Dr Vincent Ho MBBS Bsc(Med) MMed (Clin Epi) FRACP FACP, Clinical Project Director
Dr Ho is involved in two research streams in the field of gut motility: clinical and basic science. His clinical research focuses on looking at the use of new medications to improve gut motility and innovative treatments including electrical stimulation for rare disorders such as gastroparesis. His basic science research involves the isolation and development of Interstitial Cells of Cajal (the pacemaker cells of the gut and instrumental in gut motility) and the development of intestinal organoids.
Dr Jerry Zhou BSc (Hons) PhD, Postdoctorate Research Fellow
Dr Jerry Zhou was appointed as a postdoctorate research fellow in translational gastroenterology at the Western Sydney University in 2014. He works on developing the emerging research areas in neurogastroenterology and motility at the School of Medicine. Dr Zhou is involved in translational "bench to bedside" research by bring basic science and clinical science together in creating projects that have real-world applications that can be translated into patient benefits.
Dr Zhou completed his PhD from the University of Sydney in 2013 by developing a molecular approach to colorectal cancer classification and outcome prediction. He has been the recipient of a Cancer Institute NSW competitive grant and several awards and prizes at international conferences. Dr Zhou has presented his research as a speaker at the Human Proteome Organisation (HUPO) congress in Boston, United States as well as in several international journals and book chapters.
Student Research Team
The following research higher degree students and medical students contribute to the bioinformatics and laboratory research projects:
Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) students
- Prapti Shrestha is investigating the micro-organism changes in the human oesophagus under healthy and disease conditions. Using cutting-edge technology, mass spectrometry and proteotyping, Prapti plans to characterise the bacterial changes in the human oesophagus in patients with oesophagitis, Barrett's oesophagus, and its downstream disorder: oesophageal cancer. Her research would contribute towards understanding the bacterial changes as a result of human diseases, and pave the way for a diagnostic tool for oesophageal cancer in patients with Barrett's oesopahgus.
- Harsha Suresh is an organic chemist whom is specialised in material structures. He has transferred his skills to determine the structural and rheological properties of low viscosity soluble fibres. Soluble fibres are an essential part of a healthy diet, their benefits include being a low glycemic index food and the ability to absorb bad cholesterol. Low viscosity fibres have the potential to improve the well-being and quality of life for gastroparesis patients as regular soluble fibres are often avoided as they can exacerbate gastrointestinal symptoms. Harsha plans to conduct a clinical trial to determine the beneficial effects of a low viscosity diet in gastroparesis suffers.
MBBS medical Honours students (Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery)
Medical honours students are working on several gut motility research projects investigating the factors that influence gastrointestinal motility
- Alexandra Fragakis is investigating the prevalence of constipation in Greater Western Sydney. She seeks to understand if there is an association between constipation and medicine use. Her interest in the community impacts of GI disorders has also led her to assisting in the development and management of the Gastroparesis support group.
- Wendy Wang is using a mouse GI model to understand the effects of prescription medication of intestinal motility. Slow waves are background motility that are critical to active peristalsis. Her project determines how slow waves are affected by drug treatment and the underlying mechanisms behind these changes.
- Catherine Sykes is a trainee clinical scientist from NHS Lothian and The University of Edinburgh. Her interest in clinical and basic science research has led her to visit the Gastrointestinal Laboratory to acquire knowledge and experience in translational research.
- Melinda Lam is looking into the changes in Interstitial cell of Cajal (ICC), a newly discovered cell type essential in gut motility, following chronic polypharmacy treatment. Her work has shown a correlation between polypharmacy use in mice and a reduction in intramuscular ICC expression. These findings were presented in the 2015 ANGMA (Australasian NeuroGastroenterology & Motility Association) conference.
- Lauren Tan is interested in the mechanisms of anticholinergic drugs in reducing gut motility. Her research project investigates the functional and cellular changes in the gut as a result of anticholinergic treatment.
- William Wang investigates the effectiveness of Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) for the treatment of functional dyspepsia. This disorder affects 15-30% of Western population and has seen limited success with conventional treatment options.
- Lisa Tran is working with a state-of-the-art Gastrointestinal Motility Monitor (GIMM) system developed in the United States to capture in high definition real-time changes in gut motility. Her project will optimise and test the capabilities of the GIMM system, from maintaining viable organ function outside of the host to the best forms of introducting test compounds.