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 where she is Principal Investigator of the Synaptic Function Research Group in the Department of Physiology at the University of Auckland. Her research team focusses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that underlie the physiology of 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 and Research Fellows: Dr Juliette Cheyne, Dr Annika Winbo, Dr Jesse Ashton, Dr Kevin Lee, Dr Yewon Jung, Dr Liam Argent
  • PhD students: Yuktiben Vyas, Joscelin Smith, Beatriz Guzman, Giselle Wong

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


2018: Physiological Society of New Zealand Excellence in Research Award

2016: Royal Society London Colin Pillinger International Exchanges Award

2015: Kellaway Medical Research Fellowship

2015: DAAD Research Stay Award, Germany

2010: Rand Research Award, Colwin Research Award, Marine Biological Laboratory, USA.

2007: University of Auckland Early Career Research Excellence Award

2005: Eppendorf and Science International Prize for Neurobiology, Finalist Award

2005: Fulbright New Zealand Award

2001: Servier Distinguished Young Investigator Award, presented by the International Union of Physiological Scientists

2000: Kathryn MacCormack Scholarship (Stanford University)

1998: Goddard Prize, Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research

Areas of expertise

Electrophysiology (whole cell patch clamp) and cell biology.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Lee, K., Vyas, Y., Garner, C. C., & Montgomery, J. M. (2019). Autism-associated Shank3 mutations alter mGluR expression and mGluR-dependent but not NMDA receptor-dependent long-term depression. Synapse (New York, N.Y.), 73 (8)10.1002/syn.22097
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Kevin Lee, Yukti Vyas
  • Aqrawe, Z., Patel, N., Montgomery, J. M., Travas-Sejdic, J., & Svirskis, D. (2019). Development of a Low Cost & Low Noise Amplification System For In Vitro Neuronal Recording through Microelectrode Arrays.. Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Annual Conference. 10.1109/embc.2019.8857196
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jadranka Travas-Sejdic, Darren Svirskis
  • Aqrawe, Z., Wright, B., Patel, N., Vyas, Y., Malmstrom, J., Montgomery, J. M., ... Svirskis, D. (2019). The influence of macropores on PEDOT/PSS microelectrode coatings for neuronal recording and stimulation. SENSORS AND ACTUATORS B-CHEMICAL, 281, 549-560. 10.1016/j.snb.2018.10.099
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Bryon Wright, Jenny Malmstrom, Jadranka Travas-Sejdic, Darren Svirskis, David Williams, Yukti Vyas
  • Ha, H. T. T., Leal-Ortiz, S., Lalwani, K., Kiyonaka, S., Hamachi, I., Mysore, S. P., ... Kim, S. A. (2018). Shank and Zinc Mediate an AMPA Receptor Subunit Switch in Developing Neurons. FRONTIERS IN MOLECULAR NEUROSCIENCE, 1110.3389/fnmol.2018.00405
  • Ambroziak, W., Fourie, C., & Montgomery, J. M. (2018). SAP97-mediated rescue of NMDA receptor surface distribution in a neuronal model of Huntington's disease. Hippocampus, 28 (10), 707-723. 10.1002/hipo.22995
  • Hoggard, M., Vesty, A., Wong, G., Montgomery, J. M., Fourie, C., Douglas, R. G., ... Taylor, M. W. (2018). Characterizing the Human Mycobiota: A Comparison of Small Subunit rRNA, ITS1, ITS2, and Large Subunit rRNA Genomic Targets. FRONTIERS IN MICROBIOLOGY, 910.3389/fmicb.2018.02208
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Mike Taylor, Richard Douglas, Kristi Biswas
  • Fourie, C., Vyas, Y., Lee, K., Jung, Y., Garner, C. C., & Montgomery, J. M. (2018). Dietary Zinc Supplementation Prevents Autism Related Behaviors and Striatal Synaptic Dysfunction in Shank3 Exon 13-16 Mutant Mice. Frontiers in cellular neuroscience, 1210.3389/fncel.2018.00374
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Kevin Lee, Yukti Vyas
  • 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

Contact details

Primary office location

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