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Blizard Institute - Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry

Dr Rubina Aktar, BSc, PhD


Post-Doctoral Research Scientist

Centre: Centre for Neuroscience, Surgery and Trauma

Telephone: 020 7882 2646


Dr Aktar completed her undergraduate studies at Queen Mary University of London. She then went onto complete her PhD in enteric neuroscience which was awarded December 2016. Since then she has continued her research career at the Wingate Institute of Neurogastroenterology at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry at Queen Mary, University of London. She is currently working as a Post-Doctoral Research Scientist in multiple areas of enteric neuroscience research. Dr Aktar is also involved in lecturing MSc students in the physiology of gut health and is a teacher on the MBBS course for problem based learning. Dr Aktar has given multiple international presentations at conferences and has obtained awards and grant funding for her research.

LinkedIn: /rubina-aktar-82549265


Lecturer in Digestion and Secretion for MSc in Gastroenterology

PBL Facilitator: Medical students from year 1-5 on MBBS course


Research Interests:

The study of normal and disease mediated function of the Enteric Nervous System.

Gut Microbes and Enteric nervous system:

  • Role of single bacteria and their effects on neuronal innervation
  • Bacterial by-products including SCFA and their role in colonic motility
  • Nutrients and their role in enteric neuronal function including secretion and motility


  • Vagal afferent recordings using whole stomach preparations
  • Colonic recordings using suction electrode to measure the effects of nutrients and SCFA on nerve activity

Drug target identification to modulate the ENS

  • Identification of novel GPCRs and ion channels as therapeutic targets for ENS disorders

Appetite regulation:

  • Natural supplements to reduce appetite-Phase I clinical trial completed
  • Phase II clinical trial ongoing

Connective tissue disorders

  • The role of extracellular matrix proteins and their role in the ENS. To understand the gut physiology of Ehlers Danlos patients who have gastrointestinal symptoms. 


Key Publications

A novel role for the extracellular matrix glycoprotein-Tenascin-X in gastric function.
Aktar R
, Peiris M, Fikree A, Eaton S, Kritas S, Kentish S, Araujo E, Bacarin C, Page A, Voermans C, Aziz Q, and Blackshaw LA. J Physiology2019

The extracellular matrix glycoprotein tenascin-X regulates peripheral sensory and motor neurones.
Aktar R
, Peiris M, Fikree A, Cibert-Goton V, Walmsley M, Tough IR, Watanabe P, Araujo EJA, Mohammed SD, Delalande JM, Bulmer DC, Scott SM, Cox HM, Voermans NC, Aziz Q, Blackshaw LA. J Physiology, 2018

Effects of Obesity and Gastric Bypass Surgery on Nutrient Sensors, Endocrine Cells, and Mucosal Innervation of the Mouse Colon.
Peiris M, Aktar R, Raynel S, Hao Z, Mumphrey MB, Berthoud HR, Blackshaw LA. Nutrients, 2018

The association between Ehlers-Danlos syndrome-hypermobility type and gastrointestinal symptoms in university students: a cross-sectional study.
Fikree A, Aktar R, Morris JK Grahame R Hakim AJ, Knowles CH, Aziz Q. Neurogastroenterol Motil., 2016

All Publications

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