Bronwyn Kivell

AProf Bronwyn Kivell profile picture

Physiology & Neurobiology School of Biological Sciences


Teaching in 2020

Personal Bio

PhD Victoria University of Wellington | BSc Massey University

I graduated with a BSc with a double major in Physiology and Zoology from Massey University in 1994. Following my undergraduate degree I joined the workforce as a physiology technician in the School of Biological Sciences here at VUW. During this time I completed postgraduate papers part-time and carried out research projects studying the developmental expression of opioid receptors under the supervision of Prof. John Miller. In 2004 I completed my PhD and joined the laboratory of Dr Toni Shippenberg at the National Institutes on Drug abuse (NIH) in Baltimore (USA) as a Postdoctoral research fellow working on kappa opioid receptor and monoamine transporter signalling pathways. I returned to Wellington as a Postdoctoral Fellow where I continued my research into drugs of abuse and regulation of monoamine transporter proteins (Project PI, Prof. Miller). In 2007 I joined the faculty as a lecturer and am currently a senior lecturer in neurobiology in the School of Biological Sciences. My laboratory has several projects investigating the effects of drugs of abuse and investigating the therapeutic potential of structurally novel opioid receptors at both the behavioural, cellular and molecular levels. I am a member of the Centre for Biodiscovery at VUW, and an affiliate member of the Maurice Wilkins Centre.

Research interests

  • Anti-addiction pharmacotherapies
  • Non-addictive pain medications
  • Immunomodulatory effects of kappa opioids
  • Evaluating novel remyelination drugs for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis
  • Drug abuse

Visit the Neuroscience research group


Ewald, AWM, Bosch, P, Culverhouse C, Crowley SR, Neuenswander, B, Prisinzano, TE, Kivell, BM*. (2017). The C-2 derivatives of salvinorin A, ethoxymethyl ether Sal B and β-tetrahydropyran Sal B, have anti-cocaine properties with minimmal side effects. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2017 Aug;234(16):2499-2514 DOI:10.1007/s00213-017-4637-2.

Sherwood AM, Crowley RS, Paton KF, Biggerstaff A, Neuenswander B, Day VW, Kivell BM, Prisinzano TE. (2017). Addressing Structural Flexibility at the A-Ring on Salvinorin A: Discovery of a Potent Kappa-Opioid Agonist with Enhanced Metabolic Stability. J Med Chem. 60(9):3866-3878. IF. 5.45)

Paton, KE. Kumar, N, Crowley, SR, Harper, JL, Prisinzano, TE, Kivell, BM*. (2017). The analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of Salvinorin A analogues Mesyl SalB and β-tetrahydropyran SalB in mice. European Journal of Pain, 21(6):1039-1050. doi: 10.1002/ejp.1002’

Crowley, SR, Riley, AP, Groer, CE, Shivaperumal, N, Biscaia, M, Paton, KE, Schneider, S, Provasi, SD, Kivell, BM, Filizola, M and Prisinzano, TE. (2016). Kurkinorin, a potent, selective, and centrally acting non-nitrogenous probe for mu-opioid receptors. J Med Chem, 59:11027-38. (IF. 5.45; 12 citations)

Bosch PJ, Peng L, Kivell BM*. (2015). Proteomics Analysis of Dorsal Striatum Reveals Changes in Synaptosomal Proteins following Methamphetamine Self-Administration in Rats. PLoS One. 2015 Oct 20;10(10):e0139829. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0139829. eCollection

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Teaching in 2020