Professor Stephen P

Professor Stephen P Kent

Head of School of Psychology and Public Health, Professor

College of Science, Health and Engineering

School of Psychology and Public Health

Department of Psychology and Counselling

201 HS2, Melbourne (Bundoora)


AB Wabash, PhD Illinois.



Membership of professional associations

Association for Psychological Science, Australian Neuroscience Society, Society for Neuroscience (USA), International Behavioral Neuroscience Society (Past-President; Fellow)

Area of study


Brief profile

I have a long-standing interest in psychoneuroimmunology (PNI); the interactions between behaviour, the brain and the immune system.  Our recent work has characterised the behavioural, physiological, and immunological consequences of caloric restriction. We've shown that caloric restriction attenuates the inflammatory response. Stemming from this, we are currently examining the role of neuropeptide Y (NPY) in the development and maintenance of fever and sickness behaviour. This latter term refers to the constellation of non-specific symptoms that sick individuals experience, including malaise, fatigue, and disinterest in usual activities such as eating, drinking, and social activities.

Previously in the lab we have investigated the behavioural effects of proinflammatory cytokines (e.g., IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α) including their site of action, and the neurochemical intermediaries; immune-induced cognitive impairments; the effects of controllable and uncontrollable stress on the immune system; the potential link between cytokines, heart attacks, and depression; and IBS.

Research interests

Neuroscience and neuropsychology

- psychoneuroimmunology

Recent publications

Eddy, P, Heckenberg, R, Wertheim, EH, Kent, S, Wright, BJ (2016). A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effort-reward imbalance model of workplace stress with indicators of immune function. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 91: 1-8.

Harden LM, Kent S, Pittman QJ, Roth J (2015) Fever and sickness behaviour: friend or foe. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 50: 322-33.

Lawther, A.J., Clissold, M.L., Ma, S., Kent, S., Lowry, C.A., Gundlach, A.L., Hale, M.W.  (2015) Anxiogenic drug administration and elevated-plus maze exposure activates sub-populations of relaxin-3 neurons in nucleus incertus and serotonergic neurons in dorsal raphe nucleus of the rat. Neuroscience 303: 270-84.

Hale, M.W., Spencer, S.J., Conti, B., Jasoni, C.L., Kent, S., Radler, M.E., Reyes, T.M., Sominsky, L. (accepted 04/12/14) Diet, behavior and immunity across the lifespan. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews.

Radler, M.E., Wright, B.J., Walker, F.R., Hale, M.W., Kent, S. (2015) Calorie restriction increases lipopolysaccharide-induced neuropeptide Y immunolabelling and reduces microglial cell area in the arcuate hypothalamic nucleus. Neuroscience 285: 236-47.

Kashima, E., Kent, S., Kashima, Y. (2015) Life satisfaction in the new country: A multilevel longitudinal analysis of effects of culture and 5-HTT allele frequency distribution in country of origin. Social Cognitive And Affective Neuroscience 10: 50-54.

MacDonald, L., Hazi, A., Paolini, A.G., Kent, S. (2014) Calorie restriction dose-dependently abates lipopolysaccharide-induced fever, sickness behavior, and circulating interleukin-6 while increasing corticosterone. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 40: 18-26.

Radler, M.E., Hale, M.W., Kent, S. (2014) Calorie restriction attenuates lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced microglial activation in discrete regions of the hypothalamus and the subfornical organ. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 38: 13-24.

Philips, K., Wright, B., Kent, S. (2014) Irritable Bowel Syndrome and symptom severity: Evidence of negative attention bias, diminished vigour, and autonomic dysregulation. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 77: 13-19.

Wright, B.J., O'Brien, S., Hazi, A., Kent, S. (2014) Increased systolic blood pressure reactivity to acute stress is related with better self-reported health. Scientific Reports 4: 6882.

Philips, K., Wright, B., Kent, S. (2013) Psychosocial predictors of Irritable Bowel Syndrome diagnosis and symptom severity: Journal of Psychosomatic Research 75: 467-474.

Drugan, R.C., Christianson, J.P., Warner, T.A., Kent, S. (2013) Resilience in shock and swim stress models of depression. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 7:14.

Eren, S., Drugan, R.C., Hazi, A., Flannery, G. & Kent, S. (2012) Coping in an intermittent swim stress paradigm compromises natural killer cell activity in rats. Behavioural Brain Research 227: 291-4.

