Associate Professor Johanna Montgomery

PhD (Physiology), University of Otago


Associate Professor Johanna Montgomery completed her PhD in Physiology at The University of Otago. She then performed her postdoctoral research at Stanford University USA, where her research focus was the plasticity of synapses in the hippocampus. She returned to New Zealand in 2004 where she is Principal Investigator of the Synaptic Function Research Group in the Department of Physiology and Centre for Brain Research at The University of Auckland. Her research team focusses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that underlie the physiology of excitatory synapses in the central and peripheral nervous systems.  Her laboratory combines electrophysiology, molecular biology and imaging techniques to investigate how changes in synapse function could underlie developmental disorders such as Autism, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington's Disease. Recently, her research has expanded to examine how neuronal, synapse and myocyte plasticity may contribute to normal and abnormal heart rhythm.

Lab webpage: Synaptic Function Research Group

Lab members

  • Postdoctoral Fellows: Dr Chantelle Fourie, Dr Annika Winbo, Dr Jesse Ashton, Dr Kevin Lee, Dr Meagan Barclay
  • PhD students: Wojciech Ambroziak, Yuktiben Vyas
  • Research technician: Dr Yewon Jung
  • Co-supervised students: Rikus Botha (PhD), Tania Fowkes (PhD), Zaid Aqware (PhD)

Teaching | Current

Course Director, Medsci 206: Introduction to Neuroscience

Course Director, Medsci 733: Advanced Methods in Cell Physiology

Currently teaching in:

Medsci 206: Introduction to Neuroscience

Medsci 317: Integrative Neuroscience

Medsci 727: Advanced Neuroscience

Medsci 733: Advanced Methods in Cell Physiology

Areas of expertise

Electrophysiology (whole cell patch clamp) and cell biology.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Ashton, J. L., Burton, R. A. B., Bub, G., Smaill, B. H., & Montgomery, J. M. (2018). Synaptic Plasticity in Cardiac Innervation and Its Potential Role in Atrial Fibrillation. Frontiers in physiology, 910.3389/fphys.2018.00240
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Bruce Smaill, Jesse Ashton
  • Aqrawe, Z., Patel, N., Montgomery, J., Travas-Sejdic, J., & Svirskis, D. (1/7/2017). Microelectrode modification with macroporous PEDOT/PSS to enhance neuronal recording and stimulation. Poster presented at The 39th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine& Biology Society, Jeju, Korea.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Zaid Aqrawe, Nitish Patel, Jadranka Travas-Sejdic, Darren Svirskis
  • Goodman, L., Baddeley, D., Ambroziak, W., Waites, C. L., Garner, C. C., Soeller, C., & Montgomery, J. M. (2017). N-terminal SAP97 isoforms differentially regulate synaptic structure and postsynaptic surface pools of AMPA receptors. Hippocampus, 27 (6), 668-682. 10.1002/hipo.22723
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Christian Soeller, David Baddeley, Lucy Goodman
  • Aqrawe, Z., Montgomery, J., Travas-Sejdic, J., & Svirskis, D. (2017). Conducting polymers as electrode coatings for neuronal multi-electrode arrays. Trends in Biotechnology, 35 (2), 93-95. 10.1016/j.tibtech.2016.06.007
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jadranka Travas-Sejdic, Darren Svirskis, Zaid Aqrawe
  • 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: Juliette Cheyne, Peter Thorne
  • Arons, M. H., Lee, K., Thynne, C. J., Kim, S. A., Schob, C., Kindler, S., ... Garner, C. (2016). Shank3 is part of a zinc-sensitive signalling system that regulates excitatory synaptic strength. Journal of Neuroscience, 36 (35), 9124-9134. 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0116-16.2016
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Kevin Lee
  • Vyas, Y., & Montgomery, J. M. (2016). The role of postsynaptic density proteins in neural degeneration and regeneration. Neural Regeneration Research, 11 (6), 906-907. 10.4103/1673-5374.184481
  • Barclay, M., Constable, R., James, N. R., Thorne, P. R., & Montgomery, J. M. (2016). Reduced sensory stimulation alters the molecular make-up of glutamatergic hair cell synapses in the developing cochlea. Neuroscience, 325, 50-62. 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2016.03.043
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Meagan Barclay, Peter Thorne

Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 503 - Bldg 503
Level 5, Room 501E
New Zealand