Olivia Harrison Back

University of Otago, NZ

Dr Olivia Harrison is a Rutherford Discovery Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer at the University of Otago, New Zealand. Dr Harrison completed a double degree in Neuroscience and Exercise Physiology at Otago, before moving to the University of Oxford to study her DPhil in Clinical Neuroscience. She then completed a Marie Sk?odowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship in Switzerland, before moving to the Department of Psychology at Otago in 2021.

Dr Harrison’s research focuses on the brain’s perception of breathing. Her work has considered these perceptions across a wide range of populations, from healthy volunteers, endurance athletes, those with lung conditions such as asthma and chronic lung disease, and more recently within the field of mental health and anxiety. Dr Harrison uses inspiratory resistances delivered alongside concurrent high-field neuroimaging and has identified circuitry within the midbrain periaqueductal gray that responds to both anticipation and perception of mechanical breathing loads. Her work now also incorporates computational models to better understand how individuals learn about breathing stimuli, and how predictions and prediction errors towards breathing may be altered under different physiological and psychological conditions.