Reproductive cycle dependent plasticity within the enteric nervous system

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 Joel Bornstein Personal web page

Summary Our major research interests are the neural mechanisms and circuits that control intestinal motor functions underlying the digestive process, including both muscle movement and the secretion of water and salt by the mucosa, and how these are disturbed by bacterial toxins. This work involves experimental methods ranging from electrophysiological analysis of synaptic transmission in reflex pathways, to immunohistochemical analysis of enteric neural circuits, to measurements of intestinal movements and secretions both in vitro and in vivo and computer simulation of the networks of neurons that mediate these functions. Much of this work, especially that involving interactions between intestinal movements and secretion, is carried out in close collaboration with Dr Tor Savidge of Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. Other international collaborations include a consortium led by Professor Marthe Howard (University of Toledo, Ohio) and funded by NIH whose goal is a predictive anatomical map of the enteric nervous system.

Project Details

We have recently found that enteric neural circuits that control gut function change their properties according to the stages of the reproductive cycle in mice. These changes include changes in the neurochemical phenotype of myenteric neurons and appear to depend on circulating estrogens. In this project, you will investigate whether rapid changes in the phenotype of enteric neurons are associated with changes in function using immunohistochemistry, calcium imaging and functional 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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