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Dr Nicola Romano

My research interest looks at how the brain controls the production of hormones from the pituitary gland.

Nicola Romano

Tenure Track Lecturer (Edinburgh-Zhejiang)

  • Hugh Robson Building
  • 15 George Square
  • Edinburgh EH8 9XD

Contact details

Personal profile

  • 2016 – present: Edinburgh-Zhejiang tenure track lecturer, University of Edinburgh
  • 2014 - 2016: Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Edinburgh
  • 2008 - 2014: Postdoctoral Fellow, CNRS, Montpellier, France
  • 2005 - 2008: PhD Student, Physiology, University of Otago, New Zealand
  • 2000 - 2005: MSc Student, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, University of Milan, Italy

Research Theme


From reproduction to growth, from stress to maternal care, most basic processes in our body are governed by hormones. The pituitary gland is central for production of hormones, and the precise pulsatile pattern of hormones it secretes strongly influence their final effect.

My research interest looks at how the brain controls the production of hormones from the pituitary gland. In particular, I am interested in understanding how different patterns of signals from the brain can differentially affect intracellular processes in the pituitary. In other words, how does the pituitary process and integrate the information it receives from the brain?

I am also interested in studying how communication between cells affects their behaviour: in particular, the role of the 3D structure of the pituitary for the interpretation of external signals is still one of the most unclear yet fascinating areas in the neuroendocrine field.

Presently I am working on regulation of intracellular pathways in growth hormone producing cells (somatotrophs) and ACTH producing cells (corticotrophs), which control growth and stress respectively. In the past most of my research has been centred on hormones that control reproduction, such as GnRH, controlling fertility and prolactin, controlling lactation and maternal behaviour.


  • Dr. Paul Le Tissier, University of Edinburgh
  • Prof. Mike Shipston, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr. Jamie Walker, University of Exeter
  • Dr. Patrice Mollard, IGF, Montpellier, FR
  • Prof. Dave Grattan, University of Otago, NZ

Selected publications

1. Romanò et al. - Heterogeneity of calcium responses to secretagogues in corticotrophs from male rats -Endocrinology 2017

2. Romanò et al. - Multiple-scale neuroendocrine signals connect brain and pituitary hormone rhythms - Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2017

3. Chauvet et al. - Complementary actions of dopamine D2 receptor agonist and anti-VEGF therapy on tumoral vessel normalization in a transgenic mouse model. - Int J Cancer 2017

4. Le Tissier et al. - An updated view of hypothalamic-vascular-pituitary unit function and plasticity - Nat Rev Endocrinol 2016

5. Chauvet et al. - Combining cadherin expression with molecular markers discriminates invasiveness in growth hormone and prolactin pituitary adenomas. – J Neuroendocrinol 2016

6. Guillou et al. - Assessment of lactotroph axis functionality in mice: longitudinal monitoring of PRL secretion by ultrasensitive-ELISA. - Endocrinology 2015

7. Osterstock et al.- Sustained Alterations of the tanycytes of the median eminence after traumatic brain injury - Endocrinology 2014

8. Romanò et al. - Plasticity of hypothalamic dopamine neurons during lactation results in dissociation of electrical activity and release. - J Neurosci 2013

9. Hodson et al. - Existence of long-lasting experience-dependent plasticity in endocrine cell networks. - Nat Commun 2012

10. Romanò et al. - Nonclassical estrogen modulation of presynaptic GABA terminals modulates calcium dynamics in gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons. - Endocrinology 2008