Brain-gut axis:Neural pathways controlling the stomach and their relevance for treatment of gastroparesis

Research Opportunity
PhD students, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
Number of Master Places Available
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof John Furness
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Martin Stebbing

Summary The healthy gut communicates with the brain and lives in harmony with the many bacteria it contains. Disorders of gut health lead to diabetes and metabolic disease, inadequate nutrition, pain, nausea, poor digestion, liver disease, and digestive diseases. The digestive Physiology and Nutrition Laboratory is working to develop new approaches to treating bowel diseases through neuromodulation, an exciting new approach in which nerves are stimulated to treat disordered function, through drug development and by unravelling the basic mechanisms essential for digestive health. We are also working to understand the reasons why gastrointestinal functions become disordered when there are pathologies of the central nervous system, such as in Parkinson’s Disease.

Project Details

The stomach is the portal to the rest of the digestive tract.  It signals to the brain to control food intake and it regulates the supply of ingested nutrients to the rest of the gastrointestinal tract.  Its correct functioning is thus essential to health.  The main nerve connecting the brain and the stomach, the vagus is accessible for nerve stimulation, and thus is a favoured site for neuromodulation therapy.  


Gastroparesis is a disorder of brain gut signalling in which the brain receives inappropriate signals from the stomach, causing nausea, sometimes vomiting, and inappropriate feelings of gastric fullness.  The stomach does not empty properly.


In this project you will investigate gastric control circuits using combinations of techniques, including high-resolution microscopy, multi-label immunohistochemistry, experimental surgery, nerve tracing and gene expression analysis.

Research Opportunities

PhD students, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

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