Research at the Chair of Human Biology
... belongs to the field of Neurogastroenterology. Research in Neurogastroenterology focuses on the regulation of gastrointestinal functions, in particular the neural control. The gastrointestinal tract is unique because it can perform all vital functions in vitro even if isolated from the central nervous system. This fascinating ability is linked to the fact that the guts has its own nervous system - the enteric nervous system. This network of over 100 million nerve cells and even more glia is located within the wall of the gut. Based on its structural and functional similarities the enteric nervous system is also referred to as the "little brain of the gut".
At the Chair of Human Biology we study neural control mechanisms of all vital effector systems in the gut - the musculature, the mucosa and the blood vessels. Many projects are concerned with the bidirectional interactions between the enteric nervous and the enteric immune system. Studies on the physiology of the enteric nervous system have the goal to characterise the networks responsible for reflex activity. The projects on pathophysiology of the gastrointestinal tract are aimed to identify new strategies to diagnose and treat GI-disorders in particular functional and inflammatory diseases. This has been possible by the development of methods which allow to record cell activity directly from human gut.