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Lab personnel

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 well-being 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. 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.

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Current funding

  • HRC Sir Charles Hercus Fellowship
  • Marsden
  • HRC
  • University of Otago Research Grant

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  • NEUR 303

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Selected publications

Swart, J. M., Grattan, D. R., Ladyman, S. R., & Brown, R. S. E. (2022). Pups and prolactin are rewarding to virgin female and pregnant mice. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, e13232. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/jne.13232

Khant Aung, Z., Masih, R. R., Desroziers, E., Campbell, R. E., & Brown, R. S. E. (2022). Enhanced pup retrieval behaviour in a mouse model of polycystic ovary syndrome. Journal of Neuroendocrinology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/jne.13206

Smiley, K. O., Brown, R. S. E., & Grattan, D. R. (2022). Prolactin action is necessary for parental behavior in male mice. Journal of Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1523/jneurosci.0558-22.2022

Clarkson, J., Grattan, D. R., & Brown, R. S. E. (2022, August-September). Dissecting the neural circuitry controlling maternal behaviour. Poster session presented at the New Zealand Medical Sciences Congress (MedSci), Queenstown, New Zealand.

Wragg, L. J., Cheong, I., & Brown, R. S. E. (2022, August-September). Estrogen regulation of maternal aggression: A role for VMHvl in regulating fertility? Poster session presented at the New Zealand Medical Sciences Congress (MedSci), Queenstown, New Zealand.

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