Professor Allan Herbison

Professor Allan Herbison
University Position

Professor of Neuroendocrinology

Director, CNE


Department of Physiology Tel 64 3 479 7312 Fax 64 3 479 7323

Herbison Lab Web Link


Work in the Herbison Laboratory is focused upon understanding the properties and functioning of the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons. These neurons are responsible for the initiation of puberty and the subsequent maintenance of reproductive function in adult males and females. We are particularly interested in defining:

  1. how GnRH neurons generate pulsatile LH secretion
  2. how gonadal steroid hormones regulate the activity of GnRH neurons, and
  3. how GnRH neurons become activated at puberty
Clinical conditions


Technical expertise

Morphology, electrophysiology, calcium imaging, transgenic mouse models


After graduating with an intercalated degree in neuroscience and medicine from the University of Otago, and time in clinical practice, Allan received a Commonwealth Scholarship to undertake a PhD in neuroendocrinology at the University of Cambridge. Allan then spent a further 12 years as Principal Investigator at The Babraham Institute and Fellow, Pembroke College, University of Cambridge before returning in 2002 to the Department of Physiology, University of Otago supported by the Wellcome Trust as Professor of Neuroendocrinology. Allan has received multiple fellowships and prizes including the Lister-Jenner Fellowship of the Lister Institute UK, Mortyn Jones Prize of the British Society for Neuroendocrinology, Benoit Prize of the French Société de Neuroendocrinologie Expérimentale, Liley Medal from the NZ Health Research Council, Triennial Medal of the Physiological Society of NZ and the Distinguished Research Medal of the University of Otago. Allan was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2007. He has published over 200 research papers and has an H-index of 66.

Full List of publications by year or citations.


Laboratory Staff
Research Fellow/Post-doc

Dr Xinhuai Liu

Dr Jenny Clarkson

Dr Su Han

Dr Jamie McQuillan

Snr Research Technician/Assistant Research Fellow

Rob Porteous

Grace Kane

Alexia Kauff

Masters student

Danielle Shafer

Undergraduate student

Rebecka Raymond

Selected Recent Publications

Cimino I, Casoni F, Liu X, Messina A, Parkash J, Jamin SP, Catteau-Jonard S, Collier F, Baroncini M, Dewailly D, Pigny P, Prescott M, Campbell R, Herbison AE, Prevot V, Giacobini P. (2016) Novel role for anti-Müllerian hormone in the regulation of GnRH neuron excitability and hormone secretion. Nat Commun. 2016 Jan 12;7:10055. View abstract

Han SY, McLennan T, Czieselsky K, Herbison AE (2015) Selective Optogenetic activation of arcuate kisspeptin neurons generates pulsatile luteinizing hormone secretion. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 112, 13109-13114. View abstract

Piet R, Fraissenon A, Boehm U, and Herbison AE (2015) Estrogen Permits Vasopressin Signaling in Preoptic Kisspeptin Neurons in the Female Mouse. J Neurosci, 35:6881-92.  View abstract

Cheong RY, Czieselsky K, Porteous R, Herbison AE (2015) ESR1+ glutamatergic and GABAergic neurons are essential for normal puberty onset, estrogen feedback, and fertility in female mice. J Neurosci 35, 14533-14543.

Campos P and Herbison AE (2014) Optogenetic activation of GnRH neurons reveals minimal requirements for pulsatile luteinizing hormone secretion. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 111:18387-92. View abstract

Kirilov M, Clarkson J, Liu X, Roa J, Campos P, Porteous R, Schütz G, Herbison AE (2013) Dependence of fertility on kisspeptin-Gpr54 signaling at the GnRH neuron. Nat Commun, 4: 2492. View abstract

Piet R, Boehm U, Herbison AE (2013) Estrous cycle plasticity in the hyperpolarization-activated current ih is mediated by circulating 17β-estradiol in preoptic area kisspeptin neurons. J Neurosci, 33: 10828-39. View abstract

Herde MK, Iremonger KJ, Constantin S, Herbison AE (2013) GnRH Neurons Elaborate a Long-Range Projection with Shared Axonal and Dendritic Functions. J Neurosci, 33: 12689-97. View abstract

Centre for Neuroendocrinology Centre for Neuroendocrinology University of Otago