Professor Bronwen Jane Connor

BsC, PhD


Bronwen Connor is an Associate Professor in Pharmacology and head of the Neural Reprogramming and Repair Lab at the University of Auckland. 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.

Bronwen 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 a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Northwestern University in Chicago, USA studying the potential use of gene therapy for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

Bronwen has worked on a number of strategies for the treatment of neurological disorders including gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease, 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 Bronwen's research has focused on understanding the biological function and role of neural stem cells in the adult brain, and the response of neural stem 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.

Teaching | Current

MEDSCI 305: Systematic Pharmacology

MEDSCI 717: Advanced Neuroscience; Neuropharmacology

MEDSCi 740: Stem cell biology and transgenics

Postgraduate supervision

Rui Liu (PhD)

Rebecca Playne (PhD)

Amy Chapman (PhD)

Maria Hoefliger (BSc Hons Pharm)

Ruth Monk (BiomedSci Hons)

Areas of expertise


Neural stem cells

Gene therapy

Direct cell reprogramming

Parkinson's disease

Huntington's disease

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Tang, S. K., Knobloch, R. A., Maucksch, C., & Connor, B. (2014). Redirection of doublecortin-positive cell migration by over-expression of the chemokines MCP-1, MIP-1α and GRO-α in the adult rat brain. Neuroscience, 260, 240-248. 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2013.12.022
  • Sun, Y., Evans, J., Russell, B., Kydd, R., & Connor, B. (2013). A benzodiazepine impairs the neurogenic and behavioural effects of fluoxetine in a rodent model of chronic stress. Neuropharmacology, 72, 20-28. 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2013.04.021
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Robert Kydd
  • Maucksch, C., Jones, K. S., & Connor, B. (2013). Concise review: the involvement of SOX2 in direct reprogramming of induced neural stem/precursor cells. Stem Cells Transl Med, 2 (8), 579-583. 10.5966/sctm.2012-0179
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Kathryn Jones
  • Maucksch, C., McGregor, A. L., Yang, M., Gordon, R. J., Yang, M., & Connor, B. (2013). IGF-I redirects doublecortin-positive cell migration in the normal adult rat brain. Neuroscience, 241, 106-115. 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2013.03.021
  • Evans, J., Sun, Y., McGregor, A., & Connor, B. (2012). Allopregnanolone regulates neurogenesis and depressive/anxiety-like behaviour in a social isolation rodent model of chronic stress. Neuropharmacology, 63 (8), 1315-1326. 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2012.08.012
  • Gordon, R. J., Mehrabi, N. F., Maucksch, C., & Connor, B. (2012). Chemokines influence the migration and fate of neural precursor cells from the young adult and middle-aged rat subventricular zone. Exp Neurol, 233 (1), 587-594. 10.1016/j.expneurol.2011.11.029
  • Jones, K. S., & Connor, B. J. (2012). Intrinsic regulation of adult subventricular zone neural progenitor cells and the effect of brain injury. American Journal of Stem Cells, 1 (1), 48-58. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Kathryn Jones
  • Maucksch, M., Firmin, E., Butler-Munro, C., Montgomery, J. M., Dottori, M., & Connor, B. J. (2012). Non-viral generation of neural precursor-like cells from adult human fibroblasts. Journal of Stem Cells and Regenerative Mediine, 8 (3), 162-170. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Johanna Montgomery


Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 502 - Bldg 502
Level 5, Room 501D
New Zealand

Web links