A group of neurons, glial cells and immune cells within the gut wall.

Vassilis Pachnis : Development and Homeostasis of the Nervous System Laboratory

We study the nervous system of the gut to learn how its development, organisation and function influence health and disease.

Our ability to think, sense and move and the function of many internal organs depend on the nervous system. The most common cells in the nervous system are the neurons and the glia.

Our lab is trying to understand how the complex networks of neurons and glial cells form during development, how they remain in good working order throughout life and how they control body functions. 

We are most interested in the neurons and the glia that control gut functions.

Our aim is to discover how the so-called enteric nervous system is built, what goes wrong when it doesn’t develop normally and how gastrointestinal diseases affect it’s organisation and function.

We identify and study genes and molecular signals that guide the development of the enteric nervous system in embryos, promote its maturation in early life and maintain its fitness in adulthood. This research will help us to learn more about the causes of gastrointestinal conditions people are born with or acquire later in life.

In our research we use a wide range of experimental strategies, including molecular and genetic manipulations, advanced microscopy, bioinformatics and computational modelling.