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Previous lab personnel

  • Postdoctoral Fellow: Dr Emma Coddington, now Ass. Prof., Oregon USA.
  • Research Assistant: Liam Farley, now globetrotting;
  • Research Students: Cristina Shirley, (PhD, 2009) now post-doc; Charlotte Butler Munro, (BBiomedSci(Hons) (2006), now PhD student; Malinda Tantirigama (BSc(Hons), 2008), now PhD student with Dr Ruth Empson.

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Research interests

The sense of smell

Our ability to sense airborne chemicals is based on patterns of neuronal activity in the brain. We use electrophysiological recording from brain slices maintained in vitro to study how these patterns of activity are processed by individual neurons and circuits in the brain.

Neurological disorders

Bipolar disorder, depression and epilepsy seem like very different problems, but they each result from abnormal levels of brain neuron activity. To understand these diseases better and develop better treatments we need to know more about how the current treatments work. We therefore focus our studies on how current treatments act on neurons to control their activity as individuals, and as members of brain circuits.

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Current funding

  • 2005–2010 Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund: Timing and the sense of smell: how does the brain use time to identify an odour?

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Previous funding

  • 2004 Otago Medical Research Foundation: ffects of Lithium on neuronal metabotropic responses to glutamate in mouse brain slices.

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Selected publications

Williams, M. R., Hall, M. J., & Heyward, P. M. (2019). Levels of activity-dependent effects on Li+ on mitral cell activity. In K. Hillman (Ed.), Proceedings of the 37th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research (AWCBR). (pp. 57). Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr

Benzler, M., Benzler, J., Stoehr, S., Hempp, C., Rizwan, M. Z., Heyward, P., & Tups, A. (2019). "Insulin-like" effects of palmitate compromise insulin signalling in hypothalamic neurons. Journal of Comparative Physiology B, 189(3-4), 413-424. doi: 10.1007/s00360-019-01220-0

Heyward, P. M., Williams, M. R., & Hall, M. J. (2018). Activity-dependent actions of Li+ in brain network connectivity. In K. Hillman (Ed.), Proceedings of the 36th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. (pp. 69). AWCBR. Retrieved from https://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr

Kanthakumar, P., Hyland, B. I., & Heyward, P. (2017). Lithium may block the delay current (ID) in olfactory projection neurons. Proceedings of the Society for Neuroscience 47th Annual Meeting. 375.02/D41. SfN. Retrieved from https://www.sfn.org/

Hall, M. J., Williams, M. R., & Heyward, P. M. (2017). Lithim promotes stereotyped responses to synaptic input: An in vitro olfactory bulb study. In B. Leitch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 35th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. (pp. 68). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/index.html

Deeney, E. A., Power, E. M., Heyward, P. M., & Empson, R. M. (2017). Does voluntary exercise improve motor performance and/or cerebellar architecture in SCA1 moderately ataxic mice. In B. Leitch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 35th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. (pp. 50). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/index.html

Kanthakumar, P., Hyland, B., & Heyward, P. (2017). Lithium may block the delay current (ID) in olfactory projection neurons. In B. Leitch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 35th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. (pp. 38). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/index.html

Heyward, P. M., Williams, M. R., Hall, M. J., & Kanthakumar, P. (2017). Lithium may enhance brain network coherence by acting on K+ channels. In B. Leitch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 35th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. 35, (pp. 28). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/index.html

Farley, L. T. A., & Heyward, P. M. (2014). Nitric oxide regulates spontaneous, electrically stimulated, and seizure-like activities in the mouse olfactory bulb in vitro. In B. Leitch & J. Shemmell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 32nd International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. 32, (pp. 65). AWCBR. Retrieved from https://web.psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/proceedings.html

Farley, L. T. A., & Heyward, P. M. (2012). Nitric oxide in the olfactory bulb in vitro. In B. Leitch & J. Shemmell (Eds.), Proceedings of the 30th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. 30, (pp. 47). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/Abstracts/Abstracts2012.html

