Professor Joe Herbert


I am interested in the role of the brain in adaptive responses, with particular reference to the reciprocal interaction between hormones and the brain. My experimental work is focussed on the way that neural factors, such as serotonin and glucocorticoids, regulate the formation of new neurons in the adult hippocampus, and the role these play in responses to stress. I have a large parallel clinical programme, focussed on determining the risk factors (genetic, environmental, psychosocial and endocrine) that predispose to depression in collaboration with Prof Goodyer (Psychiatry). I also work on the role of hormones in financial decision-making and risk perception.

I am director of graduate training and I was coordinator of a Marie Curie Initial training Network (10 EU Universities and 2 companies)

Neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus.
Neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus.
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Research Focus







Clinical conditions

Depressive disorders


Enzyme assays



Tim Croudace

Valerie Dunn

Ian Goodyer

Peter Jones

Scarlett Pinnock

United Kingdom

Tom Craig Web:

Sarah Halligan Web: http:// stress disorder s.l.halliga...

Tirril Harris Web:

Lynne Murray Web:

Stephanie van Goozen Web:


Jay Schulkin Web:

Associated News Items

    Key publications

    Coates JM, Herbert J (2008), “Endogenous steroids and financial risk taking on a London trading floor.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 105(16):6167-72 Details

    Herbert J (2007), “The Minder Brain. How the brain keeps you alive, protects you from danger and ensures that you reproduce” Word Scientific Press

    Herbert J, Goodyer IM, Grossman AB, Hastings MH, de Kloet ER, Lightman SL, Lupien SJ, Roozendaal B, Seckl JR (2006), “Do corticosteroids damage the brain?” J Neuroendocrinol 18:93-411 Details

    Huang GJ, Herbert J (2006), “Stimulation of neurogenesis in the hippocampus of the adult rat by fluoxetine requires rhythmic change in corticosterone” Biol Psychiatry 59:619-24 Details



    Owens M, Herbert J, Jones PB, Sahakian BJ, Wilkinson PO, Dunn VJ, Croudace TJ, Goodyer IM (2014), “Elevated morning cortisol is a stratified population-level biomarker for major depression in boys only with high depressive symptoms.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111(9):3638-43 Details


    Herbert J (2013), “Cortisol and depression: three questions for psychiatry.” Psychol Med 43(3):449-69 Details


    Chen X, Lepier A, Berninger B, Tolkovsky AM, Herbert J (2012), “Cultured subventricular zone progenitor cells transduced with neurogenin-2 become mature glutamatergic neurons and integrate into the dentate gyrus.” PLoS One 7(2):e31547 Details

    Herbert J, Ban M, Brown GW, Harris TO, Ogilvie A, Uher R, Craig TK (2012), “Interaction between the BDNF gene Val/66/Met polymorphism and morning cortisol levels as a predictor of depression in adult women.” Br J Psychiatry 201(4):313-9 Details

    St Clair MC, Goodyer IM, Dunn V, Herbert J, Jones PB, Croudace T (2012), “Depressive symptoms during adolescence: comparison between epidemiological and high risk sampling.” Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 47(8):1333-41 Details


    Chen X, Tolkovsky AM, Herbert J (2011), “Cell origin and culture history determine successful integration of neural precursor transplants into the dentate gyrus of the adult rat.” PLoS One 6(2):e17072 Details

    Dunn VJ, Abbott RA, Croudace TJ, Wilkinson P, Jones PB, Herbert J, Goodyer IM (2011), “Profiles of family-focused adverse experiences through childhood and early adolescence: the ROOTS project a community investigation of adolescent mental health.” BMC Psychiatry 11:109 Details

    Gilhooley MJ, Pinnock SB, Herbert J (2011), “Rhythmic expression of per1 in the dentate gyrus is suppressed by corticosterone: implications for neurogenesis.” Neurosci Lett 489(3):177-81 Details

    Landt J, Ball SL, Holland AJ, Hon J, Owen A, Treppner P, Herbert J (2011), “Age-related changes in plasma dehydroepiandrosterone levels in adults with Down's syndrome and the risk of dementia.” J Neuroendocrinol 23(5):450-5 Details


    AlAhmed S, Herbert J (2010), “Effect of agomelatine and its interaction with the daily corticosterone rhythm on progenitor cell proliferation in the dentate gyrus of the adult rat.” Neuropharmacology 59(6):375-9 Details

