Luba Sominsky School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University, Australia
1 protocol

Simone De Luca School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
1 protocol

Sarah J. Spencer
  • School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University, Australia
Research focus
  • Neuroscience
  • 1 Author merit


Ph.D in Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Queensland, Australia, 2004

Current Position

Associate Professor, School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University
Head of the Neuroendocrinology of the Obese Brain Research Group, NHMRC Career Development Fellow II

Publications (since 2010)

  1. Sominsky, L., Ziko, I., Nguyen, T. X., Andrews, Z. B. and Spencer, S. J. (2016). Early life disruption to the ghrelin system with over-eating is resolved in adulthood in male rats. Neuropharmacology 113(Pt A): 21-30.
  2. Stark, R., Santos, V. V., Geenen, B., Cabral, A., Dinan, T., Bayliss, J. A., Lockie, S. H., Reichenbach, A., Lemus, M. B., Perello, M., Spencer, S. J., Kozicz, T. and Andrews, Z. B. (2016). Des-Acyl Ghrelin and Ghrelin O-Acyltransferase Regulate Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Activation and Anxiety in Response to Acute Stress. Endocrinology 157(10): 3946-3957.
  3. Soch, A., Bradburn, S., Sominsky, L., De Luca, S. N., Murgatroyd, C. and Spencer, S. J. (2016). Effects of exercise on adolescent and adult hypothalamic and hippocampal neuroinflammation. Hippocampus 26(11): 1435-1446.
  4. De Luca, S. N., Ziko, I., Sominsky, L., Nguyen, J. C., Dinan, T., Miller, A. A., Jenkins, T. A. and Spencer, S. J. (2016). Early life overfeeding impairs spatial memory performance by reducing microglial sensitivity to learning. J Neuroinflammation 13(1): 112.
  5. Sominsky, L., Ziko, I., Soch, A., Smith, J. T. and Spencer, S. J. (2016). Neonatal overfeeding induces early decline of the ovarian reserve: Implications for the role of leptin. Mol Cell Endocrinol 431: 24-35.
  6. Ku, J. M., Taher, M., Chin, K. Y., Barsby, T., Austin, V., Wong, C. H., Andrews, Z. B., Spencer, S. J. and Miller, A. A. (2016). Protective actions of des-acylated ghrelin on brain injury and blood-brain barrier disruption after stroke in mice. Clin Sci (Lond) 130(17): 1545-1558.
  7. Cai, G., Ziko, I., Barwood, J., Soch, A., Sominsky, L., Molero, J. C. and Spencer, S. J. (2016). Overfeeding during a critical postnatal period exacerbates hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis responses to immune challenge: a role for adrenal melanocortin 2 receptors. Sci Rep 6: 21097.
  8. Lockie, S. H., Dinan, T., Lawrence, A. J., Spencer, S. J. and Andrews, Z. B. (2015). Diet-induced obesity causes ghrelin resistance in reward processing tasks. Psychoneuroendocrinology 62: 114-120.
  9. Cai, G., Dinan, T., Barwood, J. M., De Luca, S. N., Soch, A., Ziko, I., Chan, S. M., Zeng, X. Y., Li, S., Molero, J. and Spencer, S. J. (2014). Neonatal overfeeding attenuates acute central pro-inflammatory effects of short-term high fat diet. Front Neurosci 8: 446.
  10. Ku, J. M., Andrews, Z. B., Barsby, T., Reichenbach, A., Lemus, M. B., Drummond, G. R., Sleeman, M. W., Spencer, S. J., Sobey, C. G. and Miller, A. A. (2015). Ghrelin-related peptides exert protective effects in the cerebral circulation of male mice through a nonclassical ghrelin receptor(s). Endocrinology 156(1): 280-290.
  11. Ziko, I., De Luca, S., Dinan, T., Barwood, J. M., Sominsky, L., Cai, G., Kenny, R., Stokes, L., Jenkins, T. A. and Spencer, S. J. (2014). Neonatal overfeeding alters hypothalamic microglial profiles and central responses to immune challenge long-term. Brain Behav Immun 41: 32-43.
  12. Kenny, R., Dinan, T., Cai, G. and Spencer, S. J. (2014). Effects of mild calorie restriction on anxiety and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis responses to stress in the male rat. Physiol Rep 2(3): e00265.
  13. Clarke, M., Cai, G., Saleh, S., Buller, K. M. and Spencer, S. J. (2013). Being suckled in a large litter mitigates the effects of early-life stress on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function in the male rat. J Neuroendocrinol 25(9): 792-802.
  14. Kenny, R., Cai, G., Bayliss, J. A., Clarke, M., Choo, Y. L., Miller, A. A., Andrews, Z. B. and Spencer, S. J. (2013). Endogenous ghrelin's role in hippocampal neuroprotection after global cerebral ischemia: does endogenous ghrelin protect against global stroke? Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 304(11): R980-990.
  15. Stefanidis, A. and Spencer, S. J. (2012). Effects of neonatal overfeeding on juvenile and adult feeding and energy expenditure in the rat. PLoS One 7(12): e52130.
  16. Spencer, S. J., Xu, L., Clarke, M. A., Lemus, M., Reichenbach, A., Geenen, B., Kozicz, T. and Andrews, Z. B. (2012). Ghrelin regulates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and restricts anxiety after acute stress. Biol Psychiatry 72(6): 457-465.
  17. Smith, J. T. and Spencer, S. J. (2012). Preweaning over- and underfeeding alters onset of puberty in the rat without affecting kisspeptin. Biol Reprod 86(5): 145, 141-148.
  18. Kampe, J., Stefanidis, A., Lockie, S. H., Brown, W. A., Dixon, J. B., Odoi, A., Spencer, S. J., Raven, J. and Oldfield, B. J. (2012). Neural and humoral changes associated with the adjustable gastric band: insights from a rodent model. Int J Obes (Lond) 36(11): 1403-1411.
  19. Clarke, M. A., Stefanidis, A. and Spencer, S. J. (2012). Postnatal overfeeding leads to obesity and exacerbated febrile responses to lipopolysaccharide throughout life. J Neuroendocrinol 24(3): 511-524.
  20. Wixey, J. A., Reinebrant, H. E., Spencer, S. J. and Buller, K. M. (2011). Efficacy of post-insult minocycline administration to alter long-term hypoxia-ischemia-induced damage to the serotonergic system in the immature rat brain. Neuroscience 182: 184-192.
  21. Bulfin, L. J., Clarke, M. A., Buller, K. M. and Spencer, S. J. (2011). Anxiety and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis responses to psychological stress are attenuated in male rats made lean by large litter rearing. Psychoneuroendocrinology 36(7): 1080-1091.
  22. Mouihate, A., Galic, M. A., Ellis, S. L., Spencer, S. J., Tsutsui, S. and Pittman, Q. J. (2010). Early life activation of toll-like receptor 4 reprograms neural anti-inflammatory pathways. J Neurosci 30(23): 7975-7983.
  23. Spencer, S. J., Field, E. and Pittman, Q. J. (2010). Neonatal programming by neuroimmune challenge: effects on responses and tolerance to septic doses of lipopolysaccharide in adult male and female rats. J Neuroendocrinol 22(4): 272-281.
1 Protocol published
Delayed Spatial Win-shift Test on Radial Arm Maze
Authors:  Simone N. De Luca, Luba Sominsky and Sarah J. Spencer, date: 12/05/2016, view: 8461, Q&A: 0
The radial arm maze (RAM) is used to assess reference and working memory in rodents. This task relies on the rodent’s ability to orientate itself in the maze using extra-maze visual cues. This test can be used to investigate whether a rodent’s ...
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