Novel drugs and receptors for targeting digestive function

Project Details

One of the major problems of digestive function is failure of propulsive activity. This arises from a variety of neuro‐muscular dysfunctions. The most common result is constipation that afflicts more than 10% of the population, many older Australians and most of those with spinal cord injury. We have discovered a new class of drug that can potentially be used to treat these conditions, and we have a clinical drug trial in progress. We are interested in further drug development. This project will provide you with the opportunity to conduct in vivo experiments and to learn much about whole animal physiology. You will work with a team of researchers to investigate the effectiveness and mechanisms of action of novel pharmacological tools.


Dr Leni Rivera
Dr Brid Callaghan
Dr Ruslan Pustovit
Prof John Furness

Research Publications

Ferens DM, Habgood, MD, Saunders, NR, Tan, YH, Brown, DJ, Brock, JA, Furness, JB. Stimulation of defecation in spinal cord injured rats by a centrally acting ghrelin receptor agonist. Spinal Cord 2011; 49: 1036‐1041.

Research Group

Furness laboratory: Digestive physiology and nutrition

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Biomedical Neuroscience, Infection & Immunity, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease, Therapeutics & Translation

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Anatomy and Neuroscience

Unit / Centre

Furness laboratory: Digestive physiology and nutrition