Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system, the network of neurons responsible for our thoughts, feelings, and actions

What is neuroscience?

Neuroscience is the study of the brain and nervous system. It is a rapidly advancing and exciting field of study. Neuroscientists are discovering how our brains make us who we are, how people develop mental illnesses, what happens when brains are injured, and much more.

Neuroscience at Otago

At the University of Otago you can major in neuroscience at all levels of study. Several departments teach the papers that neuroscience students study, and internationally recognised neuroscientists supervise students conducting neuroscience research.

Congratulations to all neuroscience students who have won scholarships for 2014 summer studentships

  • Tim Hall has won the Dunedin Heart Unit scholarship to look into changes in neural control of the heart following a heart attack. He will be working with Dr Daryl Schwenke in the Department of Physiology.
  • Hayden Smith has won the Otago Medical Research Foundation Allan Wilkinson scholarship. He will be assisting Professor Warren Tate of Biochemistry to search for interaction partners of a protective Alzheimer's disease-related brain protein.
  • Cameron Toogood has won the Neuroscience Programme’s scholarship. He will look at the impact of maternal obesity-induced inflammation on the connectivity of the fetal brain with Dr Christine Jasoni in the Department of Anatomy.
  • Deanna Barwick will be working in the Department of Anatomy with Dr Andrew Clarkson. She will use her Division of Health Sciences scholarship to investigate whether we can learn with age.
  • Matthew Fields will use his Otago School of Medical Sciences scholarship to look into biological markers of Alzheimer’s disease with Dr Joanna Williams in the Department of Anatomy.
  • Chantal Chen will be working with Professor Cliff Abraham in Psychology. They will be working on minimising effort to maximize a memory mechanism.

Neuroscience in the news

Sam Hall-McMaster, a third year University of Otago Neuroscience student, has won the Sir Paul Callaghan Award for Young Science Orators. Sam received his award from the Governor General, The Right Honourable Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae, at an Awards Dinner at Government House. (10 October 2014 - opens EUERKA! website)

Listen on demand To Sam’s radio shows! Past episodes of Connectome and The Phineas Gage Show on Radio One 91FM. (Opens Mixcloud)

$1 million MBIE grant for research on a non-invasive drug delivery system to the brain (11 September 2014 - opens Brain Health Research Centre website)

Biomarker discovered for an Anxious Brain (29 August 2014 - opens Brain Health Research Centre website)

A single drinking binge in late pregnancy could harm child development (20 August 2014 - opens Otago Daily Times website)

University of Otago researchers are at the forefront of identifying biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease – and new treatment options – that could lead to early diagnosis and better outcomes for the world's ageing population. (opens He Kitanga Horizons website)

New Zealand's first academic neurosurgery unit's research is focused in two directions: neuroscience from a clinical point of view; and developing treatments for brain-related diseases.(opens He Kitanga Horizons website)

Alumni profile

Matthew Goddard (thumbnail image)

While studying first-year psychology and philosophy at Otago, Matthew realised he was becoming increasingly absorbed in the material and was hungry for more.
See more...