Potential of stem cell therapy to treat Hirschsprung’s disease

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science, Post Doctor Research
Anatomy and Neuroscience
Medical Building
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Lincon Stamp lstamp@unimelb.edu.au Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Marlene Hao hao.m@unimelb.edu.au Personal web page

Summary In this project, we are using a rat model of Hirschsprung Disease to investigate the clinical application of cell therapy for Hirschsprung patients.

Project Details

Hirschsprung’s Disease arises from the failure of neural crest cells to migrate to the anal end of the colon, resulting in a lack of enteric neurons in the unpopulated region. As the enteric nervous system (ENS) is crucial for gastrointestinal function, there is no propulsive activity in the aganglionic region and there is a build-up of gut contents, which can prove fatal if left untreated. HSCR patients currently undergo “pull-through” surgery to remove the aganglionic region of bowel. Whilst this is life-saving, most patients suffer chronic, long-term complications, including constipation, faecal soiling, and associated psychosocial problems.

Stem cell therapy, where missing enteric neurons are replaced, is an exciting area area of research.


Dr Lincon Stamp, ARC DECRA Fellow

Dr Marlene Hao, ARC DECRA Fellow

Ms Annette Bergner, Senior Research Assistant

Yvette Wilson, Research Assistant


Professor John Furness, University of Melbourne


2015-2017 (extended until 31.12.18) NHMRC Project Grant. Cell therapies for enteric neuropathies - the essential next step

2018 CASS Foundation Med/Sci Grant. A gut feeling about therapies for glioma treatment

Research Publications

Stamp LA, Gwynne RM, Foong JPP, Lomax AE, Hao MM, Kaplan DI, Reid CA, Petrou S, Allen AM, Bornstein JC, Young HM. Optogenetic Demonstration of Functional Innervation of Mouse Colon by Neurons Derived From Transplanted Neural Cells. Gastroenterology. 2017; 152:1407-18

Stamp LA. Cell therapy for GI motility disorders: comparison of cell sources and proposed steps for treating Hirschsprung disease. Am J Physiol Gastrointestinal Liver Physiol. 2017; 312:G348-354

McKeown SJ, Mohsenipour M, Bergner AJ, Young HM, Stamp LA. Exposure to GDNF Enhances the Ability of Enteric Neural Progenitors to Generate an Enteric Nervous System. Stem Cell Reports. 2017; 8:476-88

Stamp LA, Obermayr F, Pontell L, Young HM, Xie D, Croaker DH, Song ZM, Furness JB. Surgical Intervention to Rescue Hirschsprung Disease in a Rat Model. J Neurogastroenterol Motil 2015; 21:552-9

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Biomedical Neuroscience, Stem Cells

Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science, Post Doctor Research
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.


Anatomy and Neuroscience

Research Group / Unit / Centre

Stamp & Hao laboratory: Development of the enteric nervous system

Research Node

Medical Building

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