Novel drugs and receptors for targeting neural control of digestive system functtion

Project Details

We have made a number of discoveries of new compounds that can modify digestive function, and are conducting animal proof of principal experiments that we hope will lead to clinical trials.

You will work with a team of researchers to investigate the effectiveness and mechanisms of action of novel pharmacological tools.

This project will provide you with the opportunity to conduct in vivo experiments and to learn much about whole animal physiology. One of the major problems of digestive function is failure of propulsive activity. This arises from a variety of neuro‚Äźmuscular dysfunctions. The most common result is constipation that afflicts more than 20% of the population, many older Australians and most of those with spinal cord injury. We have discovered a new class of drugs that can potentially be used to treat these conditions and this project will further investigate the mechanisms of action and therapeutic potential of novel compounds.


Dr Ruslan Pustovit, Project Leader/Supervisor

Dr Juan Molero

Dr Rachel McQuade

Professor John Furness

Dr Shanti Diwakarla


Dr Ahkter Hossain

Professor Ross Barthgate

Research Opportunities

This research project is available to PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science, Post Doctor Research to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.

Research Publications

Callaghan, B, Furness, JB, Pustovit, RV:  Neural pathways for colorectal control, relevance to spinal cord injury and treatment. Spinal Cord 56, 199-205 (2018), doi:10.1038/s41393-017-0026-2

Pustovit, RV,Callaghan, B, Ringuet, MT, Kerr, NF, Hunne, B, Smyth, IM, Pietra, C, Furness, JB:  Evidence that central pathways that mediate defecation utilise ghrelin receptors but do not require endogenous ghrelin.  Physiol Reports, 5, e13385 (2017)

Research Group

Furness laboratory: Digestive physiology and nutrition

Faculty Research Themes


Key Contact

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

Department / Centre

Anatomy and Neuroscience

MDHS Research library
Explore by researcher, school, project or topic.