Dr Stuart Brierley – Neuroscience and Gastroenterology
Research Fellow, Nerve-Gut Research Laboratory, Royal Adelaide Hospital
Stuart researches the chronic pain disorder Irritable Bowel Syndrome which affects up to 20% of all Australians and costs millions of dollars a year in lost productivity and health care. He is investigating why for most people pain is activated only by tissue damage while sufferers of IBS experience long-term pain responses even when damaged tissue has healed. Stuart’s work shows that in these patients special nerve endings that are activated during a bout of gastroenteritis don’t “reset” back to normal after the illness has passed leaving the gut over-sensitive and chronically painful. Understanding how these pain-sensing nerve endings work will lead to new treatments for IBS.