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Endocrinology research

Massey University's Endocrinology Research Laboratory uses radioimmunoassay and ELISA methods to measure hormones and other biological compounds for commercial clients, in collaborative research projects, and for student and staff projects.

We develop methods to measure hormones in a wide range of biological samples. We contribute to study design, data analysis, interpretation of results and manuscript preparation and publication.

We undertake collaborative research in endocrinology with colleagues in New Zealand and overseas. Collaborations often involve the shipment of samples to our laboratory, and we also contribute to projects where samples are assayed overseas.

Our expertise


Comparative endocrinology

Current research interests include:

  • Individual variation in corticosterone and cortisol stress responses in animals
  • Endocrine and behavioural responses of birds to stressors
  • Corticosterone stress responses and personality in birds
  • Stress endocrinology in amphibians
  • Stress in marine mammals
  • Non-invasive measurement of stress and reproductive hormones in birds and mammals
  • Blubber progesterone and cortisol measurements to determine pregnancy status and assess stress in free-living and stranded dolphins and other marine mammals
  • Conservation endocrinology

Other research

Our ELISA and radioimmunoassay methods measure hormone concentrations in human endocrinology studies, and we have measured human salivary and plasma melatonin. Our methods measure concentrations of a wide range of biologically important compounds.

For example we have used our expertise in these methods to measure serum concentrations of six biomarkers of bone and cartilage function in horses. We analysed data from this study and used principal components analysis to derive factor scores that could distinguish between groups of horses that could not be distinguished from individual biomarker concentrations alone.



    We measure steroid, protein, thyroid and other hormones, bone and cartilage function markers and other samples.

    Domestic animal endocrinology

    We measure hormones in all species of farm and companion animals. Our laboratory participates in endocrine studies in sheep and cattle. Assays have included progesterone, estradiol, testosterone, cortisol, insulin, IGF-I and 1, 25 hydroxy vitamin D3.

    For more information about our research activity, click on individual researchers' names below.

    Key contact

    • Prof John Cockrem

      Prof John Cockrem

      Professor of Comparative Endocrinology - School of Veterinary Science

    Key contact

    • Prof John Cockrem

      Prof John Cockrem

      Professor of Comparative Endocrinology - School of Veterinary Science

      Professor Cockrem's research considers responses of animals, especially birds, to changes in their environment.  His comparative endocrinology research began with his PhD studies at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom.  He has considered topics ranging from fundamental studies of physiological mechanisms to the development of conservation methods for New Zealand birds.  Study species have included Adelie and emperor penguins in Antarctica, kiwi, kakapo, tuatara and a wide range of other animals.  His research is now focussed on the kororā (little penguin), with iwi involvement and recognition of mātauranga Māori traditional knowledge of the kororā central to this work.