Brief career history
- 1999-Present: Personal Chair, Department of Biomedical Science, Sheffield
- 2012-2016: Head of Department
- 1998-2004: Germany Gästprofessor in the Department of Surgery, University of Tübingen, Germany
- 1996-1999: Reader, Dept. of Biomedical Science, Sheffield
- 1990-1996: Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Biomedical Science, Sheffield
- 1990: Visiting Scientist, University of Hohenheim, Germany
- 1988: Visiting Scientist, University of Western Australia, Perth
- 1987-1990: Wellcome Trust Senior Lecturer, Department of Biomedical Science, University of Sheffield
- 1981: Visiting Scientist, University of Calgary, Canada
- 1980-1987: Lecturer, Department of Physiology, University of Sheffield
- 1978-1980: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Physiology, University of Sheffield
Neurogastroenterology – The Neural control of Gut function
My research is focused on the neural control of gut function. The term "neurogastroenterology" has been coined to describe the field of brain-gut interactions. This field has undergone rapid expansion recently for a number of reasons.
- Chairman of the Management Board of Neurogastroenterology and Motility
- Member of the Varenna group, an international educational organisation providing teaching material for gastroenterology
- Executive Board Member & Senior Ethics Editor of the Journal of Physiology
- Fellow of the American Association of Gastroenterology
- Member of the Editorial Boards for Gut, Journal of Physiology
- Autonomic Neuroscience
- Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology
- ANGMA (Adelaide 2015)
- British Pharmacological Society (London 2014)
- Nuffield Council (Sheffield 2014)
- Australasian Neuroscience Society (Adelaide 2014)
Sensory signals from the bladder and bowel: An age old problem
The aim of our research is to understand the function of sensory nerves innervating the bladder and bowel. Sensory signals are pivotal to reflexes that control bladder and bowel function and also mediate sensations associated with urgency and pain. Sensory signaling is up-regulated as a consequence of inflammation and is manifested as hypersensitivity to distension that persists long after inflammation has resolved. Bladder and bowel disorders such as overactive bladder syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome are often associated with increased sensory signaling and pain.
These disorders have a profound impact on quality of life and are prevalent in the elderly causing constipation, urgency and incontinence but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Our lab employs neurobiological techniques to study the transduction of sensory signals generated from within the wall of the gastrointestinal tract and bladder.
Our recent studies have identified changes in ion channels and receptors that determine signal transduction and regulate excitability in the peripheral endings. Mediators released from the epithelial lining of the bladder and bowel play a role in maintaining aberrant signalling. In aged animals there is a differential effect on sensory signalling with augmented signalling in the bladder and a deficit in signalling in the bowel. Current efforts are to identify the molecular basis of aberrant signalling.
While our approach is largely basic science, a strong clinical element is maintained through collaborations aimed at understanding the basis of sensations that arise in both functional and organic GI disorders.