My research interfaces cellular biology, pharmacology, and reproductive physiology, with the goal of understanding and treating fertility disorders emanating from the brain and pituitary. Neuropeptides play a critical role in a number of homeostatic processes, including metabolism, body composition, sleep/wake cycles, response to stress and ageing. However, irregular activity in any one of these processes can usurp normal reproductive function and lead to infertility.
The main goal of my research is to understand how neural networks are modulated by these peptides in the brain relevant to normal development and ageing, and to understand the molecular basis of neuropeptide signalling in both fertile and disease models.
My lab uses transgenic animals, brain slice physiology and molecular approaches to elucidate the cellular events involved with neuroendocrine responses in the hypothalamus and amygdala. We also employ state-of-the art viral vector transduction techniques (e.g. chemogenetics and optogenetics) combined with live calcium imaging and multi-labelling techniques to answer questions related to the neural circuitry underlying these physiological effects. Use of these combined techniques build a powerful arsenal for answering questions related to puberty and fertility.
Current research funding is provided by:
The Northwood Charitable Trust
The Society for Endocrinology - Early Career Grant
The Society for Endocrinology - Equipment Grant
The British Society for Neuroendocrinology - Project Support Grant
Medical Research Scotland - Summer Studentship
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