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Associate Professor Louise Parr-Brownlie

Louise Parr-BrownlieAssociate Professor Parr-Brownlie’s research focuses on the neural mechanisms that underlie voluntary movements and the movement deficits of Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a debilitating neurodegenerative disease that affects approximately 8000 people in New Zealand. To optimise current therapies or develop novel treatments for Parkinson's disease, there’s a critical need to fully understand both the normal and pathophysiological roles of each component in the brain circuits that control movement. However, there is a major gap in knowledge for the brain circuit component called the basal ganglia-thalamocortical pathway.

In Parkinson’s disease, loss of the brain chemical dopamine causes profound changes in single cell activity in basal ganglia nuclei. It has been assumed that changes in basal ganglia activity in Parkinson's disease are passed first to the motor thalamus and then to the motor cortex. Studies performed by Associate Professor Parr-Brownlie have shown that motor cortex activity is impaired in Parkinson's disease. Her investigation of the motor thalamus does not support a simple linear flow of pathological activity from basal ganglia to motor thalamus and motor cortex. She uses a combination of electrophysiological, behavioural and immunohistochemical techniques to address her research questions.

In collaboration with  Professor Brian Hyland (Physiology) and Associate Professor Stephanie Hughes (Biochemistry), motor thalamus and motor cortex function are being explored using cutting-edge optogenetic technology that, for the first time, enable confident characterisation and manipulation of part of the basal ganglia-thalamocortical pathway. We use light pulses to modulate brain activity in an animal model of Parkinson’s disease to learn how this alters motor thalamus and motor cortex activity, and behaviour. We envisage that our studies will, in the future, improve currently available treatments or lead to novel treatments of Parkinson’s disease.

Find out more about Associate Professor Parr-Brownlie’s research

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Publications

Sciascia, A., Sporle, A., Harwood, M., Hutchings, J., Faulkner, L., Parr-Brownlie, L., Foster, M., … Awatere, S., & Martin, W.-J. (2020). A guide to vision Mātauranga: Lessons from Māori voices in the New Zealand science sector. Wellington, New Zealand: Rauika Māngai. [Guide].

Underwood, C. F., & Parr-Brownlie, L. C. (2020). Primary motor cortex in Parkinson’s disease: Functional changes and opportunities for neurostimulation. Neurobiology of Disease. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2020.105159

Jackson, A.-M., Rewi, T., Hakopa, H., Phillips, C., Russell, P., Parr-Brownlie, L. C., Hulbe, C., Leoni, G., Mita, N., Hepburn, C., Wikaira, J., … Elder, H. (2020). Towards building an Indigenous Science Tertiary Curriculum (Part 2). New Zealand Science Review, 76(1-2), 25-31.

Parr-Brownlie, L. C., Waters, D. L., Neville, S., Neha, T., & Muramatsu, N. (2020). Aging in New Zealand: Ka haere ki te ao pakeketanga. Gerontologist, 60(5), 812-820. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnaa032

Kwakowsky, A., Chawdhary, B., Kim, S., Hughes, S., Parr-Brownlie, L., Waldvogel, H., & Faull, R. (2019). Miniaturized wireless optoelectronic subdermal implants: A novel device for the optogenetic stimulation of hippocampal neurons. Proceedings of the 39th Australasian Neuroscience Society (ANS) Annual Scientific Meeting. 12508. Retrieved from https://www.ans.org.au

Parr-Brownlie, L. C., & Reynolds, J. N. J. (2015). Basal ganglia. In K. Rogers (Ed.), Encyclopædia Britannica. (Online ed.) Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com

Chapter in Book - Research

Jackson, A.-M., Rewi, T., Hakopa, H., Phillips, C., Russell, P., Parr-Brownlie, L. C., Hulbe, C., Leoni, G., Mita, N., Hepburn, C., Wikaira, J., … Elder, H. (2020). Towards building an Indigenous Science Tertiary Curriculum (Part 2). New Zealand Science Review, 76(1-2), 25-31.

