My research, during the past 40 years or so, has been concerned with the brain gut axis. The most important of my early work involved recording from vagal afferent and efferent fibres innervating the upper digestive tract. More recently, in collaboration with the Flinders Pancreatic-Hepatobiliary Group, I returned to that electrophysiological methodology to study the afferent innervation of the Pancreas and biliary system in-vivo and in-vitro. Other electrophysiological studies in the pancreas included intracellular recording from pancreatic acinar cells following electrical field stimulation of intrapancreatic nerves and a subsequent analysis of the intracellular signalling pathways.
A major focus of my work during much of this time has been the role of peripherally and centrally acting neuroactive substances such as CCK, NPY and most recently exo and andocannabinoids on food intake, nausea and emesis and gastrointestinal functions such as gastric secretion and gastrointestinal motility.
During the past 15 years following our discovery of a novel neuroendocrine system regulating the immune system involving the sympathetic nervous system and the submandibular glands and the identification of novel antiinflammatory peptides, we have developed effective tripeptide analogues that can reduce inflammation in many models of inflammatory and allergic disease including pancreatitis. One of these analogues is now entering phase two trials for use in asthma. I continue to collaborate with the Flinders group on the use of these antiinflammatory tripeptides in pancreatitis and the associated lung inflammation