Professor Debbie Lucy Hay

BSc (hons), PhD

Profile Image
Head of School


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.

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

Areas of expertise

Receptor accessory proteins (RAMPs), peptide hormones, CGRP, migraine, amylin, adrenomedullin, calcitonin, GPCRs

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Hendrikse, E. R., Bower, R. L., Hay, D. L., & Walker, C. S. (2019). Molecular studies of CGRP and the CGRP family of peptides in the central nervous system. Cephalalgia : an international journal of headache, 39 (3), 403-419. 10.1177/0333102418765787
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Christopher Walker, Erica Hendrikse
  • Liang, Y.-L., Khoshouei, M., Deganutti, G., Glukhova, A., Koole, C., Peat, T. S., ... Miller, L. J. (2018). Cryo-EM structure of the active, Gs-protein complexed, human CGRP receptor. Nature, 561 (7724), 492-497. 10.1038/s41586-018-0535-y
  • Williams, E. T., Harris, P. W. R., Jamaluddin, M. A., Loomes, K. M., Hay, D. L., & Brimble, M. A. (2018). Solid-Phase Thiol-Ene Lipidation of Peptides for the Synthesis of a Potent CGRP Receptor Antagonist. Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English), 57 (36), 11640-11643. 10.1002/anie.201805208
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Margaret Brimble, Elyse Williams, Paul Harris, Kerry Loomes, Aqfan Jamaluddin
  • Simms, J., Uddin, R., Sakmar, T. P., Gingell, J. J., Garelja, M. L., Hay, D. L., ... Poyner, D. R. (2018). Photoaffinity Cross-Linking and Unnatural Amino Acid Mutagenesis Reveal Insights into Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide Binding to the Calcitonin Receptor-like Receptor/Receptor Activity-Modifying Protein 1 (CLR/RAMP1) Complex. Biochemistry, 57 (32), 4915-4922. 10.1021/acs.biochem.8b00502
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Margaret Brimble, Joseph Gingell, Michael Garelja, Paul Harris
  • Dal Maso, E., Zhu, Y., Pham, V., Reynolds, C. A., Deganutti, G., Hick, C. A., ... Wang, M.-W. (2018). Extracellular loops 2 and 3 of the calcitonin receptor selectively modify agonist binding and efficacy. Biochemical pharmacology, 150, 214-244. 10.1016/j.bcp.2018.02.005
  • Garelja, M. L., Walker, C. A., Siow, A., Yang, S. H., Harris, P. W. R., Brimble, M. A., ... Hay, D. L. (2018). Receptor Activity Modifying Proteins Have Limited Effects on the Class B G Protein-Coupled Receptor Calcitonin Receptor-Like Receptor Stalk. Biochemistry, 57 (8), 1410-1422. 10.1021/acs.biochem.7b01180
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Margaret Brimble, Sung Hyun Yang, Joseph Gingell, Michael Garelja, Paul Harris
  • Hay, D. L., Garelja, M. L., Poyner, D. R., & Walker, C. S. (2018). Update on the pharmacology of calcitonin/CGRP family of peptides: IUPHAR Review 25. British journal of pharmacology, 175 (1), 3-17. 10.1111/bph.14075
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Michael Garelja, Christopher Walker
  • 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


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 4, Room 4022
New Zealand

Web links