Our laboratory has two major research interests:
Enteroendocrine Cell Biology
Enteroendocrine cells (EECs) are sensory cells of the gut that send signals throughout the body. They have the ability to sense food and nutrients in the lumen of the intestine and secrete hormones into the blood. Our laboratory has had a longstanding interest in two types of EECs that regulate satiety and signal the brain to stop eating. Cholecystokinin (CCK) is secreted from EECs of the upper small intestine and regulates the ingestion and digestion of food through effects on the stomach, gallbladder, pancreas and brain. Peptide YY (PYY) is secreted from EECs of the small intestine and colon and regulates satiety. We recently demonstrated that CCK and PYY cells not only secrete hormones but are directly connected to nerves through unique cellular processes called ‘neuropods’. Our laboratory is devoted to understanding EECs signaling and its role in disease.
Pancreatitis is an inflammatory disease of the pancreas compounded by intrapancreaatic activation of digestive enzymes. Our laboratory is studying the influence of nerves on the development of pancreatitis. Neurogenic inflammation results from the release of bioactive substances from sensory neurons in the pancreas causing vasodilatation, edema, and inflammatory cell infiltration producing tissue necrosis. Our goal is to identify the agents that activate sensory neurons, characterize the receptors on sensory nerves that mediate these actions, and determine the effects of neural stimulation on pancreatic injury with the long-term objective of developing strategies to reduce neurogenic inflammation to treat pancreatitis.
Education and Training
- Gastroenterology Fellowship, Gastroenterology, University of California, San Francisco, 1981 - 1984
- Residency, Generalinternal Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, 1979 - 1981
- Internship, General Internal Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, 1978 - 1979
- M.D., Vanderbilt University, 1978
- B.S., University of Utah, 1972
- Mechanisms of mechanically-induced acute pancreatitis
- A Novel Integrative Pathway Regulating Intestinal Glucose Sensing
- IPA - Steven R Vigna
- The role of gut endocrine cells in Parkinson's Disease
- Gut-Brain Neurocircuit Modulating Eating Behavior
- Identifying genes required for digestive physiology and lipid metabolism