Blizard Institute - Barts and The London

Professor Ashley Blackshaw, PhD


Professor of Enteric Neuroscience

Centre: Neuroscience and Trauma

Telephone: 020 7882 2636


Ashley Blackshaw holds the first Chair of Enteric Neuroscience at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, UK, having moved from the University of Adelaide, Australia in 2011. In 1984, Professor Blackshaw received his Bachelor of Science degree with honours in physiology, as well as his PhD (1988), at the University of Sheffield, UK, working on sensory function and reflex control of the gastrointestinal tract.

Member of the Physiological Society and the American Gastroenterological Association


Lecturing and Research supervision at undergraduate and postgraduate level


Research Interests:

Ashley Blackshaw has been involved in basic research in neuroscience and gastrointestinal physiology since 1987. His past research has focussed on gastro-oesophageal reflux disease and gastrointestinal sensory mechanisms in human and animal tissue. His work has identified new classes of sensory neurons and demonstrated important therapeutic roles for receptors on these neurons. His more recent foci have been on nutrient sensing in the gut and mechanisms of pain. His group’s discoveries led to development of GABAb receptor agonists for reflux disease, to licensing of Linaclotide (guanylate cyclase agonist) for pain, and proposed clinical trials for targeted nutrient delivery in obesity.

Current research is directed towards:

Enteroendocrine cells: mechanisms of nutrient sensing in the gastrointestinal tract, and how they can be manipulated to reduce food intake in obesity, or reduce symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome.

Inflammation: How nutrient sensing may interact with local inflammatory responses in the gastrointestinal tract.

Pain: The role of TRP channels in pain and inflammation in human gastrointestinal disorders, and anatomy of sensory endings.

Extracellular matrix: its role of the in gastrointestinal sensory and motor function.


  1. Symonds EL, Peiris M, Page AJ, Chia B, Dogra H, Masding A, Galanakis V, Atiba M, Bulmer D, Young RL, Blackshaw Mechanisms of activation of mouse and human enteroendocrine cells by nutrients. Gut. 2015 Apr;64(4):618-626 PMID:25015642
  2. Castro J, Harrington AM, Hughes PA, Martin CM, Ge P, Shea CM, Jin H, Jacobson S, Hannig G, Mann E, Cohen MB, MacDougall JE, Lavins BJ, Kurtz CB, Silos-Santiago I, Johnston JM, Currie MG, Blackshaw LA, Brierley SM. Linaclotide inhibits colonic nociceptors and relieves abdominal pain via guanylate cyclase-C and extracellular cyclic guanosine 3',5'-monophosphate. Gastroenterology 2013 Dec;145(6):1334-46. PMID:23958540
  3. Hughes PA, Harrington AM, Castro J, Liebregts T, Adam B, Grasby DJ, Isaacs NJ, Maldeniya L, Martin CM, Persson J, Andrews JM, Holtmann G, Blackshaw LA, Brierley SM. Sensory neuro-immune interactions differ between irritable bowel syndrome subtypes. Gut. 2013 Oct;62(10):1456-65. PMID:22767422
  4. Brierley SM, Hughes PA, Page AJ, Kwan KY, Martin CM, O'Donnell TA, Cooper NJ, Harrington AM, Adam B, Liebregts T, Holtmann G, Corey DP, Rychkov GY, Blackshaw The ion channel TRPA1 is required for normal mechanosensation and is modulated by algesic stimuli. Gastroenterology. 2009 Dec;137(6):2084-2095. PMID:1963223
  5. Hughes PA, Brierley SM, Martin CM, Brookes SJ, Linden DR, Blackshaw LA. Post-inflammatory colonic afferent sensitisation: different subtypes, different pathways and different time courses. Gut. 2009 Oct;58(10):1333-41. PMID:19324867

View all L Ashley Blackshaw's Research Publications at:

PhD Supervision

Dr Madusha Peiris – Lecturer: Nutrient sensing in the gut, TRP channels and inflammation.

Dr Harween Dogra – Clinical Research Fellow: Interaction of nutrient sensing with inflammation

Mr Adam Broadhead – PhD Student: Nutrient sensing in the gut

Ms Rubina Aktar – PhD Student: Human neuroanatomy, Extracellular matrix and gut neural function