Effects of peripubertal pharmacological blockade of GnRH action on neuronal function and architecture.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: College of Medical, Veterinary &Life Sci

Abstract

It has long been recognised that hormones have a profound effect on how we think and behave. Modern imaging studies have shown that there are hormone dependent effects on both the structure and functioning of the brain, which might explain these effects of hormones on behaviour in both humans and animals. While some of these hormone induced differences may start very early in life, including prior to birth, it has also been suggested that the changes in reproductive hormones at puberty may lead to alterations in the structure of the brain and its cells that could be responsible for differences in social behaviour and the way we process information as adults. Consequently, any changes in the pattern of hormones experienced at puberty (either naturally or as a result of medical interventions or exposure to chemicals in our environment) may affect normal brain development. In this regard, it is worthy of note that there are known changes in behaviour as humans and animals go through the pubertal transition, such as increased risk taking and there are a variety of clinical conditions associated with altered brain function such as schizophrenia, eating- and obsessive compulsive-disorders, which often become apparent at puberty. Using the sheep as an animal model, this project will tease apart the effects of changes in reproductive hormones on male brain development and whether the peripubertal period represents a critical period of normal brain development. This will be done by blocking the pubertal transition in male sheep using a drug treatment currently used to block puberty in human patients for a variety of medical conditions including growth retardation and early onset gender identity disorder. We will do this by either delaying puberty or differentiating the effects of GnRH (a hormone produced in the brain that drives activity within the reproductive system) and gonadal steroids, by replacing testosterone in animals in which activity within the reproductive axis was stopped by blocking the effects of GnRH. This work is of significance as the medical blockade of puberty is widely used in the treatment of a variety of conditions in human medicine, including growth deficiency and gender dysphoria. If the pubertal changes in reproductive hormones indeed play a crucial role in the maturation of the adolescent brain, the cognitive and/or reproductive functions of patients receiving this treatment may be permanently affected. This work also has the potential to inform us about changes in cognitive function that occur as we age and may contribute to the risk of developing conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, as these changes also occur when the levels of reproductive hormones in the body change as reproductive function declines. This project will contribute to a fundamental understanding of the mechanisms that underlie the interaction between endocrine factors and the neural changes that occur in association with activation and senescence within the reproductive system. Achieving these objectives may direct intervention strategies that can be used in the treatment of neurocognitive conditions, the incidence/risk of which increases at puberty, such as obsessive compulsive disorder and schizophrenia and with ageing e.g. Alzheimer's disease.

Technical Summary

It has long been recognised that behaviour and cognitive function are influenced by reproductive state and differ between the sexes as a consequence of differential steroid exposure. Recent advances in neuroimaging methods have allowed identification of differences in brain structures that may underlie such sexual dimorphisms. Recently, GnRH receptor expression has been documented in extra-hypothalamic areas (e.g. the hippocampus), providing a possible link between puberty and sex differences in behaviour and cognition. Classically, sexual differentiation of the brain is thought to occur following prenatal exposure to gonadal steroids. However, profound neuronal development also occurs during adolescence. While puberty is characterised by marked hormonal changes, little is known about the influence of pubertal hormones on the organisation of neural networks, behaviour and cognitive ability. This study will temporally delay puberty using a GnRH agonist treated ovine model and examine effects of dissociation of pubertal hormone changes and developmental age, on behaviour, cognitive function, neuroendocrine systems and neuronal architecture in the hypothalamus and non-endocrine brain regions. Real-time rtPCR, in-situ hybridisation and immunohistochemical methods will be used to investigate steroid receptor expression and neurotransmitter systems in the pituitary gland and hypothalamus. As steroids (including locally produced neural oestrogen) can have a profound influence on neuronal plasticity, synaptic density and dendritic spine morphology will be investigated in the hippocampus and amygdala using immunohistological, biochemical and electron microscopy techniques. The study will elucidate long-term effects of pharmacological blocking, or significantly delaying, puberty and will inform us relative to endocrine causes of neuropathological conditions seen upon reaching adulthood and following reproductive senescence.

