Emeritus Professor Louise Frances Basford Nicholson

MSc, PhD, DipTchg


Dr Nicholson is the principal investigator of the Molecular Neuroanatomy Laboratory in the Department of Anatomy with Radiology and the Centre for Brain Research. Postdoctoral Fellows and graduate students are very much part of her research team.

The research programme embraces a number of broad goals investigating the role of inflammation in neurodegeneration, spinal cord injury and repair, cancer and other diseases. The group has a long-standing interest in the molecular mechanisms of degeneration in neurodegenerative diseases that have a late onset. The role of gap junctions in central nervous system diseases and injury is a current thrust of the research group.  With major support from the CatWalk Trust, the Team have established a Spinal Cord Injury Research Facility within the Centre for Brain Research.

The laboratory is extremely well resourced and has a very strong molecular skill base and internationally recognised expertise in the application of in situ hybridisation, immunohistochemisty and cell culture technologies. Organotypic slice cultures, in vitro cell culture facilities, viral vector induction of gene expression and antisense technologies are also used routinely in the laboratory.

Professor Nicholson has been a PI on two prestigious Marsden grants; one on the role of gap junctions in epilepsy, and the other on the role of gap junctions in spinal cord injury and repair.

Research interests

  • Astrocytes
  • Brain anatomy
  • Brain and spinal cord
  • Cell culture models
  • Cell ultrastructure
  • Connexins and neuroinflammation
  • Connexins in neurodegeneration
  • Excitatory and inhibitory receptors in motoneuron disease
  • Gap junctions in the brain
  • Human neurodegenerative diseases
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • in situ hybridisation
  • Microglia
  • Molecular neurobiology
  • Neuroinflammatory cells
  • Parkinson's disease progression
  • Spinal cord injury and repair
  • The role of RAGE (receptor for advanced glycation end products) in neurodegeneration

Research | Current

  1. The role of RAGE, Receptor for Advanced Glycation Endproducts, in neurodegeneration
  2. The importance of the vasculature in Parkinson's disease progression and cognitive decline
  3. Pathogenesis, detection and treatment of perinatal injury
  4. Regulation of connexin hemichannels for spinal cord repair
  5. Spinal cord repair-blocking the main side-effects of intervention
  6. Gap junctions in the brain
  7. Excitatory and inhibitory receptors in ALS
  8. Connexins in neurodegeneration

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.
  • O'Carroll SJ, Gorrie, C. A., Velamoor, S., Green, C. R., & Nicholson, L. F. B. (2013). Connexin43 mimetic peptide is neuroprotective and improves function following spinal cord injury. Neurosci Res, 75 (3), 256-267. 10.1016/j.neures.2013.01.004
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Simon OCarroll, Colin Green
  • Guan, J., Pavlovic, D., Dalkie, N., Waldvogel, H. J., O'Carroll SJ, Green, C. R., & Nicholson, L. F. B. (2013). Vascular degeneration in Parkinson's disease. Brain Pathol, 23 (2), 154-164. 10.1111/j.1750-3639.2012.00628.x
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Simon OCarroll, Henry Waldvogel, Jian Guan, Colin Green, Michael Dragunow
  • Davidson, J. O., Green, C. R., Bennet, L., Nicholson, L. F. B., Danesh-Meyer, H., O'Carroll SJ, & Gunn, A. J. (2013). A key role for connexin hemichannels in spreading ischemic brain injury. Curr Drug Targets, 14 (1), 36-46.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Alistair Gunn, Colin Green, Joanne Davidson, Helen Danesh-Meyer, Simon OCarroll, Laura Bennet
  • Kim, J., Wan, C. K., J O'Carroll S, Shaikh, S. B., & Nicholson, L. F. B. (2012). The role of receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) in neuronal differentiation. J Neurosci Res, 90 (6), 1136-1147. 10.1002/jnr.23014
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Simon OCarroll
  • Shaikh, S. B., Uy, B., Perera, A., & Nicholson, L. F. B. (2012). AGEs-RAGE mediated up-regulation of connexin43 in activated human microglial CHME-5 cells. Neurochemistry International, 60 (6), 640-651. 10.1016/j.neuint.2012.02.023
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Benedict Uy
  • Danesh-Meyer, H. V., Kerr, N. M., Zhang, J., Eady, E. K., O'Carroll SJ, Nicholson, L. F. B., ... Green, C. R. (2012). Connexin43 mimetic peptide reduces vascular leak and retinal ganglion cell death following retinal ischaemia. Brain, 135 (Pt 2), 506-520. 10.1093/brain/awr338
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Colin Green, Helen Danesh-Meyer, Jie Zhang
  • Davidson, J. O., Green, C. R., Nicholson, L. F. B., O'Carroll SJ, Fraser, M., Bennet, L., & Gunn, A. J. (2012). Connexin hemichannel blockade improves outcomes in a model of fetal ischemia [Accepted Manuscript version]. Annals of Neurology, 71 (1), 121-132. 10.1002/ana.22654
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Laura Bennet, Joanne Davidson, Colin Green, Simon OCarroll, Mhoyra Fraser, Alistair Gunn
  • Yoon, J. J., Green, C. R., O'Carroll SJ, & Nicholson, L. F. (2010). Dose-dependent protective effect of connexin43 mimetic peptide against neurodegeneration in an ex vivo model of epileptiform lesion. Epilepsy Research, 92 (2-3), 153-162. 10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2010.08.014
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Colin Green, Simon OCarroll


Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 505 - Bldg 505
Level 1, Room 101
New Zealand

Web links