Red X iconGreen tick iconYellow tick icon

Contact Details

64 3 479 7618
Associate Professor
Department of Anatomy
BSc(Hons) PhD
Research summary
Cellular and molecular neuroscience; neurological disorders
  • 2010–present – The Royal Society of New Zealand (MRSNZ)
  • 2007–present – The International Brain Research Organization (IBRO)
  • 1995–present – The Society for Neuroscience USA (SFN)
  • 2007–present – The Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS)
  • 2008–present – The British Neuroscience Association (BNA)
  • 2008–present – The Australian Neuroscience Society (ANS)
  • 2007–present – The Brain Health Research Centre University of Otago (BHRC)
  • 2009–present – The Society for Neuroscience, SFN Otago Chapter


Associate Professor Leitch's research interests are in cellular and molecular neuroscience and focus on the structural and functional development of neurons and their synapses; also changes occurring at synapses during aging and in various brain disorders. Her group is particularly interested in changes that occur at synapses in relation to their synaptic proteins and receptors, as a result of genetic mutations, and how this relates to brain functional abnormalities and diseases, including epilepsy, schizophrenia, autism and ataxia.

A recent focus of the Leitch lab has been into the detection of newly synthesized proteins at synapses and in dendritic locations using high-resolution EM-immunogold techniques. This project is in collaboration with Professor Schuman's Lab, at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research (MPI-BR), Frankfurt, Germany. The project is based on the novel FUNCAT-PLA and Puro-PLA techniques recently developed in the Schuman laboratory for labelling newly synthesised proteins in cultured neurons. This research will lay the groundwork for studying whether defects in local protein synthesis contributes to synaptic dysfunction underlying various brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.


Leitch, B. (2024). Parvalbumin interneuron dysfunction in neurological disorders: Focus on epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease [Review]. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 25, 5549. doi: 10.3390/ijms25105549 Journal - Research Article

Panthi, S., & Leitch, B. (2024). Chemicogenetic activation of feed-forward inhibitory parvalbumin-expressing interneurons in the cortico-thalamocortical network during absence seizures. In T. C. Bienvenu, N. Hajos & F. Lanore (Eds.), Inhibitory interneuron classification, function and dysfunction in neural network. (pp. 17-34). Frontiers Media SA. doi: 10.3389/978-2-8325-4737-3 Chapter in Book - Other

Hassan, M., Grattan, D. R., & Leitch, B. (2023). Developmental inhibitory changes in the primary somatosensory cortex of the stargazer mouse model of absence epilepsy. Biomolecules, 13, 186. doi: 10.3390/biom13010186 Journal - Research Article

Leitch, B., Panthi, S., Hassan, M., Lyons, N., Peiris, D., Su, A., & Adotevi, N. (2022). Dysfunctional GABAergic inhibition in genetic absence epilepsy: Underlying mechanisms for seizure generation. Proceedings of the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting. 364.05. SfN. Retrieved from Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Hassan, M., Adotevi, N. K., & Leitch, B. (2022). Altered GABAA receptor expression in the primary somatosensory cortex of a mouse model of genetic absence epilepsy. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 23, 15685. doi: 10.3390/ijms232415685 Journal - Research Article

Back to top