Planned Impact

1) Who will benefit from the research? The research that is proposed in this grant application aims to understand the consequences and fundamental mechanisms by which peripubertal exposure to a GnRH agonist alters brain function and impacts on cognition and behaviour. Those who will benefit are patients who are currently treated in the medium or long term with such agonists, including patients with steroid stimulated benign or malignant tumours, those with growth deficiency and gender identity disorder. As GnRH receptors are also found in non reproduction controlling areas of the brain and in other peripheral tissues the research has potential to impact on other conditions which manifest themselves at times of change in GnRH secretion; at puberty and as reproductive function declines. These conditions include, seriously debilitating and potentially life limiting neurocognitive illnesses like schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, anorexia nervosa and dementias. In addition health professionals will benefit from a better understanding of the consequences of giving GnRH agonists to their clients. Specialised drug companies may better understand the pharmacological effects of their products, be able to better target drug their development programmes for increased safety profiles and wealth creation. Policy makers will be better informed to make key financial and strategic decisions. The general public will be made more aware of the impact of substances in their environment that can affect their health and wellbeing in later life. This may impact on lifestyle choices for the benefit of the individual and dependents. Students and researchers will gain from training in the area of neuroscience and reproductive and behavioural science and the University will gain from employment for technical and administrative staff.
2) How will they benefit? The patients will benefit from a better informed health, pharmaceutical and health policy sectors and their treatment can be better tailored to their needs. This will have knock on effects for family and carers and increase the general wellbeing of subsections of society. Scientists, especially those researching brain function and how is may be altered during key developmental windows, will expand these areas of research and train and employ others in their endeavours. Other benefits have been outlined in the previous section.

Publications

10 25 50

 
Title LGBT sheep cake for Bake-Your-Research competition 
Description This was part of a new annual event, 'Bake-your-Research', in which postgraduates and postdoc at the University of Glasgow could participate to bake a cake that represents/was inspired by their research and present it to a panel of judges, in a similar fashion as 'The Great British Bake Off'. Dr Denise Hough created a sheep-shaped cake (resembling a 3D version of 'Shaun the Sheep' on all-fours) with rainbow-coloured layers of sponge cake inside. The idea was inspired as the research use a sheep model to investigate the role of pubertal hormones in shaping normal brain function, with particular interest in GnRHa-mediated blockade of puberty as this is a treatment given to gender dysphoric children/adolescents. Thereby, the rainbow colours related to the flag that represent LGBTQIA societies, which include gender dysphoric and transgender persons. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact As part of presenting this cake to the panel of judges, a brief explanation of the research was given and how it relates to the cake. By sharing this information, awareness was raised about the research and how it may be relevant on impacting decisions around treatments for to gender dysphoric persons. This provided a platform to share this knowledge with people outside the usual scientific networks as it reached postgraduates and postdocs across the University of Glasgow and the general public. The 'Bake-your-Research' event was shared on Twitter and facebook, such as describing the cake as a 'LGBT sheep'. See URL for pictures. https://twitter.com/researchdreams/status/913092707626749958 
URL https://uofgpgrblog.com/pgrblog/2017/10/3/pgr-postdoc-bake-off-the-results
 
Description Chronic gonadotropin -releasing hormone agonist (GnRHa) treatment is used in human and animal medicine as a way to block reproductive activity. The receptors for GnRH however are also expressed in non-reproductive tissues, including areas of the brain. The impact of long-term GnRHa treatment on cognitive functions, such as spatial orientation and memory, is not well studied, particularly when treatment encompasses a critical window of development, such as puberty. We have shown, using an ovine model, that spatial orientation and short-term spatial memory improves with age and is not directly affected by peripubertal GnRHa treatment, but instead GnRH agonist treatment alters emotional reactivity and responsiveness to the effects of testosterone. The long-term retention of spatial memory was found to be impaired by peripubertal GnRHa treatment and this effect was attenuated with testosterone replacement therapy. These results demonstrate that GnRH signalling is involved in the retention of cognitive spatial information and that therapeutic medical treatments using chronic GnRHa may have effects on cognitive function. In a second study we found that cessation of GnRHa treatment when animals were 1 year of age which allowed them to go through a delayed puberty, long-term memory specifically the recall of long-term spatial information was still affected in the GnRHa-treated rams. This result suggests that the time at which puberty normally occurs may represent a critical period during brain development, specifically with regard to the retention of spatial information; however, this may also apply to other brain areas and aspects of cognitive function.
Exploitation Route One paper have recently been published and additional papers are in preparation
Sectors Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

URL https://www.researchgate.net/project/Effects-of-peripubertal-pharmacological-blockade-of-GnRH-action-on-neuronal-function-and-architecture
 
