Associate Professor Bronwen Connor
Head of the Neural Repair and Neurogenesis Laboratory
Director, Integrative Neuroscience Facility
Centre for Brain Research, University of Auckland
Dr Bronwen Connor is an Associate Professor in Pharmacology and head of the Neural Repair and Neurogenesis laboratory at the Centre for Brain Research, University of Auckland. She is also Director of the Integrative Neuroscience Facility at the Centre for Brain Research. Her specific interest is in the identification and development of novel protective or regenerative strategies to treat neurological disease, with particular focus on the potential use of stem cell therapy and gene transfer techniques for the treatment of brain injury and disease.
Associate Professor Connor is a graduate of the University of Auckland, graduating with a BSc in Pharmacology and Physiology in 1994 and a PhD in Neuropharmacology in 1997. She then spent three years as Neurological Foundation Wrightson Postdoctoral Fellow at Northwestern University in Chicago, USA studying the potential use of gene therapy for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
Associate Professor Connor has worked on a number of strategies for the treatment of neurological disorders including gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease (currently under clinical trial), the development of stem cell replacement therapy for Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and stroke, and the identification of novel agents for the treatment of depression. She is also very interested in the re-direct use of current pharmacological agents, such as anti-depressant or anti-psychotic agents for the potential treatment of other neurological disorders such as stroke.
More recently Associate Professor Connor’s research has focused on understanding the biological function and role of neural stem cells in the adult brain, and the response of these cells to brain injury or disease. The goals of her research are to advance knowledge about the role and regulation of neural stem cells in the adult brain, and to use this knowledge to develop brain repair strategies based on the manipulation of resident or transplanted neural stem cells. She is also interested in the use of somatic cell reprogramming as a mechanism by which to obtain a readily accessible and ethically viable source of adult human brain cells for both research and clinical application.
Associate Professor Connor is a member of the Neurological Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee, and is a popular presenter at public lecture events that form part of the Foundation’s public awareness programme.