Journal - Research Article

Parr-Brownlie, L. C., Waters, D. L., Neville, S., Neha, T., & Muramatsu, N. (2020). Aging in New Zealand: Ka haere ki te ao pakeketanga. Gerontologist, 60(5), 812-820. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnaa032

Journal - Research Article

Underwood, C. F., & Parr-Brownlie, L. C. (2020). Primary motor cortex in Parkinson’s disease: Functional changes and opportunities for neurostimulation. Neurobiology of Disease. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2020.105159

Journal - Research Article

Hyland, B. I., Seeger-Armbruster, S., Smither, R. A., & Parr-Brownlie, L. C. (2019). Altered recruitment of motor cortex neuronal activity during the grasping phase of skilled reaching in a chronic rat model of unilateral Parkinsonism. Journal of Neuroscience, 39(48), 9660-9672. doi: 10.1523/jneurosci.0720-19.2019

Journal - Research Article

Jackson, A.-M., Hakopa, H., Phillips, C., Parr-Brownlie, L. C., Russell, P., Hulbe, C., Rewi, T., Leoni, G., Mita, N., Jackson, S., Poa, D., Hepburn, C., Wikaira, J., … Elder, H. (2019). Towards building an Indigenous Science Tertiary Curriculum. New Zealand Science Review, 75(4), 69-73.

Journal - Research Article

Sizemore, R. J., Seeger-Armbruster, S., Hughes, S. M., & Parr-Brownlie, L. C. (2016). Viral vector-based tools advance knowledge of basal ganglia anatomy and physiology. Journal of Neurophysiology, 115, 2124-2146. doi: 10.1152/jn.01131.2015

Journal - Research Article

Sizemore, R. J., Zhang, R., Lin, N., Goddard, L., Wastney, T., Parr-Brownlie, L. C., Reynolds, J. N. J., & Oorschot, D. E. (2016). Marked differences in the number and type of synapses innervating the somata and primary dendrites of midbrain dopaminergic neurons, striatal cholinergic interneurons and striatal spiny projection neurons in the rat. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 524(5), 1062-1080. doi: 10.1002/cne.23891

Journal - Research Article

Smith, L. M., Parr-Brownlie, L. C., Duncan, E. J., Black, M. A., Gemmell, N. J., Dearden, P. K., & Reynolds, J. N. J. (2016). Striatal mRNA expression patterns underlying peak dose L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia in the 6-OHDA hemiparkinsonian rat. Neuroscience, 324, 238-251. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2016.03.012

Journal - Research Article

Parr-Brownlie, L. C., Bosch-Bouju, C., Schoderboeck, L., Sizemore, R. J., Abraham, W. C., & Hughes, S. M. (2015). Lentiviral vectors as tools to understand central nervous system biology in mammalian model organisms. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 8, 14. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2015.00014

Journal - Research Article

Seeger-Armbruster, S., Bosch-Bouju, C., Little, S. T. C., Smither, R. A., Hughes, S. M., Hyland, B. I., & Parr-Brownlie, L. C. (2015). Patterned, but not tonic, optogenetic stimulation in motor thalamus improves reaching in acute drug-induced Parkinsonian rats. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(3), 1211-1216. doi: 10.1523/jneurosci.3277-14.2015

Journal - Research Article

Bosch-Bouju, C., Smither, R. A., Hyland, B. I., & Parr-Brownlie, L. C. (2014). Reduced reach-related modulation of motor thalamus neural activity in a rat model of Parkinson's disease. Journal of Neuroscience, 34(48), 15836-15850. doi: 10.1523/jneurosci.0893-14.2014

Journal - Research Article

Bosch-Bouju, C., Hyland, B. I., & Parr-Brownlie, L. C. (2013). Motor thalamus integration of cortical, cerebellar and basal ganglia information: Implications for normal and Parkinsonian conditions. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, 7, 163. doi: 10.3389/fncom.2013.00163

Journal - Research Article

Avila, I., Parr-Brownlie, L. C., Brazhnik, E., Castañeda, E., Bergstrom, D. A., & Walters, J. R. (2010). Beta frequency synchronization in basal ganglia output during rest and walk in a hemiparkinsonian rat. Experimental Neurology, 221(2), 307-319. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2009.11.016