Description Through contribution to the published guidelines for the treatment of Gender Dysphoria we have contributed to the medical support offered to people who are transitioning. These guidelines have been shared via twitter and thus can reach patients and their families who follow our group. The guidelines issued to patients seeking puberty blockers for gender dysphoria by the Sandyford clinic in Glasgow have been amended to indicate that there is the possibility that use of GnRH agonists to block puberty could have long lasting side effects.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Sector Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description British Association of Gender Identity Specialists (BAGIS) Annual meeting
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
Impact This was an invitation for Prof Neil Evans to be a speaker at the BAGIS annual meeting, 5-6 October 2018, London, which was primarily attended by clinicians that are involved in the treatment of gender dysphoric persons. The reach was mostly national, but included speakers from all over Europe. Title: Effects of peripubertal treatment with a GnRH agonist: What can we learn using an ovine model? Not only was this the only work reported with non-human and non-rodent subjects, but also one of the first reports for clinicians on the impacts of GnRHa-mediated pubertal delay on cognitive function, with some effects remaining after cessation of treatment. Some found it reassuring that some cognitive functions remain unchanged, while others asked "How concerned should we be?" about those functions that were affected. This research informed clinicians on potential 'side-effects' of treatments and impacted on their decision making for proceeding with treatments of gender dysphoric children/adolescents. This meeting was also attended by journalists and members of public who shared information with relevant communities via social media. From this event a journalist approached Prof Neil Evans to participate in the making of a BBC Panorama programme on transgender treatments.
URL https://www.bagis.co.uk/scientific-symposium
 
Description Citation in Commentary to Frontiers in Psychology
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Citation in clinical reviews
 
Guideline Title Endocrine Treatment of Gender-Dysphoric/Gender-Incongruent Persons: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline
Description Contribution towards Endocrine Society Clinical Guidelines
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Citation in clinical guidelines
Impact Our research has informed clinicians of potential cognitive effects, which may be long-lasting, of GnRHa-mediated pubertal blockade. As highlighted in the guidelines, this is an understudied area and this ovine model is the only work providing evidence for cognitive effects to date. Within 1.5 years of the publication date, these guidelines have been cited over 200 times. These guidelines are influencing the decision-making of clinicians worldwide on the treatments for gender dysphoric patients (e.g. recommendation to start GnRHa treatment at Tanner stage 2 of pubertal development). In March 2019, these guidelines scored in the top 5% in Almetric (358) as it had 111883 views, with 19229 PDF downloads, and mentioned by 18 news outlets, 4 blogs, 1 policy source, 232 tweeters, 9 Facebook pages, 6 Wikipedia pages, 1 Google+ user and 1 Redditor. From the Tweeter profiles, 84% were members of the public, 7% healthcare practitioners, 6% scientists and 3% science communicators, which reflects the large public interest in this work.
URL https://oxfordjournals.altmetric.com/details/25207306
 
Description Inclusion of research in Postgraduate MRes Biomedical Sciences Course: Endocrinology in Health and Disease
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Since 2016, a new 2-week course in the University of Glasgow MRes/MSc Biomedical Sciences programme was designed, delivered and assessed (80% of course by the combined participation of Dr Michelle Bellingham and Dr Denise Hough), namely BIOL5303 Endocrinology in Health and Disease. This postgraduate student cohort of 65-80 students consisted of 75% international students (25% British). The BBSRC-funded research formed an integral part of the course, in which normal/dysregulation of steroid hormone production played a central role. Discussions were held around the endocrine implications and ethical issues surrounding gender dysphoric treatments and Disorders of Sexual Development (DSD). An interactive workshop included research papers from the BBSRC-funded project for critical analyses of appropriate animal models and analytical techniques to study challenges within human endocrinology. Student feedback reported that this course advanced their knowledge in this field at a time when transgender is gaining ever increasing attention in society. Feedback also reported enhancement of student experiences as they thought they learnt from experts in the field and received training that was only achievable through attendance at the University of Glasgow where this research team is based.
URL https://www.gla.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/integrativemammalianbiology/
 
Description Early Career Grant
Amount £9,978 (GBP)
Organisation Society for Endocrinology 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2017 
End 05/2018
 
Description Graham Wilson Travelling Scholarship
Amount £1,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Glasgow 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2018 
End 03/2019
 
Description International Conference Travel Award for ICN
Amount £500 (GBP)
Organisation British Society for Neuroendocrinology 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2014 
End 09/2014
 
Description International Travel Grant
Amount £700 (GBP)
Organisation British Society for Neuroendocrinology 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2014 
End 12/2014
 
