Dr Toni Pitcher

PhD

Senior Research Fellow

New Zealand Brain Research Institute, Christchurch

Senior Research Fellow

Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch

Phone: (+64 3) 378 6075

Education

PhD in Neuroscience, University of Otago, Dunedin (2007)
BSc(Hons) in Anatomy, University of Otago, Dunedin (2002)

Current Role

I am a Senior Research Fellow in Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch. I am involved in a number of projects relating to Parkinson’s and dementia. Within the Institute’s longitudinal Parkinson’s cohort, I co-ordinate the collection, storage, and use of biological samples (blood and urine). These samples are used in conjunction with collaborators (local, national, and international) to help further our understanding of biological pathways involved in the disease processes through the investigation of genetic and epigenetic factors, and the investigation of blood proteins levels as potential markers of the disease.

 

I lead an epidemiology project, providing much needed information about the number of people in New Zealand living with Parkinson’s (Myall et al. 2017, Pitcher et al. 2018). We continue to use the national health datasets to further our understanding of the number of people with Parkinson’s dementia, mortality within this patient group, and regional variation in the numbers with the disease. I am also part of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society’s Epidemiology Study Group.

 

During 2019, I will carry out a project aimed at establishing the research priorities of people with Parkinson’s in New Zealand. This project will be completed in partnership with Parkinson’s New Zealand and the Neurological Foundation. The project will give the people living with Parkinson’s a chance to inform the research community of their hopes for Parkinson’s research.

Research Interests

Epidemiology of Parkinson’s
Genetic risk factors in Parkinson’s disease
Blood biomarkers of Parkinson’s disease
Community engagement
MRI in Parkinson’s disease
Saccadic eye movement deficits in Parkinson’s disease

Funding

Neurological Foundation of New Zealand
NZBRI
Brain Research New Zealand
Lotteries Health New Zealand

Publications

Provided on request for non-commercial personal use by researchers.

2019

Chundru, V. K., Marioni, R. E., Prendergast, J. G. D., Vallerga, C. L., Lin, T., Beveridge, A. J., SGPD Consortium,... Visscher, P. M., McRae, A. F. (2019). Examining the impact of imputation errors on fine-mapping using DNA methylation QTL as a model trait. Genetics. 10.1534/genetics.118.301861
Download Beta amyloid deposition is not associated with cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease.
Melzer, T. R., Stark, M. R., Keenan, R. J., Myall, D. J., MacAskill, M. R., Pitcher, T. L., Livingston, L., Grenfell, S., Horne, K., Young, B., Pascoe, M., Almuqbel, M. A., Wang, J., Marsh, S., Miller, D. H., Dalrymple-Alford, J. C., Anderson, T. J. (2019). Beta amyloid deposition is not associated with cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease. Frontiers in Neurology, 10, 391. 10.3389/fneur.2019.00391
Download Moving beyond neurons: the role of cell type-specific gene regulation in Parkinson’s disease heritability.
Reynolds, R. H., Botía, J., Nalls, M. A., International Parkinson’s Disease Genomics Consortium (IPDGC), System Genomics of Parkinson’s Disease (SGPD), Hardy, J., Taliun, S. A. G., Ryten, M. (2019). Moving beyond neurons: the role of cell type-specific gene regulation in Parkinson’s disease heritability. npj Parkinson's Disease, 5, 1-14. 10.1038/s41531-019-0076-6

