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Blizard Institute - Barts and The London

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:

Dr Aktar’s research interests encompass the normal and disease mediated function of enteric neurons and gut epithelium in relation to gut microbiota, visceral hypersensitivity and appetite regulation.  Her PhD described the role of extracellular matrix molecule-Tenascin-x in regulating gut function. Specifically, she studied the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying connective tissue defects in abnormal gut physiology. Gut symptoms in this cohort of patients are parallel to symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome and functional gut disorders.

Currently she is working on a range of projects including running a clinical trial on appetite reduction to manage obesity and diabetes. Dr Aktar is also using germ free and mono-colonised mice with a stable human gut microbe to understand the mechanism by which microbes influence gut innervation and function at a mechanistic level. Finally she is working on a novel orphan G-protein coupled receptor which is thought to be important in neuropathic pain mechanisms. Whereby this receptor is being characterised in the enteric nervous system using expression studies in normal and diseased human gut tissue. 


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