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Rosie Brown Laboratory

Research interests

I am interested in how the changing hormones of pregnancy and lactation act on neural circuitry in the maternal brain to influence behaviour. In particular, I focus on maternal behaviour, a complex set of behaviours displayed by a mother that promote the survival and wellbeing of her offspring. Our work aims to understand how hormones normally act to direct a mother’s behaviour and how these processes may become disrupted.
At the Centre for Neuroendocrinology, I use transgenic mouse models to address the impact of specific neuroendocrine disruptions on maternal behaviour using behavioural assays. We investigate hormonal actions on neural circuitry underlying parental behaviour using a range of molecular, immunohistochemical and imaging approaches.
I am also interested in how changes in the ability of hormones to access the brain in different physiological or pathological states might underlie changes in hormone function.

Clinical conditions

  • Postpartum depression
  • Postpartum anxiety
  • Maternal obesity

Rosie Brown Laboratory staff & students

Jenny Clarkson_webJenny Clarkson, Research Fellow
Neural circuits required for maternal adaptation to pregnancy

Mary Hawkes_webMary Hawkes, PhD student
Hormonal modulation of the medial preoptic area in the maternal brain

Zin Khant Aung_webZin Khant-Aung, Assistant Research Fellow
Hormonal modulation of maternal aggression (protective behaviour)

Judith Swart_webJudith Swart, PhD student
Involvement of the reward circuitry in prolactin’s regulation of maternal behaviour

Visit Our people for an alphabetical list of all Centre for Neuroendocrinology staff.


Swart, J. M., Grattan, D. R., Ladyman, S. R., & Brown, R. S. E. (2021). Changes in maternal motivation across reproductive states in mice: A role for prolactin receptor activation on GABA neurons. Hormones & Behavior, 135, 105041. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2021.105041

Georgescu, T., Ladyman, S. R., Brown, R. S. E., & Grattan, D. R. (2020). Acute effects of prolactin on hypothalamic prolactin receptor expressing neurones in the mouse. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 32, e12908. doi: 10.1111/jne.12908

Gustafson, P., Ladyman, S. R., McFadden, S., Larsen, C., Khant Aung, Z., Brown, R. S. E., Bunn, S. J., & Grattan, D. R. (2020). Prolactin receptor-mediated activation of pSTAT5 in the pregnant mouse brain. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 32, e12901. doi: 10.1111/jne.12901

Stagkourakis, S., Smiley, K. O., Williams, P., Kakadellis, S., Ziegler, K., Bakker, J., Brown, R. S. E., … Grattan, D. R., & Broberger, C. (2020). A neuro-hormonal circuit for paternal behavior controlled by a hypothalamic network oscillation. Cell, 182, 960-975. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.07.007

Barad, Z., Khant Aung, Z., Grattan, D. R., Ladyman, S. R., & Brown, R. S. E. (2020). Impaired prolactin transport into the brain and functional responses to prolactin in aged male mice. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 32, e12889. doi: 10.1111/jne.12889