2018

Download The genetic architecture of the human cerebral cortex.
Grasby, Katrina L., Jahanshad, Neda, Painter, Jodie N., ..., Melzer, Tracy R., ..., Pitcher, Toni L., ..., Anderson, Tim J., ..., Dalrymple-Alford, John C., ..., on behalf of the Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis Consortium - Genetics working group (2018). The genetic architecture of the human cerebral cortex. BioRxiv, 399402. 10.1101/399402
Download Brain activation during processing of genuine facial emotion in depression: Preliminary findings.
Groves, S. J., Pitcher, T. L., Melzer, T. R., Jordan, J., Carter, J. D., Malhi, G. S., Johnston, L.C., Porter, R. J. (2018). Brain activation during processing of genuine facial emotion in depression: Preliminary findings. Journal of Affective Disorders, 225, 91-96. 10.1016/j.jad.2017.07.049
Download Parkinson’s disease across ethnicities: a nation-wide study in New Zealand.
Pitcher, T. L., Myall, D. J., Pearson, J. F., Lacey, C. J., Dalrymple-Alford, J. C., Anderson, T. J., MacAskill, M. R. (2018). Parkinson’s disease across ethnicities: a nation-wide study in New Zealand. Movement Disorders, 33, 1440-1448. 10.1002/mds.27389
Download Improved prediction of chronological age from DNA methylation limits it as a biomarker of ageing.
Zhang, Qian, Vallerga, Costanza, ..., Pitcher, Toni L., ..., Anderson, Tim J., ..., Deary, Ian, Mcrae, Allan & Visscher, Peter (2018). Improved prediction of chronological age from DNA methylation limits it as a biomarker of ageing. BioRxiv, 327890. 10.1101/327890

2017

Download Caregiver burden is increased in Parkinson’s disease with mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI).
Jones, A. J., Kuijer, R. G., Livingston, L., Myall, D., Horne, K., MacAskill, M., Pitcher, T., Barrett, P. T., Anderson, T. J., Dalrymple-Alford, J. C. (2017). Caregiver burden is increased in Parkinson’s disease with mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI). Translational Neurodegeneration, 6(17). 10.1186/s40035-017-0085-5
Download Parkinson's in the oldest old: Impact on estimates of future disease burden.
Myall, D.J., Pitcher, T.L., Pearson, J.F., Dalrymple-Alford, J.C., Anderson, T.J., MacAskill, M.R. (2017). Parkinson's in the oldest old: Impact on estimates of future disease burden. Parkinsonism and Related Disorders, 42, 78-84. 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2017.06.018

2016

Download Metabolite ratios in the posterior cingulate cortex do not track cognitive decline in Parkinson's disease in a clinical setting.
Almuqbel, M., Melzer, T.R., Myall, D.J., MacAskill, M.R., Pitcher, T.L., Livingston, L., Wood, K., Keenan, R.J., Dalrymple-Alford, J.C., Anderson, T.J. (2016). Metabolite ratios in the posterior cingulate cortex do not track cognitive decline in Parkinson's disease in a clinical setting. Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, 22, 54-61. 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2015.11.008
Download Different PD-MCI criteria and risk of dementia in Parkinson’s disease: Four year longitudinal study.
Wood, K., Myall, D.J., Livingston, L., Melzer, T.R., Pitcher, T.L., MacAskill, M.R., Geurtsen, G.J., Anderson, T.J., Dalrymple-Alford, J.C. (2016). Different PD-MCI criteria and risk of dementia in Parkinson’s disease: Four year longitudinal study. npj Parkinson's Disease, 2, 15027. 10.1038/npjparkd.2015.27

2015

Download Tracking Parkinson's disease over one year with multimodal magnetic resonance imaging in a group of older patients with moderate disease.
Melzer, T.R., Myall, D.J., MacAskill, M.R., Pitcher, T.L., Livingston, L., Watts, R., Keenan, R.J., Dalrymple-Alford, J.C., Anderson, T.J. (2015). Tracking Parkinson's disease over one year with multimodal magnetic resonance imaging in a group of older patients with moderate disease. PLOS ONE, 10, e0143923. 10.1371/journal.pone.0143923

2014

Download Trends in antiparkinsonian medication use in New Zealand: 1995-2011.
Pitcher, T. L., MacAskill, M. R., Anderson, T. J. (2014). Trends in antiparkinsonian medication use in New Zealand: 1995-2011. Parkinson’s Disease, 2014(379431), 1-9. 10.1155/2014/379431

