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Professor Liz Franz

Liz Franz

Tel 64 3 479 5269

Professor Liz Franz’s current research explores psychological and neural processes associated with the action system, using the techniques of MRI, DTI, fMRI, and EEG, combined with laboratory protocols. She is specifically interested in the way the brain organises complex behaviours so that goal-directed actions can occur. In her range of research experience, she has worked with over 20 different neurological disorders of the motor and/or cognitive systems.

Her laboratory has also formed five different support groups for neurological patients in New Zealand (supported by funds from Todd Foundation, Parkinson’s New Zealand, Neurological Foundation, and Health Research Council), and she has formed a world-wide support group for people with mirror movements, in association with her Marsden Grant. She has taught at both undergraduate and graduate levels for about 15 years and has supervised over 30 postgraduate degrees at MSc/PhD levels. She is Director of the Cognitive Science Program at Otago (since 2004), and also directs fMRIotago (the first MRI-fMRI research programme in New Zealand (developed in 2000). 

Liz joined the Department in 1997 following a PhD in Psychology at Purdue University, and NIH-funded postdoctoral fellowships in Cognitive Neuroscience at UC Berkeley. The latter included two years on a Neurosurgical pallidotomy team in which she worked closely with neurologists and neurosurgeons investigating the neural basis of Parkinson’s disease.


Research Interests

  • Psychological and neural processes associated with action planning and how higher level networks interact with lower networks, using the techniques of MRI, DTI, fMRI, and EEG, combined with laboratory protocols

Find out about Professor Franz' research interests
Link to Action, Brain and Cognition Lab

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Franz, E. A., & Fu, Y. (2018). Reply to “Movement-related neural processing in people with congenital mirror movements beyond the (cortical) surface”. Clinical Neurophysiology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2017.12.036

Glendining, K. A., Markie, D., Gardner, R. J. M., Franz, E. A., Robertson, S. P., & Jasoni, C. L. (2017). A novel role for the DNA repair gene Rad51 in Netrin-1 signalling. Scientific Reports, 7, 39823. doi: 10.1038/srep39823

Ginieis, R., Franz, E. A., Oey, I., & Peng, M. (2017). The “sweet” effect: Comparative assessments of dietary sugars on cognitive performance. Physiology & Behavior. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.12.010

Fielding, A., Fu, Y., & Franz, E. A. (2017). The brain's reward response occurs even without actual reward! Journal of Gambling Studies. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s10899-017-9721-3

Méneret, A., Franz, E. A., Trouillard, O., Oliver, T. C., Zagar, Y., Robertson, S. P., … Gardner, R. J. M., … Jasoni, C. L., … Markie, D. (2017). Mutations in the netrin-1 gene cause congenital mirror movements. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 127(11), 3923-3936. doi: 10.1172/jci95442

More publications...