The Roslin Institute
I have several lines of research currently underway all related to my specific interest in behavioural neuroendocrinology.
My research focuses on how environmental cues can trigger the expression of functionally important behaviours. This is a question of significant importance in neuroscience, and neuroendocrine behaviour is an ideal model to address this problem. Neuroendocrine-related behaviours are thought to be initiated or enabled by peripheral hormone secretion, and appear to involve specific neurohormonal actions of peptides within the brain. The exact mechanisms by which hormones affect the apparent organisational changes in neuronal circuitry and the specific chemical signals involved in sustaining the resulting behaviours, are questions fundamental to understanding behavioural disorders.
Hormonal and neural regulation of social behaviour including aggression and reproductive behaviour including maternal behaviour.
Neuroendocrine control of reproduction, pregnancy and parturition.
Hormonal and neural regulation of food intake.
Adaptations in neuroendocrine stress response mechanisms.
Effects of early life stress in later life.
Indicators of positive animal welfare. Collaborative research with Prof. Alistair Lawrence, SRUC.
The circadian system, photoperiodism and seasonality
Physiological and neuroendocrine adaptations to breeding in the Arctic. Collaborative research with Professor John Wingfield, UC Davis, USA.
Neural and endocrinological bases of nest building, spatial learning and memory in food-storing birds. Collaborative research with Dr Sue Healy, University of St Andrews.
Identification of the photoreceptor for light detection in the avian brain. Collaborative research with Dr Tyler Stevenson, The University of Aberdeen.
The role of sex steroids in regulating the song control nucleus in birds. Collaborative research with Dr George Bentley, UC Berkeley, USA)