Professor Stafford Lightman
Stafford Lightman is Professor of Medicine at the University of Bristol and was the founding Director of the Henry Wellcome Laboratories for Integrative Neuroscience and Endocrinology. He started his scientific career working on catecholamines and opioid peptides with Leslie Iversen at the University of Cambridge and provided some of the first data linking opioid peptides with the regulation of neurohypophysial function. At this time he also performed some of the first studies demonstrating the importance of brain stem catecholamine pathways in the regulation of hypothalamic activity. On moving to what is now Imperial College in London, he started to develop his studies on the role of the brain in the regulation of the stress response. He demonstrated the shift from CRH to arginine vasopressin in the control of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis during chronic stress, demonstrated and characterised the development of stress hyporesponsiveness during lactation in both rats and man and developed models of immunological activation of the stress response. More recently he has been investigating 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. His team have demonstrated the importance of glucocorticoid oscillations for tissue specific glucocorticoid receptor mediated signal transduction. He is now 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.
Stafford Lightman is a Fellow of The Royal Society, a founder Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. He was also the founder Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Neuroendocrinology, the founder Chairman of the Pituitary Foundation and a Council Member of the Physiological Society.