Young laboratory: Development of the enteric nervous system


Research Overview

Within the wall of the gut, there is an extensive nervous system, the enteric nervous system, which plays an essential role in the control of gut motility.

During development, enteric neurons arise from neural crest cells that emigrate from the caudal hindbrain and migrate into and along the developing gut. Enteric neural crest cells are thought to migrate further than any other embryonic cell population.

Our research is focused on the mechanisms controlling the development of the enteric nervous system and the potential of cell therapy for treating diseases of the enteric nervous system.


Dr Lincon Stamp, ARC DECRA Fellow

Dr Marlene Hao, NHMRC CJ Martin Fellow

Ms Annette Bergner, Senior Research Assistant

Mr Michael Que, Honours student

Ms Monica Tanami, Honours student

Young laboratory


Professor Hideki Enomoto, Kobe University, Japan

Professor Pieter Vanden Berghe, KU Leuven, Belgium

Professor Hans Cleves, Utrecht University, Netherlands

Professor John Furness, University of Melbourne

Professor Joel Bornstein, University of Melbourne

Dr Jaime Foong, University of Melbourne

Dr Theo Mantamadiotis, University of Melbourne

Dr Rodney Luwor, University of Melbourne


NHMRC Project Grant APP1079234: "Cell therapies for enteric neuropathies - the essential next step". HM Young, LA Stamp and JC Bornstein.
2015-17 (extended until 31.12.18), $645K,

CASS Foundation Med/Sci Grant 7825: “A gut feeling about therapies for glioma treatment”. MM Hao, R Luwor.
2018, $60k,

ARC Discovery Project DP150103709: "Neural migration: Which cells advance and which stay behind?"  HM Young.
2015-17, $421K,

NHMRC Project Grant APP1063822: "Differentiation and fate in developing sympathetic ganglia". CR Anderson, HM Young. 
2014-16, $340K,

Research Publications

  • Stamp LA, Gwynne RM, Foong JPP, Lomax AE, Hao MM, Kaplan DI, Reid CA, Petrou S, Allen AM, Bornstein JC, Young HM (2017). Optogenetic demonstration of functional innervation of mouse colon by neurons derived from transplanted neural cells. Gastroenterology 152(6):1407-141.
  • McKeown SJ, Mohsenipour M, Bergner AJ, Young HM, Stamp LA.  Exposure to GDNF enhances the ability of enteric neural progenitors to generate an enteric nervous system.  Stem Cell Reports 2017; 8: 476-488
  • Hirst CS, Stamp LA, Bergner AJ, Hao MM, Tran MX, Morgan JM, Dutschmann M, Allen AM, Paxinos G, McKeown SJ, Young HM (2017). Kif1bp loss in mice leads to defects in the peripheral and central nervous system and perinatal death. Scientific Reports 7(1):16676.
  • Hao MM, Bergner AJ, Hirst CS, Stamp LA, Casagranda F, Bornstein JC, Boesmans W, Vanden Berghe P, Young HM (2017). Spontaneous calcium waves in the developing enteric nervous system. Developmental Biology 428: 74-87.
  • Hao MM, Foong JPP, Bornstein JC, Li ZL, Vanden Berghe P, Boesmans W (2016). Enteric nervous system assembly: functional integration within the developing gut. Developmental Biology 417(2):168-181.
  • Foong JPP, Hirst CS, Hao MM, McKeown SJ, Boesmans W, Young HM*, Bornstein JC* and Vanden Berghe P.*  Changes in nicotinic neurotransmission during enteric nervous system development. J Neuroscience2015; 35: 7106-7115 *equal senior authors
  • Young HM, Stamp LA, Hofstra  RMW.  Hirschsprung Disease and activation of hedgehog signaling via GLI1-3 mutations. Gastroenterology 2015; 149: 1672-5.
  • Chan WH, Stamp LA, Hirst CS, McKeown SJ, Anderson CR, Young HM.  Development of the autonomic nervous system. Reviews in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine 2016; 2: 23-65.
  • Burns AJ, Goldstein AM, Newgreen DF, Stamp L, Schafer KH, Metzger M, Hotta R, Young HM, Andrews PW, Thapar N, Belkind-Gerson J, Bondurand N, Bornstein JC, Chan WY, Cheah K, Gershon MD, Heuckertoh RO, Hofstra RMW, Just L, Kapur RP, King SK, McCann C, Nagy N, Ngan E, Obermayr F, Pachnis V, Pasricha PJ, Sham MH, Tam P, Vanden Berghe P.  White paper on guidelines concerning enteric nervous system stem cell therapy for enteric neuropathies. Developmental Biology 2016; 417: 229-251.
  • Young HM, McKeown SJ.  Hirschsprung disease - laying down a suitable path. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2016; 13: 7-8.
  • Parish IA, Stamp LA, Lorenzo A, Fowler S, Sontani Y, Miosge LA, Howard DR, Goodnow CC, Young HM, Furness JB. A novel mutation in the nucleoporin Nup35 causes murine degenerative colonic smooth muscle myopathy. Am J Path 2016; 186: 2254-61.
  • Boesmans W, Hao MM, Vanden Berghe P (2018). Optogenetic and chemogenetic techniques for neurogastroenterology. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology 15(1):21-38.