Journal - Research Article

Parr-Brownlie, L., Poloskey, S. L., Bergstrom, D. A., & Walters, J. R. (2009). Parafascicular thalamic nucleus activity in a rat model of Parkinson's disease. Experimental Neurology, 217(2), 269-281. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2009.02.010

Journal - Research Article

Aravamuthan, B. R., Bergstrom, D. A., French, R. A., Taylor, J. J., Parr-Brownlie, L. C., & Walters, J. R. (2008). Altered neuronal activity relationships between the pedunculopontine nucleus and motor cortex in a rodent model of Parkinson's disease. Experimental Neurology, 213, 268-280. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2008.05.023

Journal - Research Article

Parr-Brownlie, L. C., Poloskey, S. L., Flanagan, K. K., Eisenhofer, G., Bergstrom, D. A., & Walters, J. R. (2007). Dopamine lesion-induced change in subthalamic nucleus activity are not associated with alterations in firing rate or pattern in layer V neurons of the anterior cingulate cortex in anesthetized rats. European Journal of Neuroscience, 26, 1925-1939.

Journal - Research Article

Walters, J. R., Hu, D., Itoga, C. A., Parr-Brownlie, L. C., & Bergstrom, D. A. (2007). Phase relationships support a role for coordinated activity in the indirect pathway in organizing slow oscillations in basal ganglia output after loss of dopamine. Neuroscience, 144, 762-776.

Journal - Research Article

Parr-Brownlie, L. C., & Hyland, B. I. (2005). Bradykinesia induced by dopamine D2 receptor blockade is associated with reduced motor cortex activity in the rat. Journal of Neuroscience, 25(24), 5700-5709.

Journal - Research Article

Mohagheghi, A. A., Anson, J. G., Hyland, B. I., Parr-Brownlie, L. C., & Wickens, J. (1998). Foreperiod length, but not memory, affects human reaction time in a precued, delayed response. Motor Control, 2, 133-141.

Journal - Research Article

Parr-Brownlie, L. C., Wickens, J., Anson, J. G., & Hyland, B. I. (1998). Does having to remember the position of a target improve reaction time? Motor Control, 2, 142-147.

Journal - Research Article

Smith, L. M., & Parr-Brownlie, L. C. (2019). A neuroscience perspective of the gut theory of Parkinson's disease. European Journal of Neuroscience, 49(6), 817-823. doi: 10.1111/ejn.13869

Journal - Research Other

Barnett, S. C., Perry, B. A. L., Dalrymple-Alford, J. C., & Parr-Brownlie, L. C. (2018). Optogenetic stimulation: Understanding memory and treating deficits. Hippocampus, 28(7), 457-470. doi: 10.1002/hipo.22960

Journal - Research Other

Swain, N., Parr-Brownlie, L. C., Lennox Thompson, B., Darlow, B., Mani, R., & Baxter, D. (2018). Six things you need to know about pain. New Zealand Medical Journal, 131(1486), 5-8. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Journal - Research Other

Barnett, S. C., Young, C. K., Perry, B. A. L., McNaughton, N., Hughes, S. M., Parr-Brownlie, L. C., & Dalrymple-Alford, J. C. (2019). Optogenetic stimulation of the anterior thalamic nuclei ameliorates impaired spatial memory in rats with mammillothalamic tract lesions. In K. Hillman (Ed.), Proceedings of the 37th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research (AWCBR). (pp. 27). Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Chawdhary, B., Kim, S. H., Hughes, S., Parr-Brownlie, L., Waldvogel, H. J., Faull, R. L. M., & Kwakowsky, A. (2019). Miniaturized wireless optolectronic subdermal implants: A novel device for the optogenetic stimulation of hippocampal neurons. In K. Hillman (Ed.), Proceedings of the 37th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research (AWCBR). (pp. 53). Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Kwakowsky, A., Chawdhary, B., Kim, S., Hughes, S., Parr-Brownlie, L., Waldvogel, H., & Faull, R. (2019). Miniaturized wireless optoelectronic subdermal implants: A novel device for the optogenetic stimulation of hippocampal neurons. Proceedings of the 39th Australasian Neuroscience Society (ANS) Annual Scientific Meeting. 12508. Retrieved from https://www.ans.org.au

