Disorders of the stomach, gastroparesis and other challenges

Gastroparesis is a debilitating chronic condition that causes severe abdominal pain, early satiety, nausea and vomiting. Underlying these symptoms is slowed gastric emptying without a physical obstruction.

There is currently no cure and symptom management treatments are largely ineffective with low patient satisfaction. A very poor understanding of disease pathophysiology contributes to the lack of a cure and inadequate treatment of symptoms.

Consistently associated with gastroparesis is changes in pacemaker cells of the stomach, the interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC). These cells generate and propagate rhythmic slow waves that are essential for gastric emptying.

Changes in ICC cells have been associated with idiopathic and diabetic-induced gastroparesis. Recent increased use of GLP-1 agonist to treat diabetes and obesity has revealed a concerning new type of gastroparesis, drug-induced (iatrogenic) gastroparesis.

This project investigates the underlying pathophysiology of gastroparesis across the different gastroparesis subtypes; idiopathic, diabetic and drug-induced.


  • Develop valid animal models of idiopathic, diabetic and iatrogenic gastroparesis and use these to determine underlying causes and develop therapies.


As part of this work we are undertaking detailed physiological, neurochemical and pharmacological studies of the different types of gastroparesis.

Research team


Dr Madeleine Di Natale


  • Billie Hunne – The Florey
  • Dr Xiaokai Wang – University of Michigan
  • Professor Zhongming Liu – University of Michigan
  • Dr Lincon Stamp – University of Melbourne (Anatomy and Physiology)
  • Dr Marlene Hao – University of Melbourne (Anatomy and Physiology)
  • Dr Vincent Ho – Western Sydney Hospital

Take part in this project

Student applications

Students who are applying to study at The Florey can register their interest in this project. Refer to our step-by-step guide to help you with your application.

How to apply

Accepting students

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If you’re interested in learning more about this project please contact our team.

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