    Murray L, Halligan SL, Goodyer I, Herbert J (2010), “Disturbances in early parenting of depressed mothers and cortisol secretion in offspring: a preliminary study.” J Affect Disord 122(3):218-23 Details


    Goodyer IM, Bacon A, Ban M, Croudace T, Herbert J (2009), “Serotonin transporter genotype, morning cortisol and subsequent depression in adolescents.” Br J Psychiatry 195(1):39-45 Details

    Goodyer IM, Croudace T, Dunn V, Herbert J, Jones PB (2009), “Cohort Profile: Risk patterns and processes for psychopathology emerging during adolescence: the ROOTS project.” Int J Epidemiol Details

    Pinnock SB, Lazic SE, Wong HT, Wong IH, Herbert J (2009), “Synergistic effects of dehydroepiandrosterone and fluoxetine on proliferation of progenitor cells in the dentate gyrus of the adult male rat.” Neuroscience 158(4):1644-51 Details


    Alahmed S, Herbert J (2008), “Strain differences in proliferation of progenitor cells in the dentate gyrus of the adult rat and the response to fluoxetine are dependent on corticosterone.” Neuroscience 157(3):677-82 Details

    Fairchild G, van Goozen SH, Stollery SJ, Brown J, Gardiner J, Herbert J, Goodyer IM (2008), “Cortisol diurnal rhythm and stress reactivity in male adolescents with early-onset or adolescence-onset conduct disorder.” Biol Psychiatry 64(7):599-606 Details

    Gurnell EM, Hunt PJ, Curran SE, Conway CL, Pullenayegum EM, Huppert FA, Compston JE, Herbert J, Chatterjee VK (2008), “Long-term DHEA replacement in primary adrenal insufficiency: a randomized, controlled trial.” J Clin Endocrinol Metab 93(2):400-9 Details

    Herbert J (2008), “Who do we think we are? The brain and gender identity.” Brain 131(Pt 12):3115-7 Details

    Herbert J (2008), “Neurogenesis and depression: breakthrough or blind alley?” J Neuroendocrinol 20(3):413-4 Details

    Pinnock SB, Herbert J (2008), “Brain-derived neurotropic factor and neurogenesis in the adult rat dentate gyrus: interactions with corticosterone.” Eur J Neurosci 27(10):2493-500 Details


    Halligan SL, Herbert J, Goodyer I, Murray L (2007), “Disturbances in morning cortisol secretion in association with maternal postnatal depression predict subsequent depressive symptomatology in adolescents.” Biol Psychiatry 62(1):40-6 Details

    Pinnock SB, Balendra R, Chan M, Hunt LT, Turner-Stokes T, Herbert J (2007), “Interactions between nitric oxide and corticosterone in the regulation of progenitor cell proliferation in the dentate gyrus of the adult rat.” Neuropsychopharmacology 32(2):493-504 Details


    Wong EY, Herbert J (2005), “Roles of mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid receptors in the regulation of progenitor proliferation in the adult hippocampus.” Eur J Neurosci 22(4):785-92 Details


    Carter RN, Pinnock SB, Herbert J (2004), “Does the amygdala modulate adaptation to repeated stress?” Neuroscience 126(1):9-19 Details

    Gubba EM, Fawcett JW, Herbert J (2004), “The effects of corticosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone on neurotrophic factor mRNA expression in primary hippocampal and astrocyte cultures.” Brain Res Mol Brain Res 127(1-2):48-59 Details

    Halligan SL, Herbert J, Goodyer IM, Murray L (2004), “Exposure to postnatal depression predicts elevated cortisol in adolescent offspring.” Biol Psychiatry 55(4):376-81 Details

    Hatfield CF, Herbert J, van Someren EJ, Hodges JR, Hastings MH (2004), “Disrupted daily activity/rest cycles in relation to daily cortisol rhythms of home-dwelling patients with early Alzheimer's dementia.” Brain 127(Pt 5):1061-74 Details


    Goodyer IM, Herbert J, Tamplin A (2003), “Psychoendocrine antecedents of persistent first-episode major depression in adolescents: a community-based longitudinal enquiry.” Psychol Med 33(4):601-10 Details


    Karishma KK, Herbert J (2002), “Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) stimulates neurogenesis in the hippocampus of the rat, promotes survival of newly formed neurons and prevents corticosterone-induced suppression.” Eur J Neurosci 16(3):445-53 Details


    Gubba EM, Netherton CM, Herbert J (2000), “Endangerment of the brain by glucocorticoids: experimental and clinical evidence.” J Neurocytol 29(5-6):439-49 Details


