Associate Professor John Reynolds
Neuroscientist and Deputy Director, Brain Health Research Centre, University of Otago
Chairman, Neurological Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee
Dr John Reynolds is an Associate Professor in Neuroscience and Medicine at the University of Otago, and is Deputy Director of the university’s Brain Health Research Centre where he continues to investigate the role of dopamine in learning and movement. Dr Reynolds’ research also looks at the normal function of the basal ganglia and cortex of the brain and how this is altered in Parkinson’s disease and stroke.
Dr Reynolds’ interest in neuroscience came during his medical training and time as house surgeon at Whangarei Hospital over a decade ago. Winning the Neurological Foundation V J Chapman Fellowship enabled him to make the transition from physician to neuroscientist, and during these years completing his PhD, his team made some major findings about how dopamine works.
In 2004, Dr Reynolds became the first New Zealander to receive the international Brain Research Young Investigator Award for his work on rare brain cells which produce the neurochemical acetylcholine. He also received a University of Otago Early Career Award for Distinction in Research (2005). In 2010, Dr Reynolds received an inaugural Rutherford Discovery Fellowship to undertake applied research into stroke and epilepsy.
In addition to Dr Reynolds’ many local and international research collaborations focused on the mechanisms involved in movement disorders, his group has also begun to investigate synaptic plasticity processes in the cerebral cortex, taking a translational approach to the application to recovery from stroke.
In 2010, Dr Reynolds was appointed Chair of the Neurological Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee. He is a regular and popular presenter at Neurological Foundation public lectures around the country.