Description International Travel Grant
Amount £1,236 (GBP)
Organisation British Society for Neuroendocrinology 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2018 
End 01/2019
 
Description International Travel Grant
Amount £600 (GBP)
Organisation Society for Endocrinology 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2018 
End 01/2019
 
Description Project Support Grant
Amount £4,960 (GBP)
Organisation British Society for Neuroendocrinology 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2017 
End 06/2018
 
Description Small Project Support Grant
Amount £4,962 (GBP)
Organisation British Society for Neuroendocrinology 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2014 
End 06/2015
 
Description Student Laboratory Experience Grant
Amount £2,120 (GBP)
Organisation British Society for Neuroendocrinology 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2018 
End 07/2018
 
Title LCMS method development for steroid profiling in biological material 
Description A new method was developed for steroid profiling, in various biological samples, using liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LCMS). Denise Hough developed this method during her employment as postdoc on this BBSRC grant as part of her interest to look at the effects of peripubertal GnRHa in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. The method allows simultaneous quantification of adrenal steroids, either from blood or wool samples. This method has been extended to include a selection of reproductive and neural steroids, as well as including a wider variety of biological sample type (e.g. various tissues or hair from different species). This method was developed in conjunction with Glasgow Polyomics Institute as they have the required LCMS equipment. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This method is now available as a metabolomics service to internal/external groups (see URL link). It has been validated with various steroid extraction methods to cater for the needs of our research and others. It was used in this BBSRC grant to explore whether steroid profiles in hair/blood samples offer new insights into the effects of peripubertal GnRHa, The method is also used to generate preliminary data for future grants for the quantification of neurosteroids. This method has been used by Dr Grant Hopcraft to investigate steroid profiles (especially aldosterone, cortisol and progesterone) in wildebeest hair to look at time-related changes in metabolic profiles during the Serengeti migration. Dr Valeria Marasco used this method to investigate steroid profiles (particularly progesterone, testoserone and corticosterone) in zebra finch eggs in relation to maternal stress. A research group that is MRC funded used this method to quantify intra-tissue steroids in human fetal adrenal glands to investigate the effects of maternal smoking. This was the first study of its kind and this work has been published in BMC Medicine 16, 23 (impact factor 7.249) in which Denise Hough is a co-author. The grant holders are Prof Peter O'Shaugnessy (University of Glasgow), Dr Michelle Bellingham (University of Glasgow) and Prof Paul Fowler (University of Aberdeen) and the analyses was done by Ms Zoe Johnston in fulfilment of her PhD project. The method also contributed to the ability to conduct groundbreaking work on pre-natal masculinization in human fetuses via backdoor androgen synthesis that was published with Dr Denise Hough as co-author: PLOS Biology doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000002. 
URL http://www.polyomics.gla.ac.uk/ms_metabolomics.html
 
Description Gambol 
Organisation AstraZeneca
Department Research and Development AstraZeneca
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We have provided the ideas, facilities, finance, animals, expertise.
Collaborator Contribution Astrazeneca provided a drug that was used in multiple animals over the course of a year. Oslo University Hospital have provided intellectual input to study design and conduct of work and have a parallel study running in humans.
Impact The collaboration began before the current BBSRC grant but directly led to that grant application. It has already produced numerous publications.
Start Year 2007
 
Description Gambol 
Organisation Oslo University Hospital
Country Norway 
Sector Hospitals 
PI Contribution We have provided the ideas, facilities, finance, animals, expertise.
Collaborator Contribution Astrazeneca provided a drug that was used in multiple animals over the course of a year. Oslo University Hospital have provided intellectual input to study design and conduct of work and have a parallel study running in humans.
Impact The collaboration began before the current BBSRC grant but directly led to that grant application. It has already produced numerous publications.
Start Year 2007
 
Description "At home with LIFE SCIENCES, University of Glasgow visits IKEA" 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Hosted a stand with an activity related to gender and programming effects of steroids
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.gla.ac.uk/colleges/mvls/researchimpact/publicengagement/engagementopportunities/ikea/
 
