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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

Georgescu, T., Swart, J. M., Grattan, D. R., & Brown, R. S. E. (2021). The prolactin family of hormones as regulators of maternal mood and behavior. Frontiers in Global Women's Health, 2, 767467. doi: 10.3389/fgwh.2021.767467

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

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