University of Otago.Department of Physiology.Department of Physiology.

Physiology TV

An overview of Physiology at the University of Otago.


17th May, 2018

BMS Postgraduate Colloquium

Congratulations to all the students who presented at the BMS Postgraduate Colloquium this week.

11th April, 2018

PCOS research featured in the news

The latest exciting findings from Assoc Prof Rebecca Campbell's lab into the role of brain signalling in polycystic ovary syndrome was featured on RadioNZ on 10th April.

14th March, 2018

Is a man's grey matter the same as a woman's? The documentary features Professor Allan Herbison and Dr Jenny Clarkson and was made with the support of NZ on Air.

9th February, 2018

Dahlia based diabetes drug developed by Physiology researcher ready for human trials

In partnership with Plant and Food Research, researchers will soon begin human trials of a drug made from dahlias.

9th January, 2018

Otago breakthrough in diabetic heart disease

The molecule responsible for heart disease in diabetics has been identified by University of Otago researchers, greatly improving chances of survival.

Next Event

28th May, 2018

(i) Bradley Jamieson & (ii) Shalini Kumar, 1-yr PhD Presentation, Department of Physiology

PhD Programme.


Unless stated otherwise, Departmental Seminars are held in the Hercus D'Ath Lecture Theatre at 13:00 on the day specified.

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Department of Physiology

Monday, 28th May 2018 - Hercus d'Ath Lecture Theatre at 13:00.

(i) Bradley Jamieson & (ii) Shalini Kumar, 1-yr PhD Presentation, Department of Physiology

(i) Investigating the suprachiasmatic vasopressin input of RP3V kisspeptin neurons
(ii) Kisspeptin regulation of the oxytocin system in pregnancy

(i)The biological clock resides in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus, and controls the mammalian circadian rhythms. One rhythm is the oestrous cycle, necessary for female fertility. Prior to ovulation, kisspeptin neurons in the rostral periventricular area of the third ventricle (RP3V) are activated and drive a downstream surge of gonadotropin hormones. As well as integrating hormonal responses, RP3V kisspeptin neurons receive circadian signals in order to time the preovulatory surge to a certain period the oestrous cycle. My PhD project investigates how a subpopulation of SCN neurons expressing the neuropeptide vasopressin are involved with relaying signals from the biological clock to the RP3V kisspeptin neurons. This is being looked at both anatomically, and physiologically by using optogenetics and electrophysiology, to determine the functional impact this neural circuitry has on female fertility and ovulation

(ii) Oxytocin is secreted from the posterior pituitary gland by hypothalamic neurones in the supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei, and is required for normal parturition. Kisspeptin fibre density surrounding oxytocin neurones increases in late pregnancy and we have previously demonstrated that central kisspeptin excites oxytocin neurones only in late pregnancy. Kisspeptin and oxytocin neurones express prolactin receptors and placental lactogen, which acts on prolactin receptors, is elevated in late pregnancy. To determine whether prolactin receptor activation is sufficient to increase kisspeptin fibre expression in late pregnancy, I determined the effect of prolonged subcutaneous infusion of prolactin on kisspeptin neurones in virgin mice. Next, I will determine whether increased kisspeptin activation of oxytocin neurones is involved in birth by targeted ablation of the kisspeptin neuron population during pregnancy.

Department of Physiology

Monday, 11th June 2018 - Hercus d'Ath Lecture Theatre at 13:00.

Caroline Focke, 1-yr PhD Presentation, Department of Physiology


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I spent my summer doing something that I'm passionate about!

Erin Hoskins - Summer Research Student 2009/2010