MacDonald, L., Begg, D., Weisinger, R. Kent, S. (2012) Calorie restricted rats do not increase metabolic rate post-LPS, but do seek out warmer ambient temperatures to behaviourally induce a fever. Physiology and Behavior 107: 762-72.

MacDonald, L., Radler, M., Paolini, A.G., Kent, S., (2011) Calorie restriction attenuates LPS-induced sickness behavior and shifts hypothalamic signaling pathways to an anti-inflammatory bias. American Journal of Physiology 301: R172–R184.


Stiller, A.L., Drugan, R.C, Hazi, A., Kent, S. (2011) Stress resilience and vulnerability: The association with rearing conditions, endocrine function, immunology, and anxious behavior. Psychoneuroendocrinology 36:1383-95.


Levay, E.A., Paolini, A.G., Govic, A., Hazi, A., Penman, J., & Kent, S. (2010) HPA and sympathoadrenal activity of adult rats perinatally exposed to maternal mild calorie restriction. Behavioural Brain Research 208: 202-208.


Levay, E.A., Tammer, A.H., Penman, J., Kent, S. & Paolini, A.G. (2010) Calorie restriction at increasing levels leads to augmented concentrations of corticosterone and decreasing concentrations of testosterone in rats. Nutrition Research 30: 366-373.


Di Benedetto, M., Burns, G.L., Lindner, H.D. & Kent, S. (2010) A biopsychosocial model for depressive symptoms following acute coronary syndromes. Psychology and Health 25: 1061-1075.


Govic, A., Levay, E.A., Kent, S., & Paolini, A. (2009) The social behavior of male rats administered an adult-onset calorie restriction regimen. Physiology and Behavior 96: 581-85.


Kent, S. (2009) Obituary: Evelyn Satinoff (1937-2008). American Psychologist 64: 154.


Abbot, J.D., Kent, S., Levay, E.A., Tucker, R.V., Penman, J., Tammer, A.H., & Paolini, A.G. (2009) The effects of calorie restriction olfactory cues on conspecific anxiety-like behaviour. Behavioural Brain Research 201: 305–310.


Di Benedetto, M., Lindner, H.D., & Kent, S. (2008) The course of depression 10-weeks post-acute coronary syndrome: Assessment using the Cardiac Depression Visual Analogue Scale. Psychology, Health, and Medicine 13:483-493.


Levay, E.A., Paolini, A.G., Govic, A., Hazi, A., Penman, J., & Kent, S. (2008) Anxiety-like behaviour in adult rats perinatally exposed to maternal calorie restriction. Behavioural Brain Research 191: 164-172.


Govic, A., Levay, E.A., Hazi, A., Penman, J., Kent, S. & Paolini, A. (2008) Alterations in male sexual behaviour, attractiveness and testosterone levels induced by an adult-onset calorie restriction regimen. Behavioural Brain Research 190: 140-146.


Begg, D.P, Mathai, M.L., McKinley, M.J., Frappell, P.B. & Kent, S., (2008) Central nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibition restores behaviorally mediated lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced fever in near-term rats. Physiology and Behavior 94: 630-634.


Govic, A., Kent, S., Levay, E.A., Hazi, A., Penman, J., & Paolini, A. (2008) Testosterone, social and sexual behavior of perinatally and lifelong calorie restricted offspring. Physiology and Behavior 94: 516-22.


Levay, E.A., Govic, A., Penman, J., Paolini, A.G. & Kent, S. (2007) Effects of adult-onset calorie restriction on anxiety-like behavior in rats. Physiology and Behavior 92: 889-896.


Begg, D.P., Kent, S., McKinley, M.J. & Mathai, M.L. (2007) Suppression of endotoxin-induced fever in near-term pregnant rats is mediated by brain nitric oxide. American Journal of Physiology 292: R2174-R2178.


Di Benedetto, M., Lindner, H.D., Hare, D. & Kent, S. (2007) The role of coping and anxiety in depression at 6-months post-acute coronary syndrome. Psychology, Health, and Medicine 12: 460-469.


Drugan, R.C., Weidholz, L.M., Holt, A., Kent, S. & Christianson, J.P. (2007) Environmental and immune stressors enhance alcohol induced motor ataxia in rat. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior 86: 125-131.


Weiland, T.J., Voudouris, N.J. & Kent, S. (2007) CCK2 receptor nullification attenuates lipopolysaccharide-induced sickness behavior. American Journal of Physiology 292: R112-R123.