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Cameron, S., & Parr-Brownlie, L. C. (2018). Pathophysiological and anatomical changes of the deep cerebellar nuclei in a chronic rat model of Parkinson's disease. Proceedings of the Society for Neuroscience 48th Annual Meeting. 134.05/T14. SfN. Retrieved from https://www.sfn.org

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Chen, F. B., Smither, R. A., Parr-Brownlie, L., McCormick, D., Malpas, S., & Budgett, D. M. (2018). Long-term use of a fully implantable optogenetic device in rat studies. Proceedings of the Society for Neuroscience 48th Annual Meeting. 112.09. SfN. Retrieved from https://www.sfn.org

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Oorschot, D. E., Seo, S., Bilkey, D. K., Hughes, S. M., Parr-Brownlie, L. C., & Sizemore, R. J. (2018). Synaptic triad arrangement within an aversive pathway in the normal uninjured brain. In K. Hillman (Ed.), Proceedings of the 36th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. (pp. 29). AWCBR. Retrieved from https://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Parr-Brownlie, L. C., Sizemore, R. J., Smither, R. A., Hughes, S. M., & Bosch-Bouju, C. (2018). Substania nigra pars reticulata-ventroanterior motor thalamus synpases are altered in parkinsonian rats. Proceedings of the Society for Neuroscience 48th Annual Meeting. 146.13/II17. SfN. Retrieved from https://www.sfn.org

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Parr-Brownlie, L. C., Smither, R. A., Sizemore, R. J., Wicky, H. E., Hughes, S. M., & Bosch-Bouju, C. (2018). Anatomical and physiological changes at basal ganglia-motor thalamus synapses in rat model of Parkinson's disease. In K. Hillman (Ed.), Proceedings of the 36th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. (pp. 67). AWCBR. Retrieved from https://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Seo, S., Sizemore, R. J., Bilkey, D. K., Hughes, S. M., Parr-Brownlie, L. C., & Oorschot, D. E. (2018). Changes in midbrain dopamine circuitry in the maternal immune activation rat model of schizophrenia. In K. Hillman (Ed.), Proceedings of the 36th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. (pp. 30). AWCBR. Retrieved from https://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Seo, S., Goddard, L., Parr-Brownlie, L. C., Sizemore, R. J., & Oorschot, D. E. (2016). Marked differences in the number and type of synapses innervating the primary dendrites of nigral versus ventral tegmental dopaminergic neurons, and nigral dopaminergic versus striatal spiny projection neurons, in the rat. In B. Leitch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 34th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. (pp. 28). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Cameron, S. H., Hyland, B. I., & Parr-Brownlie, L. C. (2015). Pathophysiology of the cerebellothalamic pathway in a chronic rat model of Parkinson's disease. In B. Leitch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 33rd International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. (pp. 73). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Miller, J. C. D., Smither, R. A., & Parr-Brownlie, L. C. (2015). Characterising the target innervations of glutamatergic neurons in the reticular thalamic nucleus. In B. Leitch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 33rd International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. (pp. 56). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Oorschot, D., Zhang, R., Lin, N., Wastney, T., Parr-Brownlie, L. C., Reynolds, J. N. J., & Sizemore, R. J. (2015). A stereological transmission electron microscopy study: Marked differences in the number and type of synapses innervating the somata and primary dendrites of three neuronal subtypes in the rat brain. Proceedings of the 27th National Conference on Microscopy. Retrieved from http://microscopy2015.otago.ac.nz/index.html

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Parr-Brownlie, L. C., Smither, R. A., & Little, S. T. C. (2015). Rostral reticular thalamus activity is altered in anaesthetized Parkinsonian rats. Proceedings of the Society for Neuroscience 45th Annual Meeting. 398.09/E32. SfN. Retrieved from https://www.sfn.org/