    Hastings MH, Ebling FJ, Grosse J, Herbert J, Maywood ES, Mikkelsen JD, Sumova A (1995), “Immediate-early genes and the neural bases of photic and non-photic entrainment.” Ciba Found Symp 183:175-89; discussion 190-7 Details

    Lambert PD, Phillips PJ, Wilding JP, Bloom SR, Herbert J (1995), “c-fos expression in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus following intracerebroventricular infusions of neuropeptide Y.” Brain Res 670(1):59-65 Details


    Martin del Campo AF, Dowson JH, Herbert J, Paykel ES (1994), “Effects of naloxone on diurnal rhythms in mood and endocrine function: a dose-response study in man.” Psychopharmacology (Berl) 114(4):583-90 Details

    Sumova A, Ebling FJ, Maywood ES, Herbert J, Hastings MH (1994), “Non-photic circadian entrainment in the Syrian hamster is not associated with phosphorylation of the transcriptional regulator CREB within the suprachiasmatic nucleus, but is associated with adrenocortical activation.” Neuroendocrinology 59(6):579-89 Details

    Xu Z, Herbert J (1994), “Regional suppression by water intake of c-fos expression induced by intraventricular infusions of angiotensin II.” Brain Res 659(1-2):157-68 Details


    Andreae LC, Herbert J (1993), “Expression of c-fos in restricted areas of the basal forebrain and brainstem following single or combined intraventricular infusions of vasopressin and corticotropin-releasing factor.” Neuroscience 53(3):735-48 Details

    Herbert J (1993), “Peptides in the limbic system: neurochemical codes for co-ordinated adaptive responses to behavioural and physiological demand.” Prog Neurobiol 41(6):723-91 Details

    Herbert J, Howes SR (1993), “Interactions between corticotropin-releasing factor and endogenous opiates on the cardioaccelerator, hypothermic, and corticoid responses to restraint in the rat.” Peptides 14(2):145-52 Details


    Arnold FJ, De Lucas Bueno M, Shiers H, Hancock DC, Evan GI, Herbert J (1992), “Expression of c-fos in regions of the basal limbic forebrain following intracerebroventricular corticotropin-releasing factor in unstressed or stressed male rats.” Neuroscience 51(2):377-90 Details

    Herbert J, Forsling ML, Howes SR, Stacey PM, Shiers HM (1992), “Regional expression of c-fos antigen in the basal forebrain following intraventricular infusions of angiotensin and its modulation by drinking either water or saline.” Neuroscience 51(4):867-82 Details

    Maywood ES, Grosse J, Lindsay JO, Karp JD, Powers JB, Ebling FJ, Herbert J, Hastings MH (1992), “The effect of signal frequency on the gonadal response of male Syrian hamsters to programmed melatonin infusions.” J Neuroendocrinol 4(1):37-44 Details

    McGregor A, Herbert J (1992), “Differential effects of excitotoxic basolateral and corticomedial lesions of the amygdala on the behavioural and endocrine responses to either sexual or aggression-promoting stimuli in the male rat.” Brain Res 574(1-2):9-20 Details

    McGregor A, Herbert J (1992), “The effects of beta-endorphin infusions into the amygdala on visual and olfactory sensory processing during sexual behaviour in the male rat.” Neuroscience 46(1):173-9 Details

    McGregor A, Herbert J (1992), “Specific effects of beta-endorphin infused into the amygdala on sexual behaviour in the male rat.” Neuroscience 46(1):165-72 Details

    Mead S, Ebling FJ, Maywood ES, Humby T, Herbert J, Hastings MH (1992), “A nonphotic stimulus causes instantaneous phase advances of the light-entrainable circadian oscillator of the Syrian hamster but does not induce the expression of c-fos in the suprachiasmatic nuclei.” J Neurosci 12(7):2516-22 Details


    Goodyer I, Herbert J, Moor S, Altham P (1991), “Cortisol hypersecretion in depressed school-aged children and adolescents.” Psychiatry Res 37(3):237-44 Details

    Hutchison RE, Hutchison JB, Steimer T, Steel E, Powers JB, Walker AP, Herbert J, Hastings MH (1991), “Brain aromatization of testosterone in the male Syrian hamster: effects of androgen and photoperiod.” Neuroendocrinology 53(2):194-203 Details

