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Dr Richard Young

Telephone +61 8 8222 2082
Position University Senior Research Fellow
Building RAH - Eleanor Harrald
Floor/Room 3 11
Campus Royal Adelaide Hospital
Org Unit Medicine

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Biography/ Background

Dr Richard L Young is a Senior Researcher within the Discipline of Medicine, University of Adelaide and Affiliate, Discipline of Physiology. He is a member of the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Translating Nutritional Science to Good Health (2013-17, University of Adelaide), an exceptional framework for linkage between basic and clinical researchers in endocrinology and gastroenterology.

His postdoctoral research was undertaken within the Nerve-Gut Research Laboratory (Prof John Dent, Prof Ashley Blackshaw) in industry collaboration investigating strategies to inhibit gastroesophageal reflux (2000-7). He pioneered advanced anatomical and in vivo electrophysiology techniques to investigate vagus nerve circuitry in the brainstem, many of which remain unique. His research informed strategic decisions within industry, including two full-scale drug development programs leading to the clinical deployment of an anti-reflux drug. His published works in this area revealed the anatomy and neurophysiology of central gastric vagal circuits, and a novel vagal innervation of the crural diaphragm.

He has now established an independent research line with NHMRC and Diabetes Australia support focussed on the form and function of the intestinal sweet taste system. This system senses intestinal glucose, and in response may regulate the release of gut hormones and control glucose absorption. His research has revealed regulation of this system by luminal and blood glucose, and has documented dysregulation in human diabetes, critical illness and obesity. This knowledge has attracted collaborators from basic and clinical science backgrounds, and from industry. He has secured unique access to genetic and disease models and to a range of human tissue to broaden his enquiry. Limited knowledge exists on the vertical integration of glucose signals from the intestinal lumen, and this translational research in this emerging area is a distinctive strength.


Bachelor of Science, Honours (Pharmacology) (University of Adelaide)

PhD (Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy) (University of Melbourne)


Media Releases:

     Dec 2013 Debate continues on the impact of artificial sweeteners (link, here)

     Aug 2013 Gut taste mechanisms are abnormal in diabetes sufferers (link, here)


 Papers (2007+)

      Hughes P.A, Brierley, S.M., Young R.L. and Blackshaw L.A. (2007) Localisation and comparative analysis of acid sensing ion channel (ASIC1, 2 and 3) mRNA expression in mouse colonic sensory neurons within thoracolumbar dorsal root ganglia. Journal of Comparative Neurology 500(5):863-75.

      Young R.L., Page, A.J., O’Donnell T.A., Cooper, N.J. and Blackshaw L.A. (2007) Peripheral versus central modulation of gastric vagal pathways by metabotropic glutamate receptor 5. American Journal of Physiology Gastrointestinal & Liver Physiology 292 (2): G501-11.

      Sutherland K., Young R.L., Cooper, N.J., Horowitz M. and Blackshaw L.A. (2007) Phenotypic characterization of taste cells of the mouse small intestine. American Journal of Physiology Gastrointestinal & Liver Physiology 292(5):G1420-5.

      Young R.L., Cooper N.J. and Blackshaw L.A. (2008) Chemical coding and central projections of gastric vagal afferent subtypes. Neurogastroenterology & Motility 20(6):708-18.

      Young R.L., Cooper N.J. and Blackshaw L.A. (2008) Anatomy and function of group III metabotropic glutamate receptors in ferret gastric vagal pathways. Neuropharmacology 54(6):965-75.

      Young R.L., Sutherland K., Pezos N., Rayner C.K., Brierley S.M., Horowitz M. and Blackshaw L.A. (2009) Expression of taste receptor molecules in the upper gastrointestinal tract of humans with and without diabetes. Gut 58(3):337-46

      Ma J., Bellon M., Wishart J.M., Young R.L., Blackshaw L.A., Jones K.L., Horowitz M. and Rayner C.K. (2009) Effect of the artificial sweetener, sucralose on gastric emptying and incretin hormone release in healthy subjects American Journal of Physiology Gastrointestinal & Liver Physiology 296(4):G735-9.

      Page A.J., O’Donnell T.A., Cooper N.J., Young R.L. and Blackshaw L.A. (2009) Nitric oxide as an endogenous peripheral modulator of visceral sensory neuronal function Journal of Neuroscience 29(22):7246-55.

