Directorate and Operations Group

  • Associate Professor Louise Parr-Brownlie


    Associate Professor Louise Parr-Brownlie (Ngāti Maniapoto me Te Arawa) joined the Department of Anatomy at the University of Otago in 2010. Louise completed her undergraduate and doctoral training at the University of Otago, and was appointed as a Postdoctoral and Research Fellows (2003-2007) at the National Institutes of Health in the United States. Her internationally recognised expertise is understanding how brain cell activity controls movement and characterising changes associated with Parkinson’s disease.

    She is working with bioengineers to develop a light-based brain stimulation technology that may be used in the future to treat Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders. Louise has recently extended her research programme to examine anatomical and physiological changes in the brain associated with chronic pain and to investigate Māori community perspectives of neurosurgical approaches to treat neurological disorders and traumatic brain injury.

    Louise has been an invited speaker at prestigious conferences in the United States, such as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Janelia) and Gordon Research Conferences. She is on the Māori Advisory Board for Brain Research New Zealand – Roro Rangahau Aotearoa Centre of Research Excellence, is the Secretary of the International Basal Ganglia Society Council and has been on the Executive Committee for Te Poutama, the University of Otago’s Māori Academic Staff Caucus.

  • Professor David Baxter


    Professor David Baxter is Professor at the University of Otago, New Zealand. David previously led the University’s School of Physiotherapy as Dean (2005-2015), and was Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Health Sciences. He is former Director of New Zealand’s National Science Challenge for Ageing Well, and Co-Director of the New Zealand-China Research Collaborating Centre. David is a Visiting Professor at Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, and Ulster University (UK), where he completed his undergraduate and doctoral training; he also holds an MBA from Institute of Education at University College London.

    David’s research expertise encompasses laser medicine, musculoskeletal pain, including low back pain; physical activity and health; men’s health; and complementary and alternative medicine. His current research projects include an evaluation of photobiomodulation for breast cancer-related lymphoedema, health and wellbeing in older men, and ageing well with chronic pain.

    Professor Baxter has authored or co-authored over 270 research papers in peer-reviewed journals, and contributed to various textbooks including DeLisa’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He is the Editor in Chief of Physical Therapy Reviews, and a member of the Editorial Boards of several other international peer-reviewed journals. He has presented multiple platform or poster presentations and educational workshops at national and international meetings.

    David has been recognised for his research as a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, the International Academy of Lasers in Medicine and Surgery, and the American Society for Lasers in Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS). He received a Presidential citation from ASLMS in 2015, and the Society’s Horace Furumoto Award for research in 2018. David is also an honorary life member of the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists.

  • Hata Temo



    Te iti aa Tuhoe

    E kata te po


    Ko Maataatua te Waka

    Ko Maunga Pohatu te Maunga

    Ko Hinemataroa te Awa

    Ko Tuhoe te Iwi

    Ko Ngati Tawhaki, Ngati Rongo me Te Mahurehure  na Hapuu

    Ko te Hata Temo taku inoa.

  • Lisa Davis


    Lisa Davis comes to us from the Faculty of Law at University of Otago, where she has been working on a national-level research project on costs and delays in civil cases before the High Court. Having originally trained and worked as a community and social worker, Lisa is also a trained lawyer with previous experience in working as in-house counsel in the University’s Research and Enterprise Office. Over her career she has gained experience in engaging with different communities, working within community-funded agencies, and in managing funder relationships, as well as significant research and community projects.

  • Dr Lizhou Liu

    Assistant Research Fellow

    Dr Lizhou received her PhD from the University of Otago in 2017. Her main research interests are integrative medicine for health and wellbeing. Since completing her PhD, she has been awarded a number of external grants including New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation Belinda Scott Clinical Fellowship, and New Zealand-China Non-Communicable Diseases Emerging Researcher Travel Grant.

  • Rebecca Richardson is an experienced communications advisor and has been working in the field for well over a decade.

    Prior to relocating to Aotearoa, Rebecca worked for Australian Associated Press and as Communications Manager at the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office in Oakland, California. She has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales and is currently undertaking a Masters in History at the University of New England.

    As we continue to focus on Phase 2 research and envisioning the future of Ageing Well, Rebecca is excited to see how her strength in new media and visual storytelling can help further the messaging of Ageing Well.

    For all media-related enquiries, please contact Rebecca at:


  • Sarah Benwell is our Business Support Coordinator and joined the Ageing Well team in May 2020. She has exceptional organisational skills, a knack for being able to juggle a large number of complex tasks, and posseses an encyclopedic knowledge of how to organise well-supported events.

    Sarah has extensive and diverse experience in the fields of administration, health care, and hospitality.  Previously, Sarah’s roles at the University of Otago have included executive support for the Dean of the School of Medicine, and the Dean of the faculty of Dentistry. She has also worked for a number of years in administration at the Otago Museum Trust.

    Sarah is knowledgeable about all things Ageing Well-related and is looking forward to supporting the ongoing development of the Challenge’s work. She can be reached at