gained a Cambridge Rutherford Memorial PhD Scholarship

Our congratulations to Charlotte who is currently completing a BSc (Hons) degree in Neuroscience in the Department of Physiology with supervisor Assoc Prof Phil Sheard.

8th September, 2017

PhD student wins two awards at Queenstown Research Week

Congratulations to Mauro Silva, PhD student in the Department of Physiology. Mauro is supervised by Dr Rebecca Campbell.

8th September, 2017

Triennial Medal awarded to Professor Colin Brown

Congratulations to Colin who as been chosen by the Physiological Society of NZ (PSNZ) to be the recipient of the NZ Triennial Medal.

Next Event

20th November, 2017

Dr Jenny Clarkson (Department of Physiology)

 
PhD Programme.

News

23rd June, 2017

Two HRC Project Grants awarded to Physiology Professor

Two HRC Project Grants awarded to Physiology Professor

Congratulations to Professor Allan Herbison who is the recipient of two Health Research Council of NZ (HRC) Project Grants totalling almost $2.6 million.

Both projects provide 3-years of funding. Details of the projects are:

GnRH neuron control of ovulation ($1,167,633):

Nearly 40% of women suffering form infertility are unable to ovulate normally. While it is known that the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons in the brain control fertility, the molecular and cellular characteristics of the sub-population of GnRH neurons that drive ovulation are not established. This project aims to identify and characterize the specific GnRH neurons responsible for generating the "GnRH surge" that initiates ovulation. This will be achieved by implementing cutting-edge optogenetic neuroscience methodologies that will allow the electrical activity of "GnRH surge neurons" to be recorded. In addition, the use of a novel genetic cell activity detection strategy will allow the electrical membrane properties and gene expression profiles of GnRH surge neurons to be identified. These studies will generate an in-depth understanding of the key cells that drive ovulation and thereby provide a platform for developing therapeutic agents for fertility control.


Deciphering the dendron for fertility control ($1,092,337):

The gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons control fertility in all mammals including humans. We have recently discovered that GnRH neurons have a cellular process previously unknown in the central nervous system termed a "dendron". We propose that the unique features of the GnRH neuron dendron allow neural inputs to generate and modulate the pulsatile release of reproductive hormone levels in the blood. Correct levels of hormone pulsatility are critical for fertility. This project will use innovative neuroscience technologies to identify the neural inputs acting upon the dendron and then establish their physiological role in regulating the secretion of GnRH. Together, these studies will determine how this unique neuronal structure operates and provide a foundation for exploring the utility of dendron-targeted therapies for fertility control in humans.

Doing a summer research project in Physiology gave me a good idea as to what it's like to actually work within a lab. This allowed me to break down that lecturer-student barrier and get to know people in the Department outside of studies.

Liam Farley - Summer Research Student 2009/2010