Stafford Lightman is Professor of Medicine at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom and is 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 and developed models of immunological activation of the stress response. More recently he has developed the concept of the importance of digital signalling inherent in the pulsatile release of glucocorticoid hormones and has been able to demonstrate the specificity of mineralocorticoid receptor and glucocorticoid receptor responsiveness to rapid changes in levels of circulating glucorticoids.
Stafford Lightman was the founder Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Neuroendocrinology, a founder Fellow of the Faculty of Medical Sciences, the founder Chairman of the Pituitary Foundation and has been a Council Member of the Physiological Society. He has sat on several Research Councils, Wellcome Trust and European Research Committees and has Chaired the European Union Committee Review of Tertiary Education in East Africa. Professor Lightman also has a major interest in inter-relationships between art and neuroscience and is a frequent speaker on both radio and television in the United Kingdom.
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