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Personal profile

Research Biography

Prof Stuart Brierley is Director of the Visceral Pain Research Group, Director of the Hopwood Centre for Neurobiology, and Co-Theme leader of the Lifelong Health theme at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI). He is an NHMRC Investigator L1 recipient (2022-26) and received an NHMRC Research Excellence Award for being the top ranked NHMRC CDFII fellow in the 2016 round.

He is an international expert in the ‘gut-brain axis’ and chronic visceral pain mechanisms. His research comprises discovery and translational science investigating the nerve pathways innervating visceral organs to determine the causes of, and treatments for, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), bladder pain syndrome and endometriosis. His research focuses on the role of different nerve pathways innervating the viscera, the channels and receptors underlying their function, the influence of the immune system, and how these mechanisms are changed during acute and chronic visceral pain.

 

Prof Brierley has a strong track record in coordinating and working in multi-faceted research programs for high-impact publications in journals such as Nature (x3), Cell, Nature Communications, Gastroenterology (x6), Gut (x10), PNAS, JCI Insight (x3), Pain (x10), J Neuroscience (x2), and has invited reviews in Nature Reviews Gastroenterology Hepatology (x2), Annual Reviews of Physiology, Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, and Trends in Biomedical Sciences

 

Prof Brierley has been awarded 4 NHMRC Fellowships (Investigator, CDF II; CDF I; Peter Doherty ECF), is CIA on an NHMRC Development Grant (2022-24). He has been CI on 13 NHMRC Project grants (since 2004), two recently completed NIH grants (as part of the HEAL/SPARC scheme) and two ARC Discovery grants.

 

He also has a strong track record of industry collaboration. His recent collaborations with Industry partners identified the mechanism of pain relief of a new drug, linaclotide, in treating patient with Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation (IBS-C). Linaclotide, a guanylate cyclase-C (GC-C) agonist is effective in relieving abdominal pain associated with IBS-C and is already available and registered for use by IBS-C patients in the USA and Europe.

 

For a current list of publications see: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=brierley-sm

 

Email: stuart.brierley@sahmri.com

Research Interests

Research Expertise

Grant funding:

 

i) Current:

2022-2026: Prof Stuart M. Brierley. NHMRC Investigator (L1) Grant. “Identifying the underlying causes and discovering novel therapeutic treatments for chronic visceral pain (CVP)”. APP2008727. AUD $2,173,555.00

2022-2024: NHMRC Development Grant (APP2014250). (AUD $998,858.88). Chief Investigators: Prof Stuart M Brierley, Prof Glenn King. “Developing a first-in-class therapeutic for chronic visceral pain using venom derived peptides”
 

ii) Previous:

2020-2023: U01 NS113869 (SPARC/HEAL) (USD$ 2,536,899). CIs: Prof David Julius, Prof Holly Ingraham, Dr James Bayrer, Prof Stuart Brierley “Mapping gut-spinal cord connections in visceral pain”

2020-2023: U01 NS113871 (SPARC/HEAL) (USD$ 2,159,613) CIs: Prof Million Mulugeta, Prof Stuart Brierley, Prof Evgeniy Kreydin, Dr Muriel Larauche, Dr Lixin Wang, Prof Reggie Edgerton, “Structural and functional mapping of visceral pain afferent neurocircuitries of the colorectum and bladder in preclinical models”

2019-2022: NHMRC Project grant. APP1156427 (AUD $988,243). Chief Investigators: N.J. Spencer, Prof Stuart M Brierley, V. Zagorodnyuk & A Harrington. “Silencing visceral pain pathways using novel optogenetic techniques in vivo” 

2018-2020: ARC Discovery Project: DP180101395. (AUS$331,000). Chief Investigators: Dr Andrea Harrington, A/Prof Stuart M. Brierley, A/Prof Stuart Mazzone, A/Prof Grigori Rychkov. “Central pathways regulating visceral pain”

2017-2020: A/Prof Stuart M. Brierley, NHMRC R.D Wright Fellowship (Level 2). APP1126378 (AUD $470,144).
“Identifying the underlying causes of chronic visceral pain and discovering novel therapeutic treatments”.  Top ranked CDF II in the 2016 round.