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Seeger-Armbruster, S., Bosch-Bouju, C., Smither, R. A., Hughes, S. M., Hyland, B. I., & Parr-Brownlie, L. C. (2015). Optogenetic stimulation of motor thalamic terminals modulates motor cortex activity in freely moving Parkinsonian rats. In B. Leitch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 33rd International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. (pp. 30). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Sizemore, R. J., Parr-Brownlie, L. C., Hughes, S. M., & Oorschot, D. E. (2015). Complex GABAergic innervation onto ventral tegmental dopamine neurons. In B. Leitch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 33rd International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. (pp. 30). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Smither, R. A., Seeger-Armbruster, S., Hughes, S., Hyland, B., & Parr-Brownlie, L. C. (2015). Characterising ventroanterior motor thalamus inputs to motor cortex. In B. Leitch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 33rd International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. (pp. 45). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Cameron, S. H., Hyland, B. I., & Parr-Brownlie, L. C. (2014). Cerebellar neural activity in a chronic rat model of Parkinson's disease. In B. Leitch & J. Shemmell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 32nd International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. 32, (pp. 59). AWCBR. Retrieved from https://web.psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/proceedings.html

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Little, S. T. C., & Parr-Brownlie, L. C. (2014). Changes in reticular thalamic nucleus neuronal activity in anaesthetized parkinsonian rats. In B. Leitch & J. Shemmell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 32nd International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. 32, (pp. 53). AWCBR. Retrieved from https://web.psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/proceedings.html

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Miller, J. C. D., Smither, R. A., & Parr-Brownlie, L. C. (2014). Establishing a rodent model of complex regional pain syndrome. In B. Leitch & J. Shemmell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 32nd International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. 32, (pp. 60). AWCBR. Retrieved from https://web.psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/proceedings.html

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Parr-Brownlie, L. C., Sizemore, R. J., Hughes, S. M., & Oorschot, D. E. (2014). Virus infects electron microscopy: Combining techniques for enhanced imaging of brain circuitry. In B. Leitch & J. Shemmell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 32nd International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. 32, (pp. 83). AWCBR. Retrieved from https://web.psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/proceedings.html

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Seeger-Armbruster, S., Bosch, C., Little, S. T. C., Smither, R. A., Hughes, S. M., Hyland, B. I., & Parr-Brownlie, L. C. (2014). Does optogenetic stimulation of motor thalamus improve reaching in Parkinsonian rats? In B. Leitch & J. Shemmell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 32nd International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. 32, (pp. 33). AWCBR. Retrieved from https://web.psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/proceedings.html

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Seeger-Armbruster, S., Bosch, C., Little, S. T. C., Smither, R. A., Hughes, S. M., Hyland, B. I., & Parr-Brownlie, L. C. (2014). Physiological patterns of optogenetic stimulation in the motor thalamus restore reaching in parkinsonian rats. Proceedings of the Society for Neuroscience 44th Annual Meeting. SfN. Retrieved from http://www.sfn.org/annual-meeting/neuroscience-2014/abstracts

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Bosch, C., Hyland, B., & Parr-Brownlie, L. (2013). Movement-related neuronal activity in the motor thalamus is strongly impaired in a Parkinson's disease rat model. New Zealand Medical Journal, 126(1377). Retrieved from http://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Bosch-Bouju, C., Prier, J., Smither, R., Hughes, S., Hyland, B., & Parr-Brownlie, L. (2013). Optogenetic stimulation of basal ganglia inputs to motor thalamus affects reaching in parkinsonian rats. In B. Leitch & J. Shemmell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 31st International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. 31, (pp. 40). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/Abstracts/Abstracts2013copy.html

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Little, S. T. C., Bosch-Bouju, C., & Parr-Brownlie, L. C. (2013). Neuronal activity in reticular thalamic nucleus in urethane-anaesthetized rats. In B. Leitch & J. Shemmell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 31st International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. 31, (pp. 56). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/Abstracts/Abstracts2013copy.html

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

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