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Central regulation of pregnancy

A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.

Details

Close date
Friday, 8 December 2017
Academic background
Health Sciences
Host campus
Dunedin
On-campus or via distance?
On-campus
Qualification
PhD
Department
Physiology
Supervisor
Professor Colin Brown

Overview

We principally use electrophysiology, immunohistochemistry and molecular biology to determine how the brain controls pregnancy. We focus on the mechanisms that might underpin preterm birth and preeclampsia (high blood pressure in pregnancy) through inappropriate secretion of the hormones, oxytocin and vasopressin. Oxytocin contracts the uterus during birth and vasopressin controls body fluid balance during pregnancy. We have discovered that inputs that control oxytocin neurons increase synthesis of the neuropeptide, kisspeptin, at the end of pregnancy and that kisspeptin excites oxytocin neurons only at the end of pregnancy. We have also found that the response of vasopressin neurons to body fluid balance is reset during pregnancy to allow normal expansion of blood volume. Various projects are available to determine the mechanisms and impact of these observations on pregnancy and how dysregulation of these systems might cause preterm birth or preeclampsia.

Contact

Professor Colin Brown
Email   colin.brown@otago.ac.nz