Description British Society for Neuroendocrinology Annual meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Annual conference meeting of the British Society for Neuroendocrinology where researchers involved in neuroendocrine research within the UK get together to share their latest results and developments within the field. Neil Evans and Michelle Bellingham also serve on the Board of Trustees for this society and as such they are involved in the organisation of these events (among other responsibilities). Some annual meetings are held with another country's neuroendocrine society and these are reported in separate engagement activities.
2013: Manchester, 7-9 July
2016: Glasgow, 28-30 August,
Poster:Peripubertal GnRHa-treatment irreversibly impairs long-term spatial memory in sheep
2017: Nottingham, 10-12 September,
Poster (Won Poster Prize) and 5-min DataBlitz oral presentation: Peripubertal GnRHa Treatment Decreases Physiological Stress Responses in Male Sheep
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2016,2017
URL https://www.neuroendo.org.uk/meetings.php
 
Description British and French Societies for Neuroendocrinology joint meeting 2015 Lille 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Jane Robinson gave an invited talk 'Neural effects of blocking puberty with a long term GnRH agonist' at the 3rd Joint Meeting between the French and British Neuroendocrine Societies September 2015, Lille, France. After the talk, the audience engaged by asking questions and a discussion followed on the topic. Interest and opinions were shared about the usefulness of this ovine model and the implications of long-term GnRHa treatment during the peripubertal period for cognitive development.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://hypothalamus.eu/wp-content/uploads/SNE-BSN_2015_Preliminary-Program-1.pdf
 
Description Careers in Animal research talk in iowa 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Presentation about my career path illustrated with details about research projects and results
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Careers in science talk in Singapore 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Presentation to Diploma students in NgeeAnn Polytechnic about careers in science and showcasing the research we do in the lab.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Explorathon 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Hosted stand at Explorathon at Glasgow Science centre where we held an activity re prenatal and pubertal programming and gender. Stimulated lots of interest and debate
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017,2018
URL http://www.explorathon.co.uk/glasgow/
 
Description Glasgow Paediatrics Research day 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact At this meeting, both clinicians and researchers were present to share information on recent advances in paediatrics research in association with the University of Glasgow and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. The shared information could be used to inform clinical practice.
2016:
Oral presentation (Denise Hough): Long-term spatial memory is irreversibly impaired when delaying pubertal onset with GnRHa (gonadotrophin-releasing hormone agonist): studies using a sheep model. This presents a summary of results from recent publications in Psychoneuroendocrinology (2016/2017).
Poster presentation (Neil Evans): Peripubertal GnRH agonist treatment is associated with long-term changes in resting Heart Rate Variability in male sheep.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/medicine/research/childhealth/glasgowpaediatricresearchday/
 
Description ICN 2018 Toronto 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact 3 posters presented at the ICN meeting all of which were derived from the BBSRC funded project work on long term effects of GnRH agonist treatment.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Institution seminar series (BAHCM, UoG) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This seminar series serves as a platform to share research of Principle Investigators and Postdocs with institute staff and students. Denise Hough presented the most recent findings on this BBSRC grant followed by questions and discussions with the audience. Various people found it fascinating that sheep are a good model for humans to assess spatial learning and memory using a spatial maze task.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Interactive theatre event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 200 children attended across two events. This was an immersive theatre event for 12-15yr olds. The children when they arrive were told that they are scientists in training to work for the Department for the Investigation of Amorous disorders, its 1981, and they are in AbronHill High school where there seems to be a large amount of flirtatious behaviour occurring.
The 'scientists' gatheedr in the assembly hall where a group of pupils are dancing to Don't you want me Baby by the Human League, a series of scenes occur between the pupils and the head teacher (linked to the film, Gregory's girl) which would suggest that amorous behaviour is rife. The 'scientists' are told that to complete their training they will be working with Psychologist and Endocrinologists to try and understand what is happening with the pupils of Abronhill High school.
Psychology Workshop is set in a dark room in which photographs are being processed. There are photos of men and women strung along lines across the room above drip trays below.
Learning Objective
To understand some of the key psychological factors that contribute to human attraction
This is achieved through vignettes (photographer and journalist) and interactive activities related to physical attractiveness, how physical responses influence how we perceive other people and familiarity. The session is facilitated by the scientists.
Hormone/Neurotransmitter Workshop Outline set in a Home Economics classroom. At the tables around the room, there are students in the middle of a baking lesson. They have bowls and are mixingflour with cocoa powder and water.
The scientists introduce themselves and their areas of research, hence why they are helping train the scientists for working in DIAD.
Learning Objective:
To examine the different theories of how hormones and neurotransmitters affect human behaviour with regard to attraction
This was achieved by observations of student behaviour through vignettes from 5 pupils of Abronhill High school, followed by group discussions about a theory of how hormones/NTs influence human attraction followed by short presentation on this to the whole workshop. This was then followed by a whole group discussion/vote on which theory they think most likely to be correct and why (citing observations made during the day) so recommendations could be made to DIAD
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://cinelive.org.uk/
 
