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

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.


  • Project supervisors: Professor John Furness, Dr Martin Stebbing
  • Project members: Dr Ruslan Pustovit, Ms Billie Hunne, Ms Madeleine Di Natale, Dr Juan Molero, Dr Lalita Oparija, Dr Linda Fothergill


Dr Peter Cakebread

Ms Maree Cox

Research Publications

Fakhry, J, Stebbing, MJ,Hunne, B, Bayguinov, Y, Ward, SM, Sasse, KC, Callaghan, B, McQuade, RM, Furness, JB:  Relationships of endocrine cells to each other and to other cell types in the human gastric fundus and corpus.  Cell & Tissue Res 376, 37-49 (2019), DOI: 10.1007/s00441-018-2957-0

Fothergill, LJ, Galiazzo, G, Hunne, B, Stebbing, MJ, Fakhry, J, Weissenborn, F, Fazio Coles, T, Furness, JB: Distribution and coexpression patterns of specific cell markers of enteroendocrine cells in pig gastric epithelium.  Cell & Tissue Research 378, 457–469 (2019)

Hunne, B, Stebbing, MJ, McQuade, RM, Furness, JB: Distributions and relationships of chemically defined enteroendocrine cells in the rat gastric mucosa.  Cell & Tissue Research 378, 33-48 (2019) DOI: 10.1007/s00441-019-03029-3

Research Group

Furness laboratory: Digestive physiology and nutrition

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology, Neuroscience

Key Contact

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

Department / Centre

Anatomy and Physiology

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