Novel drugs and receptors for targeting neural control of digestive function

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‐muscular 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.


  • Project supervisor: Dr Ruslan Pustovit
  • Project members: Ms Jamie Liew, Professor John Furness, Assoc Prof Akhter Hossain, Dr Lalita Oparija, Mr Mitchell Ringuet


Dr Daniel Poole

Research Publications

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)

Pustovit, RV, Itomi, Y, Ringuet, M, Diwakarla, S, Chai, X-y, McQuade, RM, Tsukimi, Y, Furness, JB:  Muscarinic receptor 1 allosteric modulators stimulate colorectal emptying in dog, mouse and rat and resolve constipation. Neurogastro Motil 13 e13692 (2019) DOI: 10.1111/nmo.13692

Diwakarla S, Bathgate, RAB, Zhang, X, Hossain, MA and Furness, JB:  Colokinetic effect of an insulin-like peptide 5 related agonist of the RXFP4 receptor.  Neurogastro Motil 32, e13796 (2020)

Research Group

Furness laboratory: Digestive physiology and nutrition

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

Key Contact

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

Department / Centre

Anatomy and Physiology

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