Gut health in production animals and in human


Project Details

Problems of gut health caused by heat and other environmental stresses and by infections of the digestive tract are threats to production animal health including in pigs, cattle and poultry. Pigs especially are also compromised by weaning stress.  In these projects we are quantifying the changes in gut health and are investigating strategies to reduce or reverse adverse effects on the gut.  These include the use of antioxidants and phytonutrient food additives.

We are also investigating threats to human gut health, particularly the roles of high fat diets.


Professor Robin McAllen
Professor Rob Shepherd
Dr Peter de Cruz
Dr Bob Jones
Dr Tony Shafton
Dr Sophie Payne
Ms Alicia Sedo

Research Publications

  • Fothergill LJ, Callaghan B, Rivera LR, Lieu TM, Poole DP, Cho H-J, Bravo DM, Furness JB. Effects of food components that activate TRPA1 receptors on mucosal ion transport in the mouse intestine.  Nutrients 2016; 623: 1-11.  doi:10.3390/nu8100623.
  • Furness JB. Integrated neural and endocrine control of gastrointestinal function.  Advances Exp Med Biol 2016; 891: 159-173.
  • Leung C, Herath CB, Jia Z, Andrikopoulos S, Brown BE, Davies MJ, Rivera LR, Furness JB, Forbes JM, Angus PW.  Dietary advanced glycation end-products aggravate non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.  World J Gastroenterol 2016; 22: 8026-8040.
  • Leung C, Rivera LR, Angus PW, Furness JB. The role of the gut microbiota in NAFLD. Nature Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 2016; 13: 412-425.
  • Liu F, Cottrell JJ, Furness JB, Rivera LR, Kelly FW, Wijesiriwardana U, Pustovit RV, Fothergill LJ, Bravo DM, Celi P, Leury LJ, Gabler NK, Dunshea FR.   Selenium and vitamin E together improve intestinal epithelial barrier function and alleviate oxidative stress in heat stressed pigs. Exp Physiol 2016; 101: 801-810.
  • Cottrell JJ, Liu F, Hung AT, DiGiacomo K, Chauhan SS, Leury BJ, Furness JB, Celi P, Dunshea FR. Nutritional strategies to alleviate heat stress in pigs.  Animal Production Science 2015; 55: 1391-1402.
  • Furness JB, Bravo DM. Humans as cucinivores: comparisons with other species. J Comp Physiol B 2015; 185: 825-834.
  • Maseko T, Dunshea FR, Howell KS, Cho HJ, Rivera LR, Furness JB, Ng K. Selenium-enriched Agaricus bisporus mushroom protects against increase in gut permeability and up-regulates glutathione peroxidase 1 and 2 in hyperthermally induced oxidative stress in rats.  Nutrients 2014;  6: 2478-2492.
  • Rivera LR, Leung C, Pustovit RV, Hunne B, Andrikopoulos S, Herath C, Testro A, Angus PW, Furness JB. Damage to enteric neurons occurs in mice that develop fatty liver disease but not diabetes in response to a high fat diet.  Neurogastroenterol Motil 2014;  26: 1188-1199.

Research Group

Furness laboratory: Digestive physiology and nutrition

Faculty Research Themes

Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Infection & Immunity, Molecular Mechanisms of Disease, Therapeutics & Translation, Systems Biology

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

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