2013

Download White matter microstructure deteriorates across cognitive stages in Parkinson disease.
Melzer, T. R., Watts, R., MacAskill, M. R., Pitcher, T. L., Livingston, L., Keenan, R., Dalrymple-Alford, J. C., Anderson, T. J. (2013). White matter microstructure deteriorates across cognitive stages in Parkinson disease. Neurology, 80, 1841-1849. 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182929f62

2012

Download The influence of motor and cognitive impairment upon visually-guided saccades in Parkinson’s disease.
MacAskill, M. R., Graham, C. F., Pitcher, T. L., Myall, D. J., Livingston, L., van Stockum, S., Dalrymple-Alford, J. C., Anderson, T. J. (2012). The influence of motor and cognitive impairment upon visually-guided saccades in Parkinson’s disease. Neuropsychologia, 50, 3338-3347. 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2012.09.025
Download Grey matter atrophy in cognitively impaired Parkinson’s disease.
Melzer, T. R., Watts, R., MacAskill, M. R., Pitcher, T. L., Livingston, L., Keenan, R., Dalrymple-Alford, J. C., Anderson, T. J. (2012). Grey matter atrophy in cognitively impaired Parkinson’s disease. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, 83(2), 188-194. 10.1186/2047-9158-1-17
Download Reduced striatal volumes in Parkinson’s disease: a magnetic resonance imaging study.
Pitcher, T. L., Melzer, T. R., MacAskill, M. R., Graham, C. F., Livingston, L., Keenan, R. J., Watts, R., Dalrymple-Alford, J. C., Anderson, T. J. (2012). Reduced striatal volumes in Parkinson’s disease: a magnetic resonance imaging study. Translational Neurodegeneration, 1(1), 17. 10.1186/2047-9158-1-17

2011

Download Arterial spin labelling reveals an abnormal cerebral perfusion pattern in Parkinson’s disease.
Melzer, T. R., Watts, R., MacAskill, M. R., Pearson, J. F., Rüeger, S., Pitcher, T. L., Livingston, L., Graham, C., Keenan, R., Shankaranarayanan, A., Alsop, D. C., Dalrymple-Alford, J. C., Anderson, T. J. (2011). Arterial spin labelling reveals an abnormal cerebral perfusion pattern in Parkinson’s disease. Brain,  134(3), 845-855. 10.1093/brain/awq377
Download Enhanced high-frequency membrane potential fluctuations control spike output in striatal fast-spiking interneurones in vivo.
Schulz, J. M., Pitcher, T. L., Savanthrapadian, S., Wickens, J. R., Oswald, M. J., Reynolds, J. N. (2011). Enhanced high-frequency membrane potential fluctuations control spike output in striatal fast-spiking interneurones in vivo. The Journal of Physiology, 589(17), 4365-81. 10.1113/jphysiol.2011.212944

2007

Download Differences in striatal spiny neuron action potentials between the spontaneously hypertensive and Wistar-Kyoto rat strains.
Pitcher, T. L., Wickens, J. R., Reynolds, J. N. (2007). Differences in striatal spiny neuron action potentials between the spontaneously hypertensive and Wistar-Kyoto rat strains. Neuroscience, 146(1), 135-42. 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2007.01.003

Abstracts and Short papers

2016

Horne, K, Myall, DJ, Livingston, L, Grenfell, SF, Melzer, TR, Pitcher, TL, MacAskill, MR, Anderson, TJ, Dalrymple-Alford, JC (2016). Risk of dementia in Parkinson’s disease: Towards optimal short cognitive testing.  Proceedings of the 34th International Winter Conference on Brain Research, 1.
Myall, DJ, Pitcher, TL, MacAskill, MR, Pearson, JF, Lacey, C, Dalrymple-Alford, J C, Anderson, T J (2016). Epidemiology of Parkinson’s in New Zealand: Sex, age, and future burden.  Proceedings of the 34th International Winter Conference on Brain Research,  34, 10, 4.
Pitcher, TL, Myall, DJ, MacAskill, MR, Pearson, JF, Lacey, C, Dalrymple-Alford, J C, Anderson, T J (2016). Ethnic and regional differences in Parkinson’s disease in New Zealand.  Proceedings of the 34th International Winter Conference on Brain Research, 5.

