Our Leadership Teams

BRNZ’s mission demands experienced and dedicated leadership. Our leadership teams focus on three core tasks; setting direction, delivering our strategy, and creating an environment of trust, collegiality and innovation among our members.


Brain Research New Zealand is led by Co-Directors Professors Cliff Abraham (University of Otago) and Peter Thorne (University of Auckland). They share responsibility for developing BRNZ’s vision and strategy, providing science direction, and expanding the science-clinical interface.

Professor Wickliffe Abraham, BA, PhD; FRSNZ
University of Otago

Expert in synaptic plasticity, metaplasticity and the neural mechanisms of memory and Alzheimer’s disease

Professor Abraham is the Founder of the Brain Health Research Centre at the University of Otago. He has been continuously funded by the MRC/HRC for 26 years, during which time he has served as Director of HRC Programme grants for 16 years (1994-2004, 2010-2015), spanning seven departments and two academic Divisions.

Professor Abraham has attracted and managed over $60million in research grants, including multiple HRC and Marsden grants, a Human Frontiers grant and a subcontract to an NIH Javits award.

He also has extensive leadership experience, having served as the Chair of the Psychology Department at the University of Otago (2003-2005).

Professor Abraham is a founding member (since 1983) and then Chair for eleven years of the Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research.

Professor Peter Thorne, BSc, DipSci, PhD; CNZM
University of Auckland

Expert in diseases of the inner ear and the effects of noise and consequences of ageing on the auditory system.

Professor Peter Thorne has a joint appointment in the Section of Audiology and Department of Physiology at the University of Auckland. He is a Director of the Eisdell Moore Centre and Co-Director of Brain Research New Zealand.

Professor Thorne completed his PhD at the University of Auckland and post-doctoral studies at the University of Auckland and at the Kresge Hearing Research Institute, University of Michigan. His research is in the area of sensory neurobiology particularly inner ear homeostasis and the influence of noise exposure and ageing on hearing. He is the Chairman of the National Foundation for the Deaf and is on the Board of the Deafness Research Foundation.

In 2009, he was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for services to audiology and auditory neuroscience.


BRNZ's Executive Management Team

Theme Leaders

Research Theme Leadership

Early Career Advisory Group

Developing Emerging Researchers