Grants awarded

Dynamic heterogeneity and neurogenic potential of enteric glia

Grantholder:

Dr Vassilis Pachnis

The Francis Crick Institute

United Kingdom

The gastrointestinal system is essential for digestive function and health. The complex physiological processes of digestion are controlled by intricate regulatory systems, including vast neural networks that are embedded in the wall of the gastrointestinal tract. It is expected that the neural networks of the intestines are dynamic and at least some of their cells are lost due to normal attrition or disease. Nevertheless, we know very little about the mechanisms that keep the nervous system of the gut in good functional order or the cell types that are likely to be mobilised to replace potential intestinal neural cell losses. 

We will use a range of experimental approaches to characterise the dynamic behaviour of neural cell networks of the gut and understand the biological mechanisms that control their maintenance and regeneration.