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Professor Debbie Lucy Hay

BSc (hons), PhD

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Head of School


2002         PhD (Molecular Pharmacology), Imperial College London, UK.

1999         BSc (Hons) in Pharmacology, University of Sheffield, UK.

Research | Current

Research in the Hay laboratory focuses on G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). These proteins are the cellular targets of natural hormones and are some of the most important drug targets. The research aims to contribute to the development of medicines to treat migraine, cancer, lymphatic insufficiency, cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes, whilst revealing fundamental mechanisms of cell signalling. A particular focus of the lab is class B GPCRs and their interactions with accessory proteins known as “receptor activity-modifying proteins”.

Work in the lab spans a range of areas with local and international collaborators, including: pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, peptide chemistry, structural biology, molecular biology, immunohistochemistry and culture of cell lines and primary cells. Debbie also has a particular interest in receptor nomenclature in association with the International Union of Pharmacology.

Teaching | Current

Current Head of School with no teaching for 2019.



2018         Gavin and Ann Kellaway Medical Research Fellowship from the Auckland Medical Research Foundation

2018         School of Biological Sciences Researcher of the Year Award for outstanding contributions to research in 2017

2016         British Journal of Pharmacology Editor Performance Award

2016         James Cook Fellowship from the Royal Society of New Zealand (2017-2019)

2015         Tregear Award from the Australian Peptide Association for outstanding research in the field of peptide chemistry and biology and underpinning technologies.

2014         Faculty of Science Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence

2013         Novartis Prize for published work (British Pharmacological Society)

2013         Custom Science New Zealand Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Award (senior scientist award)

2009         Invitrogen Life Science Award for excellence in molecular biology in New Zealand

2008         Early Career Research Excellence Award (University of Auckland)

2007         Promising Researcher Award, Queenstown Molecular Biology Meeting, New Zealand

2005         Denis Wade Johnson & Johnson New Investigator Award (ASCEPT)

2003         Young Investigator Award, Neuropeptides 2003, Montauk, New York, USA

2001         Young Investigator Award, Fourth International Meeting on CGRP, Copenhagen, Denmark

2000         Young Investigator Award, Second International Conference on Adrenomedullin and PAMP, Miyazaki, Japan


2018-        Elected Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society (FBPhS)

2018-        Appointed Principal investigator of the Maurice Wilkins Centre

2012-        Corresponding Member (invited) of NC-IUPHAR (one of only 28 worldwide)

The International Union of Pharmacology Committee on Receptor Nomenclature and Drug Classification (NC-IUPHAR) has the mission of issuing guidelines for classifying pharmacological targets, and addressing the main issues in pharmacology today

2010-        Principal investigator of the Centre for Brain Research

2009-18    Associate investigator of the Maurice Wilkins Centre



Areas of expertise

Receptor accessory proteins (RAMPs), peptide hormones, CGRP, migraine, amylin, adrenomedullin, calcitonin, GPCRs

Committees/Professional groups/Services

2015- Editorial board member of the British Journal of Pharmacology

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Hendrikse, E. R., Bower, R. L., Hay, D. L., & Walker, C. S. (2019). Molecular studies of CGRP and the CGRP family of peptides in the central nervous system. Cephalalgia : an international journal of headache, 39 (3), 403-419. 10.1177/0333102418765787
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Christopher Walker, Erica Hendrikse
  • Liang, Y.-L., Khoshouei, M., Deganutti, G., Glukhova, A., Koole, C., Peat, T. S., ... Miller, L. J. (2018). Cryo-EM structure of the active, Gs-protein complexed, human CGRP receptor. Nature, 561 (7724), 492-497. 10.1038/s41586-018-0535-y
  • Williams, E. T., Harris, P. W. R., Jamaluddin, M. A., Loomes, K. M., Hay, D. L., & Brimble, M. A. (2018). Solid-Phase Thiol-Ene Lipidation of Peptides for the Synthesis of a Potent CGRP Receptor Antagonist. Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English), 57 (36), 11640-11643. 10.1002/anie.201805208
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Margaret Brimble, Elyse Williams, Paul Harris, Kerry Loomes, Aqfan Jamaluddin
  • Simms, J., Uddin, R., Sakmar, T. P., Gingell, J. J., Garelja, M. L., Hay, D. L., ... Poyner, D. R. (2018). Photoaffinity Cross-Linking and Unnatural Amino Acid Mutagenesis Reveal Insights into Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide Binding to the Calcitonin Receptor-like Receptor/Receptor Activity-Modifying Protein 1 (CLR/RAMP1) Complex. Biochemistry, 57 (32), 4915-4922. 10.1021/acs.biochem.8b00502
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Margaret Brimble, Joseph Gingell, Michael Garelja, Paul Harris
  • Dal Maso, E., Zhu, Y., Pham, V., Reynolds, C. A., Deganutti, G., Hick, C. A., ... Wang, M.-W. (2018). Extracellular loops 2 and 3 of the calcitonin receptor selectively modify agonist binding and efficacy. Biochemical pharmacology, 150, 214-244. 10.1016/j.bcp.2018.02.005
  • Garelja, M. L., Walker, C. A., Siow, A., Yang, S. H., Harris, P. W. R., Brimble, M. A., ... Hay, D. L. (2018). Receptor Activity Modifying Proteins Have Limited Effects on the Class B G Protein-Coupled Receptor Calcitonin Receptor-Like Receptor Stalk. Biochemistry, 57 (8), 1410-1422. 10.1021/acs.biochem.7b01180
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Margaret Brimble, Sung Hyun Yang, Joseph Gingell, Michael Garelja, Paul Harris, Christopher Walker
  • Hay, D. L., Garelja, M. L., Poyner, D. R., & Walker, C. S. (2018). Update on the pharmacology of calcitonin/CGRP family of peptides: IUPHAR Review 25. British journal of pharmacology, 175 (1), 3-17. 10.1111/bph.14075
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Michael Garelja, Christopher Walker
  • Walker, C. S., Raddant, A. C., Woolley, M. J., Russo, A. F., & Hay, D. L. (2018). CGRP receptor antagonist activity of olcegepant depends on the signalling pathway measured. Cephalalgia, 38 (3), 437-451. 10.1177/0333102417691762
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Christopher Walker


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 2, Room 292
New Zealand

Web links