Professor Colin Brown

Professor Colin Brown
University Position



Department of Physiology
Tel 64 3 479 7354
Fax 64 3 479 7323


Our research group principally uses electrophysiology and immunohistochemistry to determine how the brain controls birth, lactation, food intake and water balance. We currently focus on the control of the secretion of the hormone, oxytocin, which is necessary for birth and lactation, and is involved in driving increased food intake during pregnancy. We are also investigating how vasopressin (anti-diuretic hormone) neurons prevent water loss in the urine to protect from dehydration and how malfunction of vasopressin neurons might contribute to the development of hypertension.

Clinical conditions

Preterm labour, obesity, dehydration, hypertension

Technical expertise

In vivo extracellular single-unit recording, in vitro sharp electrode and whole cell recording.


After graduating with BSc(Hons) in physiology from the University of Glasgow, Colin received a University Scholarship to undertake a PhD in neuroendocrinology at the University of Glasgow. Colin then spent 12 years as a Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh and McGill University before moving to the Department of Physiology at the University of Otago in 2005, where he is now a professor. He has published over 70 research papers and has an H-index of 25.

Full List of publications by citations.

Laboratory Staff
Research Fellow

Dr Rachael Augustine

Dr Xander Seymour

Research Technician

Greg Bouwer

PhD Student

Aaron Korpal

Ranjan Roy

Shalini Kumar

Selected Recent Publications

Brown CH (2016) Magnocellular Neurons and Posterior Pituitary Function. Compr. Physiol 6:1701-1741. View abstract

Seymour AJ, Scott V., Augustine RA, Bouwer GT, Campbell RE & Brown CH (2016). Development of an excitatory kisspeptin projection to the oxytocin system in late pregnancy. J. Physiol. Feb 1. View abstract

Augustine RA, Bouwer GT, Seymour AJ, Grattan DR, Brown CH. (2016) Reproductive regulation of gene expression in the hypothalamic supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei. J Neuroendocrinol. Apr;28(4) View abstract

Han SY, Bouwer GT, Seymour AJ, Korpal AK, Schwenke DO, Brown CH (2015) Induction of hypertension blunts baroreflex inhibition of vasopressin neurons in the rat.  European Journal of Neuroscience 42(9):2690-8. View abstract

K.Y. Choe, S.Y. Han, P. Gaub, B. Shell, D.L. Voisin, B.A. Knapp, P.A. Barker, C.H. Brown, J.T. Cunningham & C.W. Bourque (2015). High salt intake increases blood pressure via BDNF-mediated downregulation of KCC2 and impaired baroreflex inhibition of vasopressin neurons. Neuron 85, 1–12

Centre for Neuroendocrinology Centre for Neuroendocrinology University of Otago