2018-2020: NHMRC Project Grant APP1139366.  (AUD $696,808.50). Chief Investigators: A/Prof Stuart M Brierley, Prof Richard Lewis, A/Prof Irina Vetter, A/Prof Grigori Rychkov. “Silencing visceral nociceptors by targeting NaV1.1: A novel therapeutic approach for treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome”

2018-2020:  NHMRC Project Grant #APP1140297.  (AUD $720,585.00). Chief Investigators: A/Prof Stuart M Brierley, Prof David Grundy, Prof Nick Spencer. “Is overactive bladder a 'Bladder itch'? Identification of itch specific pathways within the bladder?”

2015-2018: NHMRC Project Grant APP#1083480. (AUS$873,233). Chief Investigators. A/Prof Stuart M Brierley, Dr Daniel Poole, Prof Martin Steinhoff. "Is abdominal discomfort a colonic itch?"

2014-2017: NHMRC Project Grant APP#1063803 (AUS$660,558). Chief Investigators: Prof Paul Alewood, Dr Stuart M Brierley. "Stable oxytocin analogues - potential treatment for irritable bowel syndrome"

2013-2016: Dr Stuart M. Brierley, NHMRC R.D Wright Fellowship (Level 1). APP1052340 (AUD $397,724). “Determining mechanisms and treatments for chronic visceral pain”. 

2013-2015: NHMRC Project Grant #APP1049928. (AUS $665,267.85). Chief Investigators: Prof David Adams, Dr Stuart M Brierley, Prof David Craik. "GABA(B) Receptor Modulation of Gastrointestinal Function in Health and Disease by Alpha-Conotoxins"

2013-2015: NHMRC Project Grant #APP1049682. (AUS $351,173.55). Chief Investigators: Prof Nigel Bunnett, Dr Graeme Cottrell, Dr Stuart M Brierley. "Mechanisms of protease-driven visceral pain"

2012-2014: NHMRC Project Grant #APP1023972. (AUS $603,375). Chief Investigators: A/Prof Amanda Page, Prof L. Ashley Blackshaw, Prof Gary Wittert, Dr Stuart M. Brierley. "The role of adipokines in modulation of gastric vagal afferent satiety signals".

2011-2013: NHMRC Project Grant #APP1008100. (AUS $436,299). Chief Investigators: Dr Stuart M. Brierley, Prof L. Ashley Blackshaw, A/Prof Grigori Y. Rychkov. "Ion channels underlying inflammatory and post-inflammatory visceral mechanical hypersensitivity"

2010-2012: NHMRC Project Grant #626960. (AUS $548,026). Chief Investigators: Dr Stuart M. Brierley, Prof L. Ashley Blackshaw, Prof Gerald Holtmann. "Viscerosensory neuroimmune interactions".

2008-2012: Dr Stuart M. Brierley, NHMRC Australian Biomedical “Peter Doherty” Fellowship.  (APP497803) “Interaction of TRP channels and inflammatory mediators: A critical role in visceral pain”. (AUD $274,000).

2008-2010: NHMRC Project Grant #508103. (AUS $641,000). Chief Investigators: Prof L. Ashley Blackshaw, Dr Stuart M. Brierley, Dr Grigori Y. Rychkov, Prof Gerald Holtmann. "Transient receptor potential channels (TRPs) as transducers and targets in primary visceral afferents".

2006-2008: NHMRC Project Grant #399324. (AUS $602,250). Chief Investigators: Prof L. Ashley Blackshaw, Prof Simon Brookes, Dr Stuart M. Brierley, Dr Amanda J Page. "How does inflammation of the gut change its sensory innervation?"

2004-2006: NHMRC Project Grant #298942. (AUS $249,750). Chief Investigators: A/Prof L. Ashley Blackshaw, Dr Amanda J Page, Dr Stuart M. Brierley. "Mechanisms of mechanotransduction in primary visceral afferents".

Education/Academic qualification

PhD

External positions

Co-theme leader, Lifelong Health, SAHMRI

20 Apr 2023 → …

Director, Visceral Pain Research Group, SAHMRI

20 Apr 2023 → …

Director, Hopwood Centre for Neurobiology, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute

1 Jan 2020 → …

Deputy Director, Hopwood Centre for Neurobiology, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute

1 Jan 2019 → …

Supervisory Interests

  • Chronic pain
  • Gastrointestinal motility and pain
  • Neuroscience
  • Bladder control

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