Basal Ganglia Research Group

University of Otago

Professor John Reynolds

Department of Anatomy, University of Otago.

Contact details: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Phone +64 3 4795781

The primary focus of the research performed by the Reynolds group is on unraveling the normal role of synaptic plasticity in movement and learning processes in the striatum and cerebral cortex in vivo. This involves a variety of techniques including electrophysiological recording, molecular biology, immunohistochemistry and operant behaviour.


Ongoing and recently completed projects include:

  • Developing an in vivo on-demand drug delivery system for the brain with potential application in treating conditions such as Parkinson’s and epilepsy.
  • Profiling the cell-specific genome-wide gene expression changes in the striatum associated with the aberrant plasticity seen in parkinsonian-related dyskinesia, and normal learning-related dopamine-dependent plasticity.
  • Investigating the use of neuromodulation in a translational stroke study in humans.
  • Investigating the functional and electrophysiological effects of applying electrical stimulation to the brain following stroke.
  • Investigating electrical stimulation techniques to measure and modify how the hemispheres of the brain communicate after motor cortex stroke.
  • Investigating how magnetic stimulation alters the activity of neurons in the stroke-damaged brain.


Collaborators include:

Otago University:

Chemistry(Tan Lab), Physiology (Hyland Lab), Pyschology (Abraham lab), Anatomy (Parr-Brownlie Lab), Biochemistry (Dearden lab), Surgical Sciences(Prof Dirk DeRidder), Physiotherapy (Prof Leigh Hale), School of Physical Education(Shemmel lab), Pharmacy(Prof Ian Tucker), Neurology (Dr Nick Cutfield)


UK (Sheffield, Prof Peter Redgrave), Oxford (Magill and Cragg groups) and in the USA Chicago (Tseng and West groups).

Funding sources gratefully acknowledged:  Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, BRNZ Core, National Science Challenge Ageing Well, Holdsworth Charitable Trust, and Neurological Foundation.


Reynolds Lab Members Christmas 2016: Back, left to right, Dr Joyce Lim, Dr Jamie McQuillan, Jason Gray, Dr Dave Bergin, Prof John Reynolds.  Front: Ricci Bergin, Natalie Matheson, Annabel Kean, Dr Laura Boddington.  Absent: Rosie Melchers