Red X iconGreen tick iconYellow tick icon

Cliff Abraham

Tel +64 3 479 7648

Professor Cliff Abraham has research interests in the neural mechanisms of memory. He has played a leading role in promoting neuroscience research and teaching at the University of Otago, and has promoted neuroscience at a national level by serving as chair of the Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research, New Zealand's annual neuroscience meeting in Queenstown, for 12 years.

In 1997 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and in 2007 was awarded a James Cook Fellowship. He was awarded the University of Otago Distinguished Research Medal in 2009 and the Division of Sciences Researcher of the Year in 2018. Currently he is Director of a major HRC-funded research programme investigating biomarkers and therapeutic agents for Alzheimer's Disease.

Cliff received a BA with Distinction in Psychology from the University of Virginia, and a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Florida. He then undertook five years of postdoctoral research at the University of Otago and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, before taking up a Lectureship in Psychology at Otago. He chaired the Department in 2003–2005.


  • PSYC 430 Synaptic Plasticity Mechanisms
  • PSYC 438 Nervous System Plasticity in Health and Disease

Research Interests

  • Mechanisms of synaptic plasticity and metaplasticity
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Limbic system function and dysfunction

Find out more about Professor Abraham's research

Downloadable list of publications

Download a complete list of Professor Abraham's publications (PDF)


Abraham, W. C. (2008). Metaplasticity: Tuning synapses and networks for plasticity. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 9(5), 387-399. Journal - Research Article

Ryan, M., Tan, V. T. Y., Thompson, N., Guévremont, D., Mockett, B. G., Tate, W. P., Abraham, W. C., Hughes, S. M., & Williams, J. (2021). Lentivirus-mediated expression of human secreted amyloid precursor protein-alpha promotes long-term induction of neuroprotective genes and pathways in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 79, 1075-1090. doi: 10.3233/JAD-200757 Journal - Research Article

Hegemann, R. U., & Abraham, W. C. (2021). Postsynaptic cell firing triggers bidirectional metaplasticity depending on the LTP induction protocol. Journal of Neurophysiology, 125, 1624-1635. doi: 10.1152/jn.00514.2020 Journal - Research Article

Livingstone, R. W., Elder, M. K., Singh, A., Westlake, C. M., Tate, W. P., Abraham, W. C., & Williams, J. M. (2021). Secreted amyloid precursor protein-alpha enhances LTP through the synthesis and trafficking of Ca2+-permeable AMPA receptors. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 14, 660208. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2021.660208 Journal - Research Article

Vemula, P. K., Jing, Y., Cicolini, J., Zhang, H., Mockett, B. G., Abraham, W. C., & Liu, P. (2020). Altered brain arginine metabolism with age in the APPswe/PSEN1dE9 mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Neurochemistry International, 140, 104798. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2020.104798 Journal - Research Article

Back to top