Dr Juliette Elizabeth Cheyne

PhD (Physiology), BSc Biomedical Science (Honours)


I am a Research Fellow in the Physiology Department and Centre for Brain Research at the University of Auckland.

My research focusses on how brain cell activity controls behaviour and what happens when this goes awry in disease. My work utilises cellular recording in live mice (‘in vivo’) using a range of different imaging technologies. These techniques allow us to track activity in the brain in real time and relate the activity to behaviour or sensory input. To record brain cell activity, we genetically engineer brain areas of interest to make them flash when they become active. We then record movies of brain activity and synchronise them with videos of mouse behaviour or recordings of sensory stimuli presented to the animals. My current research is focused on Autism Spectrum Disorder and Alzheimer’s disease.  

I did my BSc (Biomedical Science), Honours and PhD at the University of Auckland then moved to Amsterdam for 6 years as a Postdoctoral Fellow. In 2016 I returned to the University of Auckland on a Neurological Foundation Repatriation Fellowship. This Fellowship was co-funded with an Auckland Medical Research Foundation Project grant and allowed me to establish in vivo imaging in Auckland. Together with a Marsden Fast-Start this funding has enabled my team to investigate development and function of the auditory and prefrontal cortex in a mouse model of Autism Spectrum Disorder. In 2018 I obtained equipment funding from Maurice Paykel Trust and Lottery Health Research to customise a two-photon microscope for in vivo brain imaging. With funding from the Faculty of Science Research Development Fund and a Neurological Foundation Project Grant we are now applying this technology to better understand cellular activity in the auditory cortex in Autism Spectrum Disorder. We have recently established minaturised microscopes ('miniscope') recordings in the lab with funding from Neurological Foundation Small Project Grant and Brain Research New Zealand.

Research | Current

  • Examining development and function of the auditory and prefrontal cortex in a mouse model of autism spectrum disorder (with with Associate Professor Johanna Montgomery and Professor Peter Thorne). 
  • Development of a customised two-photon microscope for in vivo calcium imaging (with Associate Professor Frederique Vanholsbeeck and Professor Neil Broderick)
  • Using in vivo imaging to examine changes in motor cortex and spinal cord activity following spinal cord injury (with Dr Simon O'Carroll) 
  • Using minaturised microscopes ('miniscopes') to undertand behavioural changes in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease (with Associate Professor Johanna and Professor Cliff Abraham)

Teaching | Current

MEDSCI 317 - Integrative Neuroscience: From Fetus to Adult

Postgraduate supervision

If my research is interesting to you feel free to contact me about a potential Honours, Masters, PhD and postdoctoral projects. 

Current lab members 

  • Pang Ying Cheung, PhD student (co-supervised with Associate Professor Johanna Montgomery)
  • Zahra Laouby, PhD student (co-supervised with Dr Simon O'Carrol)
  • Ashly Jose, PhD student (co-supervised with Associate Professor Frederique Vanholsbeeck and Professor Neil Broderick)
  • Dr Yewon Jung, Postdoctoral Fellow (co-supervised with Associate Professor Johanna Montgomery)
  • Skylar Pollack, Masters student (co-supervised with Associate Professor Johanna Montgomery)

Past lab members

  • Maya Wilde, Masters student (co-supervised with Associate Professor Johanna Montgomery)
  • Minchul Park, Masters student (co-supervised with Professor Peter Thorne)
  • Dr Yukti Vyas, Research Associate (co-supervised with Associate Professor Johanna Montgomery, Associate Professor Frederique Vanholsbeeck) 
  • Hamish Skelton-Kyd  (co-supervised with Associate Professor Johanna Montgomery)



  • Netherlands Institute for Neuoroscience Brain Award for Methodological Excellence
  • Dutch Neurofederation TOP Paper Award

Areas of expertise

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • In Vivo Whole Cell Recording
  • In Vivo Calcium Imaging (wide-field and two-photon)
  • Synaptic Plasticity
  • Sensory and Prefrontal Cortex
  • Minaturised microscopes

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Associate Investigator at the Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies
  • Member of the Australasian Neuroscience Society Early- or Mid-Career Researcher Committee

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • van Lier, M., Saiepour, M. H., Kole, K., Cheyne, J. E., Zabouri, N., Blok, T., ... Lohmann, C. (2020). Disruption of Critical Period Plasticity in a Mouse Model of Neurofibromatosis Type 1. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 40 (28), 5495-5509. 10.1523/jneurosci.2235-19.2020
  • Cheyne, J. E., & Montgomery, J. M. (2020). The cellular and molecular basis of in vivo synaptic plasticity in rodents. American journal of physiology. Cell physiology, 318 (6), C1264-C1283. 10.1152/ajpcell.00416.2019
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Johanna Montgomery
  • Vyas, Y., Montgomery, J. M., & Cheyne, J. E. (2020). Hippocampal Deficits in Amyloid-beta-Related Rodent Models of Alzheimer's Disease. FRONTIERS IN NEUROSCIENCE, 1410.3389/fnins.2020.00266
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Yukti Vyas, Johanna Montgomery
  • Cheyne, J. E., Zabouri, N., Baddeley, D., & Lohmann, C. (2019). Spontaneous Activity Patterns Are Altered in the Developing Visual Cortex of the Fmr1 Knockout Mouse. Frontiers in neural circuits, 1310.3389/fncir.2019.00057
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: David Baddeley
  • Leighton, A. H., Zabouri, N., Cheyne, J. E., & Lohmann, C. (14/11/2017). Functional mapping of synaptic inputs in vivo with post hoc molecular identification of presynaptic origin. Poster presented at Neuroscience 2017, Washington DC, USA. Neuroscience Meeting Planner..
  • Cheyne, J. E., Thorne, P. R., & Montgomery, J. M. (2017). In vivo imaging and whole cell recording of spontaneous activity in the developing mouse auditory cortex. Paper presented at 37th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australasian Neuroscience Society, Sydney, Australia. 3 December - 6 December 2017.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Peter Thorne, Johanna Montgomery
  • Winnubst, J., Cheyne, J. E., Niculescu, D., & Lohmann, C. (2015). Spontaneous activity drives local synaptic plasticity in vivo. Neuron, 87 (2), 399-410. 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.06.029
  • Cheyne, J. E., & Lohmann, C. (2014). The first hour in the life of a synapse. Contact formation, partner selection, and onset of function. In V. Pickel, M. Segal (Eds.) The synapse: Structure and function (pp. 111-128). Kidlington, Oxford: Elsevier. 10.1016/B978-0-12-418675-0.00003-1


Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 502 - Bldg 502
Level 4, Room 401
New Zealand

Social links

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