Gut-brain communication – how the stomach and brain communicate

The stomach is the portal to the digestive tract. It tells the brain about its state: how full it is, what is the nature of its contents, are any toxins present.

The brain reacts by eliciting feelings of hunger, satiety, fullness, nausea or wellness. In turn, the brain tells the stomach what to do, after integrating information coming from the stomach and other information, including the sight, smell and proximity of food. For example, the brain can tell the stomach to increase volume to receive food, to mix food, to secrete acid or expel contents.

We are investigating this two-way communication that is essential to a healthy life.

Research team


  • Dr Juan Molero
  • Madeleine Di Natale
  • Dr Lincon Stamp

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


  • Fakhry J, Stebbing MJ, Hunne B, Bayguinov Y, Ward SM, Sasse KC, Callaghan B, McQuade RM & Furness JB (2019) ‘Relationships of endocrine cells to each other and to other cell types in the human gastric fundus and corpus’, Cell and Tissue Research, 376(1):37–49, DOI: 10.1007/s00441-018-2957-0
  • Avci R, Wickens JD, Sangi M, Athavale ON, Di Natale MR, Furness JB, Du P & Cheng LK (2022), ‘A computational model of biophysical properties of the rat stomach informed by comprehensive analysis of muscle anatomy’, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology, 4954–4957, doi: 10.1109/EMBC48229.2022.9871314
  • Di Natale MR, Hunne B, Liew JJM, Fothergill LJ, Stebbing MJ & Furness JB (2022), ‘Morphologies, dimensions and targets of gastric nitric oxide synthase neurons’, Cell and Tissue Research, 388(1):19-32,
  • Di Natale MR, Patten L, Molero JC, Stebbing MJ, Hunne B, Wang X, Liu Z & Furness, JB (2022), ‘Organisation of the musculature of the rat stomach’, Journal of Anatomy, 240(4):711–723, doi: 10.1111/joa.13587
  • Di Natale MR, Athavale ON, Wang X, Du P, Cheng LK, Liu Z & Furness JB (2023), ‘Functional and anatomical gastric regions and their relations to motility control’, Neurogastroenterology & Motility, 13:e14560,

Contact us

Professor John Furness

[email protected]