Igelström, K. M., & Heyward, P. M. (2012). Inhibition of hippocampal excitability by citalopram. Epilepsia, 53(11), 2034-2042. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2012.03660.x

Igelström, K. M., & Heyward, P. M. (2012). The antidepressant drug fluoxetine inhibits persistent sodium currents and seizure-like events. Epilepsy Research, 101(1-2), 174-181. doi: 10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2012.03.019

Igelstrom, K. M., & Heyward, P. M. (2011). Anticonvulsant effects and sodium channel inhibition by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. In B. Leitch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 29th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. 29, 8.3. AWCBR. Retrieved from http://psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/abstracts/abstracts2011.html

Igelström, K. M., Shirley, C. H., & Heyward, P. M. (2011). Low-magnesium medium induces epileptiform activity in mouse olfactory bulb slices. Journal of Neurophysiology, 106(5), 2593-2605. doi: 10.1152/jn.00601.2011

Heyward, P. M. (2010). A brain slice bath for physiology and compound microscopy, with dual-sided perifusion. Journal of Microscopy, 240(3), 207-215. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2818.2010.03382.x

Igelstrom, K., & Heyward, P. (2010, September). Epileptiform activity in an olfactory brain circuit. Poster session presented at the Fourth Annual Division of Health Sciences Research Forum, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Butler-Munro, C., Coddington, E. J., Shirley, C. H., & Heyward, P. M. (2010). Lithium modulates cortical excitability in vitro. Brain Research, 1352, 50-60. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2010.07.021

Shirley, C. H., Coddington, E. J., & Heyward, P. M. (2010). All-or-none population bursts temporally constrain surround inhibition between mouse olfactory glomeruli. Brain Research Bulletin, 81(4-5), 406-415. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2009.10.022

Heyward, P. (2009). Olfactory bulb output neuron activity in brain slices: Physiology or pathophysiology? Proceedings of the ComBio2009 Conference. [CD-ROM] [Abstract]

Butler-Munro, C., Heyward, P. M., Shirley, C. H., & Coddington, E. (2009). Lithium blocks a transient outward current in output neurons of the olfactory bulb of the brain. Proceedings of the Society for Neuroscience 39th Annual Meeting. SfN. Retrieved from http://www.abstractsonline.com/plan/AdvancedSearch.aspx

Coddington, E. J., Shirley, C., Butler-Munro, C., & Heyward, P. M. (2009). Persistent sodium current (INaP) regulates excitability and synaptic integration in mitral cells. Proceedings of the Society for Neuroscience 39th Annual Meeting. SfN. Retrieved from http://www.abstractsonline.com/plan/AdvancedSearch.aspx

Heinbockel, T., & Heyward, P. M. (2008). Glutamate synapses in olfactory neural circuits. In B. F. Paley & T. E. Warfield (Eds.), Amino acid receptor research. (pp. 391-425). New York: Nova Science.

Tantirigama, M., & Heyward, P. (2008). Excitation by GABA in the mouse olfactory bulb is not mediated by a bicarbonate efflux. New Zealand Medical Journal, 121(1274). Retrieved from http://journal.nzma.org.nz/journal/121-1274/3078/content.pdf

Igelstrom, K., & Heyward, P. (2008). Inhibitory action of taurine at GABAA and glycine receptors in the main olfactory bulb of the brain. New Zealand Medical Journal, 121(1274). Retrieved from http://journal.nzma.org.nz/journal/121-1274/3078/content.pdf

Shirley, C. H., & Heyward, P. M. (2008). Centre-surround processing in the olfactory bulb is temporal, and intrinsic to the level of sensory input. Proceedings of the Society for Neuroscience 38th Annual Meeting. SfN. Retrieved from http://www.abstractsonline.com/plan/AdvancedSearch.aspx

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