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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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Teaching

  • NEUR 303

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Selected publications

Brown, R. S. E., Aoki, M., Ladyman, S. R., Phillipps, H. R., Wyatt, A., Boehm, U., & Grattan, D. R. (2017). Prolactin action in the medial preoptic area is necessary for postpartum maternal nursing behavior. PNAS, 114(40), 10779-10784. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1708025114

Brown, R. S. E., Kokay, I. C., Phillipps, H. R., Yip, S. H., Gustafson, P., Wyatt, A., Larsen, C. M., Knowles, P., Ladyman, S. R., LeTissier, P., & Grattan, D. R. (2016). Conditional deletion of the prolactin receptor reveals functional subpopulations of dopamine neurons in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. Journal of Neuroscience, 36(35), 9173-9185. doi: 10.1523/jneurosci.1471-16.2016

Brown, R. S. E., Wyatt, A. K., Herbison, R. E., Knowles, P. J., Ladyman, S. R., Binart, N., … Grattan, D. R. (2016). Prolactin transport into mouse brain is independent of prolactin receptor. FASEB Journal, 30(2), 1002-1010. doi: 10.1096/fj.15-276519

Gustafson, P., Ladyman, S. R., & Brown, R. S. E. (2019). Suppression of leptin transport into the brain contributes to leptin resistance during pregnancy in the mouse. Endocrinology, 160(4), 880-890. doi: 10.1210/en.2018-01065

Phillipps, H. R., Rand, C. J., Brown, R. S. E., Kokay, I. C., Stanton, J.-A., & Grattan, D. R. (2019). Prolactin regulation of insulin-like growth factor 2 gene expression in the adult mouse choroid plexus. FASEB Journal, 33, 6115-6128. doi: 10.1096/fj.201802262R

Chapter in Book - Research

Smiley, K. O., Ladyman, S. R., Gustafson, P., Grattan, D. R., & Brown, R. S. E. (2019). Neuroendocrinology and adaptive physiology of maternal care. In Current topics in behavioral neurosciences. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. doi: 10.1007/7854_2019_122

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Journal - Research Article

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

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, e12908. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/jne.12908

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

Ladyman, S. R., Hackwell, E. C. R., & Brown, R. S. E. (2020). The role of prolactin in co-ordinating fertility and metabolic adaptations during reproduction. Neuropharmacology, 167, 107911. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2019.107911

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

Brown, R. S. E., Khant Aung, Z., Phillipps, H. R., Barad, Z., Lein, H.-J., Boehm, U., Szawka, R. E., & Grattan, D. R. (2019). Acute suppression of LH secretion by prolactin in female mice is mediated by kisspeptin neurons in the arcuate nucleus. Endocrinology, 160(5), 1323-1332. doi: 10.1210/en.2019-00038

Phillipps, H. R., Rand, C. J., Brown, R. S. E., Kokay, I. C., Stanton, J.-A., & Grattan, D. R. (2019). Prolactin regulation of insulin-like growth factor 2 gene expression in the adult mouse choroid plexus. FASEB Journal, 33, 6115-6128. doi: 10.1096/fj.201802262R

Gustafson, P., Ladyman, S. R., & Brown, R. S. E. (2019). Suppression of leptin transport into the brain contributes to leptin resistance during pregnancy in the mouse. Endocrinology, 160(4), 880-890. doi: 10.1210/en.2018-01065

Ladyman, S. R., MacLeod, M. A., Khant Aung, Z., Knowles, P., Phillipps, H. R., Brown, R. S. E., & Grattan, D. R. (2017). Prolactin receptors in Rip-cre cells, but not in AgRP neurons, are involved in energy homeostasis. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 29(10), e12474. doi: 10.1111/jne.12474

Brown, R. S. E., Aoki, M., Ladyman, S. R., Phillipps, H. R., Wyatt, A., Boehm, U., & Grattan, D. R. (2017). Prolactin action in the medial preoptic area is necessary for postpartum maternal nursing behavior. PNAS, 114(40), 10779-10784. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1708025114