Description International Congress for Endocrinology 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Over 1000 people (clinicians and researchers) attended the International Congress on Endocrinology (ICE 2019) that was hosted in Cape Town, South Africa, 1-4 December 2019. We submitted 2 abstracts based on work from this BBSRC project, of which one was selected for a poster presentation and the other for a 15-min talk under the theme of 'Male Reproduction'. A new theme for Gender Dysphoria was included in the programme that served as a platform to engage in discussions with researchers and clinicians in this field. Discussions with local postgraduates based in the Biochemistry Department at Stellenbosch University advanced their knowledge and views on transgender treatments. These postgraduates also requested advice relating to early-career researcher development with a particular interest in postdoctoral experience within the UK and how UKRI funding operates.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.ice2018.org/
 
Description International Congress on Neuroendocrinlogy, Sydney, 2014, Poster 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Poster presented on spatial orientation and memory at international congress on neuroendocrinology 2014 in Sydney. Made specific contact and had fruitful discussions with various researchers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description LAVA conference 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was an invited talk that was presented by Denise Hough on GAMBOL research at The Laboratory Animals Veterinary Association conference on 7 October 2014, title: Utilizing sheep behaviour to assess the effects of GnRH on cognitive function. Various veterinarians and researchers showed interest by asking questions after the presentation and commenting on how interesting they found the research. This allowed knowledge transfer about the ability to use sheep as a model species for looking at the effects of drugs on cognitive function.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://www.lava.uk.net/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4
 
Description Media interview for BBC Panorama 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Participated in interview/filming for BBC panorama
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Ngee Ann Polytechnic (Singapore) student internships 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Hosted overseas student internships from Ngee Ann Polytechnic in Singapore. Through these internships, the students gain practical experience that prepare them as global-smart professionals. These students are usually interested in the University of Glasgow Veterinary Medicine course. Through working on projects that are part of the BBSRC grant, they were able to be involved with sheep behavioural studies and processing/analyses of tissue samples. We also arranged for extra activities with resident veterinary students, such as on-farm assistance during the lambing season.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2017
URL http://www.np.edu.sg/annualreport/documents/2014_2015/overseasintern.html
 
Description Nuffield Student Placements 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Hosted a Nuffield Research Placement during the summer of 2014 to Ms Bethany Adams from Braidhurst High School, Glasgow. She analysed the adrenals collected from sheep in this grant with H and E staining to look at the effects of GnRHa on anatomical differences. This high school student gained insight into what can be expected from a scientific environment to advise her in making decisions about pursuing a career in science.
These placements provide over 1000 students each year with the opportunity to work alongside professional scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians. Students in the first year of a post-16 science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) course are eligible to apply. Students who don't have a family history of going to university or who attend schools in less well-off areas are particularly encouraged to apply.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/nuffield-research-placements
 
Description Royal Highland show 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation of research to general public
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Royal Highland show 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Poster and direct public interaction to discuss ongoing research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Royal highland show 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Introduction of general public to the research we conduct
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description School visit (Park Mains) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact talk about careers in biosciences with school children
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description School visit (Park Mains) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Visit to school to talk about careers
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Science Lates at Glasgow Science Centre 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Hosted stand at the Science Lates evening sessions held annually in April at the Glasgow Science Centre. We held an activity re prenatal and pubertal programming and gender, using measurements of index ratio and laterality preferences to demonstrate how steroid hormones shape our physiology and way of thinking. Stimulated lots of interest and debate, particularly sparking discussions around transgender persons and general male/female differences.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
URL https://www.glasgowsciencecentre.org/discover/adult-events/science-lates
 
Description Seminar series at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented current findings to the Biochemistry Department of the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa on 24 April 2014. This department have shared research interests in GnRH and steroid biochemistry. Title: Prenatal and peripubertal programming of health and disease using ovine models. Presented by Denise Hough, Neil Evans and Jane Robinson. The talk was followed by a series of questions from the audience and discussions on the topics presented. The group with research interests in GnRH and its receptor reported that this talk gave greater insight, on a functional and in vivo level, of the importance of what they study at a molecular level.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Symposium presentation, European Society for paediatric endocrinology science symposium 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation, stimulate a large amount of debate and lead to a TV documentary plus invitations to speak to other practitioner groups
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018