New Zealand Brain Research Institute

NZBRI LogoThe New Zealand Brain Research Institute is an independent charitable organisation and subsidiary of the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation. NZBRI has a skills-based Board of expert medical professionals alongside experienced business leaders. Visit the NZBRI website by clicking on our logo.

Canterbury businessman Cas van der Veer, a man who didn’t let Parkinson’s inhibit him from leading a full life, left a bequest which enabled the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation to establish the Van der Veer Institute of Parkinson’s and Brain Research in 2004. In 2011, due to its growth and diversification in research subject matter, the organisation became the New Zealand Brain Research Institute (NZBRI).

The Institute encompasses staff and students from multiple academic institutions under one roof, to collaborate and break down the silos that would normally separate professionals from different disciplines. This means at the NZBRI, patients have access to the best in specialist diagnosis, health management and international treatments. In the same building, expert researchers and talented young students use sophisticated technologies to push back the boundaries of knowledge of the brain.

With access to the most powerful MRI scanner in New Zealand, we are able to get accurate imagery of the brain. We have active studies in neurological disorders ranging from Stroke, Parkinson’s, Movement Disorders, Sleep Apnoea and Alzheimer’s. These are collaborative projects with the Neurological Foundation, Canterbury University and University of Otago Christchurch variously.

The NZBRI fosters researchers of tomorrow by offering ten-week summer student study scholarships. Young enquiring minds gain experience of real research environments, under expert guidance, taking part in a focused research project during their summer university break.

We also offer a variety of study incentives and grants to keep the finest researchers in our region, unlocking the key to brain function to benefit the Canterbury region and beyond.

Professor Tim Anderson holds three dedicated clinics per week, observing motor neuron behaviour to diagnose and prescribe the best course of treatment. He also partakes in new pharmaceutical trials for these conditions.

As a physicist, Dr Tracy Melzer has a specialist understanding in the principles of magnetic resonance imaging and is the MRI Research Manager. With access to the powerful MRI scanner in New Zealand, his particular interest is in measuring the movement of blood and water in the brain allows the finest details of brain structures to be seen.