2015

Almuqbel, M, Melzer, TR, Myall, DJ, MacAskill, MR, Livingston, L, Pitcher, TL, Dalrymple-Alford, JC, Anderson, TJ (2015). Longitudinal magnetic resonance spectroscopy in Parkinson’s disease. Proceedings of the 21st Annual Meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping.

2014

Almuqbel, M., Melzer, T., Myall, D., MacAskill, M., Livingston, L., Wood, K., Pitcher, T., Dalrymple-Alford, J. , Anderson, T. (2014). Cognitive status in Parkinsons disease characterised by magnetic resonance spectroscopy.  Proceedings of the International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research (AWCBR), Queenstown, New Zealand,  32, 34.
Melzer, T., Myall, D., Livingston L., , Wood, K., Pitcher, T., Keenan, R., MacAskill, M., Dalrymple-Alford, J. , Anderson, T. (2014). White matter lesions - a factor in developing dementia in patients with Parkinsons disease.  Proceedings of the International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research (AWCBR), Queenstown, New Zealand, 32, Abstract 3.5.
Myall, D., Wood, K., Livingston, L., Pitcher, T., Melzer, T., MacAskill, M., Anderson, T. , Dalrymple-Alford, J. (2014). Individualised medicine: Predicting dementia in Parkinsons disease.  Proceedings of the International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research (AWCBR), Queenstown, New Zealand,  32, Abstract 8.1.
Wood, K., Myall, D., Livingston, L., Melzer, T., Pitcher, T., MacAskill, M., Anderson, T. , Dalrymple-Alford, J. (2014). Comparing mild cognitive impairment criteria in Parkinsons disease: influence on dementia onset.  Proceedings of the International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research (AWCBR), Queenstown, New Zealand, 32, Abstract 6.4.

2013

Dalrymple-Alford, J. C., Livingston, L., Melzer, T. R., Wood, K., Goh, T. J., Pitcher, T. L., Graham, C. F., Keenan, R. J., MacAskill, M. R. , Anderson, T.J. (2013). Current perspectives on Parkinsons disease: Cognition to the fore.  Proceedings of the 31st Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research 2013, Queenstown,  Volume 31, Abstract 29.
Dalrymple-Alford, J., McCurrie, C., Anderson, T., Watts, R., MacAskill, M., Pitcher, T., Livingston, L., Keenan, R. , Melzer, T. (2013). Domain specific cognitive dysfunction in Parkinson’s Disease and associated pattern of grey matter atrophy.  Proceedings of the Movement Disorders Society 17th International Congress - Sydney, Abstract 572..
Melzer, T. R., Watts, R., MacAskill, M., Pitcher, T., Livingston, L., Keenan, R., Dalrymple-Alford, J. , Anderson, T. (2013). Serial DTI and cognitive decline in Parkinsons disease. Proceedings of the Movement Disorders Society 17th International Congress, Sydney,  Movement Disorders, 28 Supplement 1, 555.
Pitcher, T., MacAskill, M., Anderson, T. (2013). Trends in anti-parkinsonian medication use in New Zealand: 1995-2011.  In Proceedings of the Movement Disorders Society 17th International Congress, Sydney,  Movement Disorders, 28 Supplement 1, 1089.
Wood, K., Livingston, L., Melzer, T. R., Pitcher, T. L., MacAskill, M. R., Anderson, T. J. , Dalrymple-Alford, J.C. (2013). Criteria for Parkinson’s disease with mild cognitive impairment associated with increased progression to dementia.  Proceedings of the 31st Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research 2013, Queenstown,  Volume 31, 58.