      Ma J, Bellon M, Wishart J.M., Young R.L., Blackshaw L.A., Jones K.L., Horowitz M. and Rayner C.K. (2010) Effects of cefaclor on gastric emptying and cholecystokinin release in healthy lean subjects. Regulatory Peptides 159(1-3):156-9.

      Young R.L., Page A.J., Cooper, N.J., Frisby C.L. and Blackshaw L.A. (2010) Sensory and motor innervation of the crural diaphragm by the vagus nerves Gastroenterology 138(3):1091-101.e1-5.

      Ma J, Chang J, Checklin H.L., Young R.L., Jones K.L., Horowitz M. and Rayner C.K. (2010) Effect of the artificial sweetener, sucralose, on small intestinal glucose absorption in healthy humans British Journal of Nutrition 104(6):803-6.

      Blackshaw L.A., Page A.J. and Young R.L. (2011) Metabotropic glutamate receptors as novel therapeutic targets on visceral afferents Frontiers in Neuroscience (Invited Review) 24(5):1-7 (article 40).

      Young R.L. (2011) Sensing nutrients via intestinal taste pathways Frontiers in Neuroscience (Invited Review) 5(23) March 3, 2011 (10.3389/fnins.2011.00023)

      Blackshaw L.A. and Young R.L. (2011) Detection and signaling of glucose in the intestinal mucosa-vagal pathway Neurogastroenterology & Motility (Invited Viewpoint) 23(7):591-94.

      Wu T., Zhao B.R., Bound M., Checklin H.L., Bellon M., Little T.J., Young R.L., Jones K.L., Horowitz M. and Rayner C.K. (2012) Effects of different sweet preloads on incretin hormone responses, gastric emptying, and postprandial glycemia in healthy humans American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 95(1):78-83.

      Kentish S., Li H, O’Donnell T.A., Isaacs N.J., Young R.L., Wittert G.A., Blackshaw L.A. and Page A.J. (2012) Diet-induced adaptation of vagal afferent function Journal of Physiology 590(1):209-221.

      Page A.J., Symonds E., Peiris M., Blackshaw L.A. and Young R.L. (2012) Peripheral neural targets in obesity. British Journal of Pharmacology 166(5):1537-58.

      Kentish S., O’Donnell T.A., Isaacs N.J., Young R.L., Li H., Harrington A.M., Brierley S.M., Wittert G.A., Blackshaw L.A. and Page A.J. Gastric vagal afferent modulation by leptin is influenced by food intake status (2013) Journal of Physiology 591(7):1921-34.

      Deane  A.M., Rayner C.K., Keeshan A., Cvijanovic N., Marino Z., Nguyen N.Q., Chia B., Summers M.J., Sim J.A., van Beek T., Chapman M.J., Horowitz M. and Young R.L. (2013) Dysregulation of an intestinal glucose sensor, transporters and absorption in critically ill humans and mice. Critical Care Medicine (in press)

      Young R.L., Chia B., Isaacs N.J., Ma J., Khoo J., Wu T., Horowitz M. and Rayner C.K. (2013) Disordered control of intestinal sweet taste receptor expression in type 2 diabetes. Diabetes (in press)

      Harrington A.M., Brierley S.M., Isaacs N.J., Young R.L. and Blackshaw L.A. (2013) Identifying spinal sensory pathways activated by noxious esophageal acid. Neurogastroenterology & Motility (in press)

      Li H., Kentish S.J, Kritas S., Young R.L., Isaacs N.J., O’Donnell T.A., Blackshaw L.A., Wittert G.A. and Page A.J. (2013) Modulation of vagal afferent mechanosensitivity by the gastric peptide neuropeptide W. Acta Physiologica (in press)

      Wu T., Bound M., Standfield S.D., Bellon M., Young R.L., Jones K.L., Horowitz M. and Rayner C.K. (2013) Oral ingestion of artificial sweeteners before glucose has no effect on gastric emptying, glucagon-like peptide-1, postprandial glycaemia, or appetite sensations in healthy humans. Diabetes Care (in press)

Entry last updated: Saturday, 27 Jun 2015

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