    Juss TS, Maywood E, Walker AP, Herbert J, Hastings MH (1991), “The influence of photoperiod on the hypothalamic content of Beta-endorphin and the luteinizing hormone responses to naloxone and to steroid withdrawal in the male Syrian hamster.” J Neuroendocrinol 3(5):461-7 Details

    Maywood ES, Lindsay JO, Karp J, Powers JB, Williams LM, Titchener L, Ebling FJ, Herbert J, Hastings MH (1991), “Occlusion of the melatonin-free interval blocks the short day gonadal response of the male Syrian hamster to programmed melatonin infusions of necessary duration and amplitude.” J Neuroendocrinol 3(3):331-7 Details


    Elkabir DR, Wyatt ME, Vellucci SV, Herbert J (1990), “The effects of separate or combined infusions of corticotrophin-releasing factor and vasopressin either intraventricularly or into the amygdala on aggressive and investigative behaviour in the rat.” Regul Pept 28(2):199-214 Details

    Hughes AM, Everitt BJ, Herbert J (1990), “Comparative effects of preoptic area infusions of opioid peptides, lesions and castration on sexual behaviour in male rats: studies of instrumental behaviour, conditioned place preference and partner preference.” Psychopharmacology (Berl) 102(2):243-56 Details

    Maywood ES, Buttery RC, Vance GH, Herbert J, Hastings MH (1990), “Gonadal responses of the male Syrian hamster to programmed infusions of melatonin are sensitive to signal duration and frequency but not to signal phase nor to lesions of the suprachiasmatic nuclei.” Biol Reprod 43(2):174-82 Details


    Bonnefond C, Walker AP, Stutz JA, Maywood E, Juss TS, Herbert J, Hastings MH (1989), “The hypothalamus and photoperiodic control of FSH secretion by melatonin in the male Syrian hamster.” J Endocrinol 122(1):247-54 Details

    Hastings MH, Walker AP, Powers JB, Hutchison J, Steel EA, Herbert J (1989), “Differential effects of photoperiodic history on the responses of gonadotrophins and prolactin to intermediate daylengths in the male Syrian hamster.” J Biol Rhythms 4(3):335-50 Details

    Herbert J (1989), “Neural systems underlying photoperiodic time measurement: a blueprint.” Experientia 45(10):965-72 Details

    Stavy M, Herbert J (1989), “Differential effects of beta-endorphin infused into the hypothalamic preoptic area at various phases of the male rat's sexual behaviour.” Neuroscience 30(2):433-42 Details


    Hastings MH, Walker AP, Roberts AC, Herbert J (1988), “Intra-hypothalamic melatonin blocks photoperiodic responsiveness in the male Syrian hamster.” Neuroscience 24(3):987-91 Details

    Hawkins CA, Everitt BJ, Herbert J (1988), “The influence of steroid hormones on competing sexual and ingestive behavior in the male rat.” Physiol Behav 44(3):291-300 Details

    Herbert J, Roser B (1988), “Strategies of monoclonal antibody therapy that induce permanent tolerance of organ transplants.” Transplantation 46(2 Suppl):128S-134S Details

    Hughes AM, Everitt BJ, Herbert J (1988), “The effects of simultaneous or separate infusions of some pro-opiomelanocortin-derived peptides (beta-endorphin, melanocyte stimulating hormone, and corticotrophin-like intermediate polypeptide) and their acetylated derivatives upon sexual and ingestive behaviour of male rats.” Neuroscience 27(2):689-98 Details


    Hastings MH, Walker AP, Herbert J (1987), “Effect of asymmetrical reductions of photoperiod on pineal melatonin, locomotor activity and gonadal condition of male Syrian hamsters.” J Endocrinol 114(2):221-9 Details

    Hughes AM, Everitt BJ, Herbert J (1987), “Selective effects of beta-endorphin infused into the hypothalamus, preoptic area and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis on the sexual and ingestive behaviour of male rats.” Neuroscience 23(3):1063-73 Details

    Martensz ND, Vellucci SV, Fuller LM, Everitt BJ, Keverne EB, Herbert J (1987), “Relation between aggressive behaviour and circadian rhythms in cortisol and testosterone in social groups of talapoin monkeys.” J Endocrinol 115(1):107-20 Details

    Roberts AC, Martensz ND, Hastings MH, Herbert J (1987), “The effects of castration, testosterone replacement and photoperiod upon hypothalamic beta-endorphin levels in the male Syrian hamster.” Neuroscience 23(3):1075-82 Details