Stafford Lightman started his research career working on catecholamine uptake mechanisms with Leslie Iversen in Cambridge. He completed his clinical studies at the Middlesex Hospital in London before returning to Cambridge and working on the role of opioid peptides and brain stem catecholamine pathways in the regulation of neurohypophysial hormone secretion.
On returning to London and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, he demonstrated the shift in hypothalamic signalling from CRH to arginine vasopressin during chronic stress. He also demonstrated how during lactation, there is a loss of the normal hormone responses to stress.
Currently he investigates the dynamics underlying stress hormone secretion, and using a combination of mathematical modelling and biological testing he has shown that adrenal stress hormones oscillate and that these oscillations emerge as a natural consequence of the interaction between the pituitary gland and the adrenal cortex. He is translating these findings to man and has shown that both emotional state and neural circuitry are sensitive to changes in the pattern of cortisol secretion.
Professor of Medicine and Director, Henry Wellcome Laboratories for Integrative Neuroscience and Endocrinology
Interest and expertise
Anatomy, physiology and neurosciences
Animal (especially mammalian) and human physiology and anatomy (non-clinical), Behavioural neuroscience, Cellular neuroscience, Physiology and medicine (non-clinical)