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, Dr Angelo Tedoldi
  • PhD students: Yuktiben Vyas, Joscelin Smith, Giselle Wong
  • Honours students: Fluer Fernandez, Hamish Skelton-Kyd

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)

  • 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: Juliette Cheyne
  • Ashton, J. L., Argent, L., Smith, J. E. G., Jin, S., Sands, G. B., Smaill, B. H., & Montgomery, J. M. (2020). Evidence of structural and functional plasticity occurring within the intracardiac nervous system of spontaneously hypertensive rats. American journal of physiology. Heart and circulatory physiology, 318 (6), H1387-H1400. 10.1152/ajpheart.00020.2020
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jesse Ashton, Liam Argent, Gregory Sands, Bruce Smaill
  • Winbo, A., Ashton, J. L., & Montgomery, J. M. (2020). Neuroscience in the heart: Recent advances in neurocardiac communication and its role in cardiac arrhythmias. The international journal of biochemistry & cell biology, 12210.1016/j.biocel.2020.105737
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jesse Ashton
  • 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: Juliette Cheyne
  • Lee, K., Park, T. I.-H., Heppner, P., Schweder, P., Mee, E. W., Dragunow, M., & Montgomery, J. M. (2020). Human in vitro systems for examining synaptic function and plasticity in the brain. Journal of neurophysiology, 123 (3), 945-965. 10.1152/jn.00411.2019
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Thomas Park, Michael Dragunow
  • 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

Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 502 - Bldg 502
Level 4, Room 403
New Zealand