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Personal profile

Research Biography

I am Deputy Director of the Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute (FHMRI) and Head of Molecular and Cellular Physiology research group. I undertook a post-doc with Prof. Thomas Jentsch at the ZMNH, Hamburg, Germany and was then awarded an independent research fellowship to move to the Hudson Institute in Melbourne. I was recruited to Flinders University through a BioInnovation SA Research Fellowship in 2006. In 2010, I was awarded both a NHMRC Career Development Fellowship (Level 1) and an ARC Future Fellowship and then a NHMRC Career Development Fellowship (Level 2) in 2015.

My research is focused on understanding how cells send chemical signals to each other and how this is implicated in health and disease. We have published significant work in this area in leading international journals including Nature, PNAS, PLoS Genetics, Molecular Psychiatry, Gastroenterology, Human Molecular Genetics, Journal of Neuroscience, Diabetes, Nature Communications and Cell Metabolism.

Research Interests

The focus within my lab is identifying the molecular mechanisms controlling cell signalling and how altered cell signalling relates to human diseases; most especially metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity, gut motility disorders and mental illness. My primary focus is on specialised sensory cells that line the gut wall, called enteroendocrine cells. These cells respond to the gut environment to release an array of hormones and neurotransmitters that can act in an autocrine, paracrine and endocrine manner to drive an array of physiological processes.


I utilise transgenic mouse models, human tissue, disease models and microbiome manipulation to identify underlying aspects of these diseases and combine this with cutting edge techniques for the measurement of neurotransmitter and hormone release from single cells. This work is supported with funding from both the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Supervised Students Successes

  • Oct 2012 Kimberley Mackenzie - Best Student Oral Presentation, Australian Neuroscience Society Annual Meeting, Sydney 2010
  • Oct 2012 Heshan Peiris - People’s Choice Award, Flinders University Faculty of Health Sciences Student Research Prize Day
  • Oct 2012 Kimberley Mackenzie - Kathleen V. Russell Prize In Neurobiology, Flinders University Centre for Neuroscience
  • Oct 2012 Heshan Peiris - Best Student Oral Presentation, Australian Physiology Society Annual Meeting, Sydney 2010
  • Oct 2012 Minh-Son To - Australian Postgraduate Scholarship

Completed Supervisions

Principal Supervisions:
  • Physiology (3)

Education/Academic qualification


Award Date: 6 Jul 2003

Bachelor of Science (Honours)


  • Registered

Research Areas

  • Medical biosciences

Supervisory Interests

  • Enteroendocrine
  • Cell signalling
  • Neurotransmitters
  • Gut Brain Axis
  • Gut hormones
  • Mental health
  • Microbiome


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