Professor Debbie Lucy Hay

BSc (hons), PhD


2002         PhD (Molecular Pharmacology), Imperial College London, UK.

1999         BSc (Hons) in Pharmacology, University of Sheffield, UK.

Research | Current

Maurice Wilkins Centre and Centre for Brain Research

Debbie is a current James Cook Fellow and research in the Hay laboratory focuses on G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). These proteins are the cellular targets of natural hormones and are some of the most important drug targets. The research aims to contribute to the development of medicines to treat migraine, cancer, lymphatic insufficiency, cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes, whilst revealing fundamental mechanisms of cell signalling. A particular focus of the lab is class B GPCRs and their interactions with accessory proteins known as “receptor activity-modifying proteins”. Work in the lab spans a range of areas with local and international collaborators, including: pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, peptide chemistry, structural biology, molecular biology, immunohistochemistry and culture of cell lines and primary cells. Debbie also has a particular interest in receptor nomenclature in association with the International Union of Pharmacology.



Front cover - Trends in Pharmacological Sciences 31:476-83, 2010


Front cover -  Trends in Pharmacological Sciences 32(10):591-600, 2011





Teaching | Current

Current holder of a James Cook Fellowship with no teaching for 2017 and 2018



  • 2017- James Cook Fellowship, Royal Society of New Zealand
  • 2016 - British Journal of Pharmacology Editor Performance Award
  • 2015 - Tregear Award from the Australian Peptide Association for outstanding research in the field of peptide chemistry and biology and underpinning technologies. 
  • 2014 - Faculty of Science Dean's Teaching Award
  • 2013 - Custom Science New Zealand Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Award
  • 2013 - Novartis Prize for published work (British Pharmacological Society)
  • 2009 - Invitrogen Life Science Award for excellence in molecular biology in New Zealand
  • 2008 - Early Career Research Excellence Award (University of Auckland)
  • 2007 - Promising Researcher Award, Queenstown Molecular Biology Meeting, New Zealand
  • 2005 - Denis Wade Johnson & Johnson New Investigator Award (ASCEPT)
  • 2003 - Young Investigator Award, Neuropeptides 2003, Montauk, New York, USA
  • 2001 - Young Investigator Award, Fourth International Meeting on CGRP, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 2000 - Young Investigator Award, Second International Conference on Adrenomedullin and PAMP, Miyazaki, Japan


  • 2015 - Editorial board member British Journal of Pharmacology
  • 2013 - Editorial board member American Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
  • 2012 - Corresponding member (invited) of NC-IUPHAR
  • 2010 - Principal investigator of the Centre for Brain Research
  • 2009 - Associate investigator of the Maurice Wilkins Centre


Academic Leader - Cellular, Molecular and Organismal biology

Areas of expertise

Proteomics & Biomedicine
Peptide hormones, CGRP, migraine, amylin, adrenomedullin, calcitonin, GPCRs

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Walker, C. S., Raddant, A. C., Woolley, M. J., Russo, A. F., & Hay, D. L. (2018). CGRP receptor antagonist activity of olcegepant depends on the signalling pathway measured. Cephalalgia, 38 (3), 437-451. 10.1177/0333102417691762
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Christopher Walker
  • Lee, S.-M., Booe, J. M., Gingell, J. J., Sjoelund, V., Hay, D. L., & Pioszak, A. A. (2017). N-Glycosylation of Asparagine 130 in the Extracellular Domain of the Human Calcitonin Receptor Significantly Increases Peptide Hormone Affinity. Biochemistry, 56 (26), 3380-3393. 10.1021/acs.biochem.7b00256
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Joseph Gingell
  • Hay, D. L. (2017). Amylin. Headache, 57 Suppl 2, 89-96. 10.1111/head.13077
  • Hay, D. L., & Walker, C. S. (2017). CGRP and its receptors. Headache, 57 (4), 625-636. 10.1111/head.13064
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Christopher Walker
  • Bower, R. L., & Hay, D. L. (2016). Amylin structure-function relationships and receptor pharmacology: implications for amylin mimetic drug development. British Journal of Pharmacology, 173 (12), 1883-1898. 10.1111/bph.13496
  • Yule, L. R., Bower, R. L., Kaur, H., Kowalczyk, R., Hay, D. L., & Brimble, M. A. (2016). Synthesis and amylin receptor activity of glycomimetics of pramlintide using click chemistry. Organic & biomolecular chemistry, 14 (23), 5238-5245. 10.1039/c6ob00850j
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Margaret Brimble, Harveen Kaur
  • Watkins, H. A., Chakravarthy, M., Abhayawardana, R. S., Gingell, J. J., Garelja, M., Pardamwar, M., ... Harris, P. W. R. (2016). Receptor Activity-modifying Proteins 2 and 3 Generate Adrenomedullin Receptor Subtypes with Distinct Molecular Properties. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 291 (22), 11657-11675. 10.1074/jbc.M115.688218
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Joseph Gingell, Margaret Brimble, Paul Harris, Michael Garelja
  • Gingell, J. J., Simms, J., Barwell, J., Poyner, D. R., Watkins, H. A., Pioszak, A. A., ... Hay, D. L. (2016). An allosteric role for receptor activity-modifying proteins in defining GPCR pharmacology. Cell Discovery, 2, 1-14. 10.1038/celldisc.2016.12
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Joseph Gingell


Contact details

Primary office location

New Zealand

Web links