Kent, S., Dedda, K., Hale, M. & Crowe, S.F. (2007) Polyinosinic: polycyctidylic acid induces memory-processing deficits in the day-old chick. Behavioural Pharmacology 18: 19-27.


Older publications

Weiland, T.J., Anthony-Harvey-Beavis, D., Voudouris, N.J., & Kent, S. (2006) Metabotropic glutamate receptors mediate lipopolysaccharide-induced fever and sickness behavior. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 20: 233-245.

Levay, E.A., Govic, A., Hazi, A., Flannery, G.R., Christianson, J.P., Drugan, R.C., & Kent, S. (2006) Endocrine and immunological correlates of behaviorally identified swim stress resilient and vulnerable rats. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 20: 488-497.

Kent, S. (2006) An emotional link between sickness and depression. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 20: 515-516.

Chen, H., Kent, S., Morris, MJ (2006) Is the CCK2 receptor essential for normal regulation of body weight and adiposity? European Journal of Neuroscience 24: 1427-33.

Di Benedetto, M., Lindner, H.D., Hare, D. & Kent, S. (2006) Measuring depression following acute coronary syndromes: A comparison between the Cardiac Depression Scale and the Beck Depression Inventory-II. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 60: 13-20.

Weiland, T.J., Kent, S., Voudouris, N.J., & Shulkes, A (2005) The effect of lipopolysaccharide on cholecystokinin in murine plasma and tissue. Peptides 26: 447-455.

Di Benedetto, M., Lindner, H.D., Hare, D. & Kent, S. (2005) A Cardiac Depression Visual Analogue Scale for the brief and rapid assessment of depression following acute coronary syndromes. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 59: 223-229.

Drugan, R.C., Eren, S., Hazi, A., Silva, J., Christianson, J.P. & Kent, S. (2005) Impact of water temperature and stressor controllability on swim stress-induced changes in body temperature, serum corticosterone, and immobility in rats. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior 82: 397-403.

Weiland, T.J., Voudouris, N.J. and Kent, S. (2004) The role of CCK2 receptors in energy homeostasis: Insights from the CCK2 receptor-deficient mouse. Physiology and Behavior 82: 471-476.

Fortier, M.-E., Kent, S., Ashdown, H., Poole, S., Boksa, P. & Luheshi, G.N. (2004) The viral mimic, polyinosinic: polycyctidylic acid (poly I:C), induces fever in rats via an interleukin-1 dependent mechanism. American Journal of Physiology 287: R759-R766.

Sell, K.M., Crowe, S.F., & Kent, S. (2003). Lipopolysaccharide induces biochemical alterations in chicks trained on the passive avoidance learning task. Physiology and Behavior 78: 679-688.

Stokes, M., Kent, S., & Armstrong, S. (2002) Relationships between phase and period response curve to light pulses in the rat. Biological Rhythms Research 33: 303-317.

Stokes, M., Kent, S., & Armstrong, S. (2001). The effect of repeated pulses of light at the same time upon period responses of the rat circadian pacemaker. Chronobiology International 18: 187-201.

Sell, K.M., Crowe, S.F., & Kent, S. (2001). Lipopolysaccharide induces memory-processing deficits in day-old chicks. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior 68: 497-502.

Research projects

Calorie restriction, sickness behaviour and neuroinflammation. Morgan Radler (2014) Doctor of Clinical Neuropsychology

The role of stress and anxiety on irritable bowel syndrome. Kristy Phillips (2013) Doctor of Clinical Psychology

The effects of calorie restriction on the acute immune response. Leah MacDonald (2012) PhD

Comparison of a cognitive skills self-management group and individual treatment for older persons with memory impairment. Anna McLaren (2012) Masters of Clinical Neurosychology

Neuroendocrine and behavioural alterations in response to adult and perinatal initiated calorie restriction. Elizabeth Levay (2009) PhD

Rearing environment, endocrine, and immunological correlates of swim stress resilient and vulnerable rats. Anna Stiller (2009) Doctor of Psychology

The role of nitric oxide as a signalling molecule in thermoregulatory responses during near-term pregnancy in the rat.  Denovan Begg (2008) MSc

Depression following myocardial infarction in women: Does the immune system play a role? Mirella Di Benedetto (2006) PhD

Neurochemical intermediaries of lipopolysaccharide-induced sickness behaviour: A role for cholecystokinin and glutamate.  Tracey Weiland (2004) PhD