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Contact Details

+64 3 479 8207
Senior Lecturer
Department of Physiology
BSc(Hons) PhD
Research summary


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. 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.

Additional details

Major techniques used in our group:

  • Use of transgenic mouse and viral technology to study how hormones acting in the brain alter behaviour
  • Molecular biology to examine transcriptional changes in neurons during behaviour and In different reproductive states
  • Tacking the movement of labelled hormones from the blood into the brain
  • Immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridisation to map hormone responsive neurons in the brain


Menezes, F., Wasinski, F., de Souza, G. O., Nunes, A. P., Bernandes, E. S., dos Santos, S. N., … Brown, R. S. E., … Donato, J., Jr (2024). The pattern of growth hormone action in the mouse brain. Endocrinology, bqae057. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1210/endocr/bqae057 Journal - Research Article

Khant Aung, Z., Ladyman, S. R., & Brown, R. S. E. (2024). Transient loss of satiety effects of leptin in middle-aged male mice. Journal of Neuroendocrinology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/jne.13386 Journal - Research Article

Perkinson, M. R., Deng, F., Li, Y., Brown, R. S. E., & Lonstein, J. S. (2023). Fiber photometric analysis of nucleus accumbens serotonin release during the display of maternal behavior in female mice. Proceedings of the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting. PSTR352.13/HH28. Retrieved from Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Brown, R. S. E., Jacobs, I. M., Khant Aung, Z., Knowles, P. J., Grattan, D. R., & Ladyman, S. R. (2023). High fat diet-induced maternal obesity in mice impairs peripartum maternal behaviour. Journal of Neuroendocrinology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/jne.13350 Journal - Research Article

Cheong, I., Clarkson, J., & Brown, R. S. E. (2023, August). Dynamic changes in hormone receptor expressionin galanin neurons in the MPOA of pregnant and lactating female mice. Poster session presented at the 17th New Zealand Medical Sciences Congress (MedSci), Queenstown, New Zealand. Conference Contribution - Poster Presentation (not in published proceedings)

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