On February 1, our Director Louise Parr-Brownlie was officially promoted to the position of Professor at the University of Otago. Vice-Chancellor Professor David Murdoch acknowledged Professor Parr-Brownlie for her academic and research work, plus her service and commitment to the University and wider community.
Professor Parr-Brownlie’s internationally recognised expertise is understanding how brain cell activity controls movement and characterising changes associated with Parkinson’s disease. She has collaborated with bioengineers to develop light-based brain stimulation devices that may be used to treat Parkinson’s disease in the future. Additionally, she explores lifestyle, cultural, and clinical factors that may be harnessed to regulate neuroinflammation and slow symptom progression.
Her research draws on Western science and mātauranga Māori research to facilitate positive ageing and equitable treatments for people living in Aotearoa New Zealand with neurodegenerative disorders.
Professor Parr-Brownlie is an internationally recognised expert in Parkinson's Disease, and draws upon Western science and mātauranga Māori to facilitate positive ageing and equitable treatments for people living in Aotearoa New Zealand.
“When I came to the University of Otago as an undergraduate, I could not have predicted where my work would take me. To be made a professor is the realisation of a dream I have worked towards for many years,” said Professor Parr-Brownlie.
“It has been encouraging to see the positive changes in the academy in the last five years, valuing the varied contributions and outcomes of a diverse academic workforce. It’s so heartening to see that the outcomes I personally value and strive for are widely regarded as research excellence,” she continued.
Her leadership affects science sector changes in Aotearoa New Zealand. She is the Chair of the Rauika Māngai – a Māori organisation that advances Mātauranga Māori, accelerates research, and positively influences science policy – and serves as the Deputy Head of Department – Māori for Anatomy at the University of Otago.
Professor Parr-Brownlie is a member of the Health Research Council’s Biomedical Research Committee and the New Zealand Institute of Directors. Internationally, she serves as the Secretary-elect of the International Basal Ganglia Society Council.
When I came to the University of Otago as an undergraduate, I could not have predicted where my work would take me. To be made a professor is the realisation of a dream I have worked towards for many years,” said Professor Parr-Brownlie.
“It is an honour to be named as Professor at the University of Otago. It is a wonderful professional accolade and I wish to thank the various committees and international peer reviewers for the recognition,” said Professor Parr-Brownlie.
“I look forward to serving my numerous communities, continuing to focus on innovative research, and seeking equitable ageing for older people as Director of Ageing Well,” she added.
UPDATE: The Inaugural Professorial Lecture for Professor Parr-Brownlie took place in March 2023 and you can find the recorded version below.