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Dorothy OorschotProfessor Dorothy Oorschot's research is focused on the structure and function of the normal and hypoxic (oxygen-deprived) basal ganglia. In normal basal ganglia, she is looking at neural circuits to test hypotheses on the cellular basis of movement and learning. She is also investigating treatments to rescue striatal neurons from hypoxic-induced cell death to help prevent cerebral palsy.

Her laboratory is developing a new animal model of brain injury in infants born extremely prematurely. This is relevant to the potential development of treatments for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and for periventricular leukomalacia. Stereological (three-dimensional) ultrastructural methods and behavioural methods are being used to unravel the normal and 'diseased' structure and function of the basal ganglia and to test hypotheses about Huntington's disease.

To advance knowledge on the circuitry for non-reward or disappointment, in collaboration with Professor Louise Parr-Brownlie and Dr Rachel Sizemore, Professor Oorschot is mapping the local connectivity between specific GABAergic and dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain. A previous mapping project with Professor John Reynolds and Dr Rachel Sizemore teased out the circuitry of the striatal cholinergic interneurons to test various hypotheses about their function. Professor Oorschot is the sole senior stereologist in a collaborative Health Research Programme Grant with Professor Mike Dragunow and Professor Richard Faull of the University of Auckland. For this grant, the neurological basis of motor, mood, or mixed symptoms in Huntington's disease is being investigated.

Professor Oorschot is also a member of the Basal Ganglia Research Group. Her current research is funded by the Neurological Foundation and Lottery Health and previous research was funded by the Otago Medical Research Foundation, the Marsden Fund and the Health Research Council.

Find out more about Professor Oorschot's research


Oorschot, D. E., Gowing, E. K., Seo, S., & Kohe, S. E. (2023). Cellular neuroanatomy helps attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Proceedings of the 10th Asia Pacific International Congress of Anatomists (APICA) and the 20th Australian & New Zealand Association of Clinical Anatomists (ANZACA) Conference: Reconnect, Ka Mua, Ka Muri. Retrieved from

Tomlinson, J. C. L., Zwirner, J., Oorschot, D. E., Morawski, M., Ondruschka, B., Zhang, M., & Hammer, N. (2023). Microstructural analysis on the innervation of the anterior, medial, and lateral human hip capsule: Preliminary evidence on its neuromechanical contribution. Osteoarthritis & Cartilage. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2023.07.009

Kohe, S. E., Gowing, E. K., Seo, S., & Oorschot, D. E. (2023). A novel rat model of ADHD-like hyperactivity/impulsivity after delayed reward has selective loss of dopaminergic neurons in the right ventral tegmental area. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 24, 11252. doi: 10.3390/ijms241411252

Seo, S., Parr-Brownlie, L., Bilkey, D., Hughes, S., & Oorschot, D. (2023, June). Opposite changes in midbrain dopamine microcircuitry in the repeated hypoxic rat model of ADHD-like hyperactivity/impulsivity versus the maternal immune activation rat model of schizophrenia: Potential bases for new therapies. Poster session presented at the International Basal Ganglia Society (IBAGS) XIV Meeting, Stockholm, Sweden.

Zhou, Y., Richard, S., Batchelor, N. J., Oorschot, D. E., Anderson, G. M., & Pankhurst, M. W. (2022). Anti-Müllerian hormone-mediated preantral follicle atresia is a key determinant of antral follicle count in mice. Human Reproduction, 37(11), 2635-2645. doi: 10.1093/humrep/deac204

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