Brown, R. S. E., Kokay, I. C., Phillipps, H. R., Yip, S. H., Gustafson, P., Wyatt, A., Larsen, C. M., Knowles, P., Ladyman, S. R., LeTissier, P., & Grattan, D. R. (2016). Conditional deletion of the prolactin receptor reveals functional subpopulations of dopamine neurons in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. Journal of Neuroscience, 36(35), 9173-9185. doi: 10.1523/jneurosci.1471-16.2016

Brown, R. S. E., Wyatt, A. K., Herbison, R. E., Knowles, P. J., Ladyman, S. R., Binart, N., … Grattan, D. R. (2016). Prolactin transport into mouse brain is independent of prolactin receptor. FASEB Journal, 30(2), 1002-1010. doi: 10.1096/fj.15-276519

Brown, R. S. E., Herbison, A. E., & Grattan, D. R. (2015). Effects of prolactin and lactation on A15 dopamine neurons in the rostral preoptic area of female mice. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 27(9), 708-717. doi: 10.1111/jne.12297

Liu, X., Brown, R. S. E., Herbison, A. E., & Grattan, D. R. (2014). Lactational anovulation in mice results from a selective loss of kisspeptin input to GnRH neurons. Endocrinology, 155(1), 193-203. doi: 10.1210/en.2013-1621

Brown, R. S. E., Herbison, A. E., & Grattan, D. R. (2014). Prolactin regulation of kisspeptin neurones in the mouse brain and its role in the lactation-induced suppression of kisspeptin expression. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 26(12), 898-908. doi: 10.1111/jne.12223

Brown, R. S. E., Piet, R., Herbison, A. E., & Grattan, D. R. (2012). Differential actions of prolactin on electrical activity and intracellular signal transduction in hypothalamic neurons. Endocrinology, 153(5), 2375-2384. doi: 10.1210/en.2011-2005

Brown, R. S. E., Herbison, A. E., & Grattan, D. R. (2011). Differential changes in responses of hypothalamic and brainstem neuronal populations to prolactin during lactation in the mouse. Biology of Reproduction, 84(4), 826-836. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.110.089185

Brown, R. S. E., Kokay, I. C., Herbison, A. E., & Grattan, D. R. (2010). Distribution of prolactin-responsive neurons in the mouse forebrain. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 518(1), 92-102. doi: 10.1002/cne.22208

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Swart, J. M., Ladyman, S. R., Grattan, D. R., & Brown, R. S. E. (2020). Identifying a role for lactogenic hormones in maternal motivation. Journal of the Endocrine Society, 4(Suppl. 1), (pp. A1075). doi: 10.1210/jendso/bvaa046.2131

Barad, Z., Grattan, D., & Brown, R. (2019). Prolactin acts on glutamatergic neurons in the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus to modulate maternal aggression. Journal of the Endocrine Society, 3(Suppl. 1), OR06-3. doi: 10.1210/js.2019-OR06-3

Smiley, K. O., Brown, R. S. E., & Grattan, D. R. (2019). Identifying a novel role for prolactin in the transition to paternal care. Proceedings of the Hypothalamic Neuroscience and Neuroendocrinology Australasia (HNNA) Meeting. Retrieved from https://www.hnna.co.nz/downloads

Gustafson, P., Ladyman, S. R., Grattan, D., & Brown, R. S. E. (2018). Changing dynamics of prolactin and leptin transport into the brain during pregnancy and with aging. Proceedings of the 9th International Congress of Neuroendocrinology (ICN). (pp. 124). Retrieved from http://www.icn2018.org/

Smiley, K. O., Brown, R. S. E., & Grattan, D. R. (2018). Identifying prolactin-responsive neurons important for the transition to paternal care. Proceedings of the Society for Neuroscience 48th Annual Meeting. 108.08. SfN. Retrieved from https://www.sfn.org

Brown, R. S. E. (2018). Prolactin signaling in the medial preoptic area is critical for maternal behavior. Proceedings of the 9th International Congress of Neuroendocrinology (ICN). (pp. 64). Retrieved from http://www.icn2018.org/

More publications...

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