Chemistry seminar: the wonder molecule



Discovered in 1952, oxytocin is a neuropeptide hormone produced in the hypothalamus. Amongst its several functions, oxytocin has been found to be released during childbirth and lactation to aid reproductive functions, it influences social behaviour and emotion, and it has been characterised by anti-anxiety effects. Beneficial activity has also been observed for people with autistic spectrum disorders. It has been widely referred to as the “love hormone”, “hug hormone”, “cuddle chemical”, “moral molecule”, and the “bliss hormone” due to its effects on behaviour, including its role in love and biological functions of reproduction. In this seminar the chemical as well as the behavioural and psychological aspects of this “wonder molecule” will be presented.


  • Dr Magdalini Matziari, Department of Chemistry (organic/medicinal chemistry)
  • Irene Chiotis, Language Centre (psychoanalytical literature/communication)