Associate Professor Stephen Bunn

Associate Professor Stephen Bunn
University Position

Associate Professor


Department of Anatomy Tel 64 3 479 7366 Fax 64 3 479 7254



Our major research interest is in the neuroendocrinology of stress. Current research focuses on two major areas. First, understanding the complex regulation of the adrenal medullary chromaffin cell, specifically how it regulates its secretory output of catecholamines and peptides in response to multiple stress-activated inputs. Much recent work has been directed at understanding how cytokines interact with this stress response. Our second major interest concerns the role of another cytokine, prolactin, on the stress axis. Specifically we are interested in how stressors alter prolactin secretion from the pituitary and what role this prolactin then plays in stress adaptation under different physiological states.

  • Neuroendocrinology of stress
  • Cell biology of the adrenal medulla
  • Prolactin and the stress axis
Clinical conditions

Impaired or inappropriate adaptation to stress contributes to many major disease states

Technical expertise

neuronal cell culture, immunocytochemistry, confocal microscopy, immunoblotting


Following a BSc(Hon) in Medical Biochemistry at the University of Surrey Stephen went to complete a PhD at Imperial College, London where he studied the localization of opioid receptor subtypes within the brain. He then moved to the University of Melbourne funded by a Royal Society Fellowship to investigate opioid receptor action on the neurosecretory chromaffin cells of the adrenal medulla. Continued funding from the NH&MRC supported two subsequent post-doctorial fellowship positions at the University of Newcastle, NSW where he expanded his interest in the receptor mediated signalling in these cells. In 1998 he took a faculty position at the Dept of Anatomy at University of Otago where he became one of the founding members of the Centre for Neuroendocrinology. Full List of publications by year

Laboratory Staff

Research Fellow

Dr Joe Yip

PhD Student

Siobhan Kirk

Danielle Tranter

Selected Recent Publications

B Samal, D Ait-Ali, S Bunn, T Mustafa, LE Eiden (2013). Discrete signal transduction pathway utilization by a neuropeptide (PACAP) and a cytokine (TNF-alpha) first messenger in chromaffin cells, inferred from coupled transcriptome-promoter analysis of regulated gene cohorts. Peptides 45, 48-60. View abstract

N RomanĂ², SH Yip, DJ Hodson, A Guillou, S Parnaudeau, S Kirk, .. (2013). Plasticity of hypothalamic dopamine neurons during lactation results in dissociation of electrical activity and release. The Journal of Neuroscience 33 (10), 4424-4433 View abstract

SH Yip, R Eguchi, DR Grattan, SJ Bunn (2012). Prolactin signalling in the mouse hypothalamus is primarily mediated by signal transducer and activator of transcription factor 5b but not 5a. Journal of neuroendocrinology 24 (12), 1484-1491 View abstract

SJ Bunn, D Ait-Ali, LE Eiden (2012). Immune-neuroendocrine integration at the adrenal gland: cytokine control of the adrenomedullary transcriptome. Journal of Molecular Neuroscience 48 (2), 413-419 View abstract


Centre for Neuroendocrinology Centre for Neuroendocrinology University of Otago