About the Project
One of our objectives is to investigate both the production and relevance of neurooestrogens in driving behaviour. This project is designed to test the hypothesis that rapid signaling by locally brain-produced oestrogens is necessary for social behaviour, using male mice as a model. Our hypothesis stems from our experimental observation that an inhibitor to the enzyme aromatase, which synthesizes oestrogen from testosterone, can block aggressive behaviour in male mice. In order to investigate the production of neuroestrogens, we will measure neurooestrogen concentrations in areas of the brain that are relevant to this social behaviour. Secondly, we will selectively knockout aromatase in these areas and measure social behaviour in these mice. If successful, this project will demonstrate for the first time in a mammalian model, the importance of locally produced steroids. Techniques include radioimmunoassays, molecular biological techniques, surgical manipulation with genetically modified mouse models, cell line and mouse behavioural analysis. The student will be part of a vibrant endocrine group at the University of Reading, with an opportunity to get concomitant training in teaching pedagogy. In addition, the student will also have an opportunity to network with the investigator’s overseas collaborators.
Keywords: endocrine, oestrogen, hormone, animal behaviour, aromatase, sexual dimorphism.
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