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Dr Richard Young

Telephone +61 8 8128 4845
Position University Senior Research Fellow
Building SAHMRI - South
Floor/Room 7
Campus North Terrace West
Org Unit Medical Specialties

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Biography/ Background

Dr Richard L Young is an NHMRC-supported Senior Research Fellow within the Discipline of Medicine, University of Adelaide, based at the South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI). 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. He is also an affiliate lecturer of the Discipline of Physiology, University of Adelaide.

Following doctoral studies at the Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne (Prof Bill Louis, Prof Andrew Gundlach) he undertook postdoctoral research within the Nerve-Gut Research Laboratory in Adelaide (Prof John Dent, Prof Ashley Blackshaw) in an 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 Category-1 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.

Dr Young also is engaged in ARC and industry-supported collaborative research investigating the peripheral serotonin system in humans. This system has novel and emerging roles in metabolic control, and is an exciting prospect for future novel therapies for obesity and Type 2 diabetes.


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

PhD (Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy) (University of Melbourne)

Awards & Achievements

     2014 NHMRC High Ranked Project Grant – Diabetes (Media Release, link here)

     2013 NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Translating Nutritional Science to Good Health: Senior Research Fellowship

     2012 Oral Abstract of Distinction, Neurogastroenterology & Motility Joint International Meeting (Bologna, Italy)

     2011 Intensive Care Foundation Australia - Highest Ranked Research Grant 2011

     2008 Oral Abstract of Distinction - Neurogastroenterology & Motility Joint International Meeting (Lucerne, Switzerland)

     2007 NHMRC Clinical Centre for Research Excellence in Nutritional Physiology, Interventions & Outcomes:

Health Sciences Early Career Research Fellowship

     2006 Distinguished Oral Abstract Award, Plenary Speaker – American Gastroenterological Association (Los Angeles, USA)

     2006 Distinguished Oral Abstract Award - Brain-Gut Interactions Meeting (Oxford, UK)

     1995 NHMRC Biomedical (Dora Lush) Research Scholarship

     1995 International Society of Hypertension ‘Young Investigator Award (Australia)’

Research Funding

     Australian Research Council

     2015-17 ARC Linkage (LP150100419, $520,000) Prof Damien M Keating, Dr Richard L Young, Dr Alice Liou (Pfizer), Dr V Margaret Jackon (Pfizer)

‘Mechanisms controlling enteroendocrine hormone secretion in human duodenum’

     NHMRC Australia

     2014-17 (APP1081182, $853,134) Dr Richard L Young, Prof Christopher K Rayner, Prof Michael Horowitz ‘Why do sweetened drinks link to type 2 diabetes?’

     2010-12 (APP627127, $$410,125) Dr Richard L Young 'Glucose detection pathways in the gut'

     Diabetes Australia

     2013 (Research Grant, $58,800) Dr Richard L Young, A/Prof Christopher K Rayner, Prof L Ashley Blackshaw, Prof Michael Horowitz

'Postprandial consequences of intestinal sweet taste receptor dysregulation in type 2 diabetes'

     2008 (Research Grant, $49,730) Dr Richard L Young, A/Prof Christopher K Rayner, Prof L Ashley Blackshaw, Prof Michael Horowitz

'Characterisation of intestinal sweet-taste molecules in type-2 diabetes'

     MedVet Laboratories

     2011 (Special Research Project, $95,000) Dr Adam M Deane, Dr Richard L Young

'The intestinal glucose transporter SGLT-1 as a novel therapeutic target in critical illness'

     Intensive Care Foundation Australia

     2014 (Research Grant, $30,900) Dr Richard L Young, A/Prof Adam M Deane 'Intestinal GLP-2 as a novel target in critical illness-induced malabsorption'

     2011 (Research Grant, $45,600) Dr Adam M Deane, Dr Richard L Young, A/Prof Marianne J Chapman, A/Prof Christopher K Rayner, Prof Michael Horowitz

'Critical illness & intestinal sweet taste receptors'


Papers (2009+)

      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.

      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 62 (10):3532-41

      Commentary: Greenfield JR, Chisholm DJ. (2013) How sweet it is: intestinal sweet taste receptors in type 2 diabetes Diabetes 62 (10):3336-7.

      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 25(10):660-8.

      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 murine gastric vagal afferent mechanosensitivity by neuropeptide W. Acta Physiologica 209(2):179-91

      Wu T., Rayner C.K., Young R.L. and Horowitz M. (2013) Gut motility and enteroendocrine secretion. Current Opinion in Pharmacology 13(6):928-34

      Wu T., Bound M., Standfield S.D., Bellon M., Young R.L., Jones K.L., Horowitz M. and Rayner C.K. (2013) Artificial sweeteners have no effect on gastric emptying, glucagon-like peptide-1, or glycemia after oral glucose in healthy humans. Diabetes Care 36(12):E202-3

      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. (2014) The effects of critical illness on intestinal glucose sensing, transporters, and absorption. Critical Care Medicine 42:57-65.

      Commentary: Miskovitz P (2014) Intestinal Glucose Transport in the Critically Ill - Eavesdropping on a Dialogue. Crit Care Med 42(1):202-3.

      Thazhath S.S., Wu T., Young R.L., Horowitz M. and Rayner C.K. (2014) Glucose absorption in small intestinal diseases. Expert Review in Gastroenterology & Hepatology 2014 8(3):301-12

      Nguyen N.Q., Debreceni T., Ghia B., Burgstad C., Neo M., Deane A., Wittert G., Horowitz M. and Young R.L. (2014) Up-regulation of intestinal glucose transporters after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass to prevent carbohydrate malabsorption. Obesity 2 (10):2164-71

      Little T.J., Isaacs N., Young R.L., Ott R., Nyugen N.Q., Rayner C.K., Horowitz M. and Feinle-Bisset C. (2014) Characterization of duodenal expression and localization of fatty acid-sensing receptors in humans: relationships with body mass index. American Journal of Physiology 307(10):G958-67

      Symonds E.L., Peiris M., Chia B., Masding A., Galanakis V., Atiba M., Bulmer A., Page A.J., Young R.L., and Blackshaw L.A. (2014) Mechanisms of activation of mouse and human enteroendocrine cells by nutrients Gut 64 (4):618-26

      Nguyen N.Q., Debreceni T., Ghia B., Burgstad C., Neo M., Deane A., Wittert G., Horowitz M. and Young R.L. (2014) Accelerated intestinal glucose absorption in morbidly obese humans – relationship to glucose transporters, incretin hormones and glycaemia. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 100 (3):968-76

      Reddi B., Beltrame J., Young R.L. and Wilson D.P. (2014) Calcium  desensitisation is associated with loss of vascular tone and vasopressor sensitivity in a murine model of polymicrobial sepsis Intensive Care Medicine Experimental 2015 (3):2

      Cvijanovic N., Feinle-Bisset C., Young R.L. and Little T.J. (2015) Oral and intestinal ‘sweet’ and ‘fat’ tasting: impact of receptor polymorphisms and dietary modulation for metabolic disease. Nutrition Reviews 73(5):318-34

      Young R.L., Lumsden A.L. and Keating D.J. (2015) Gut serotonin is a regulator of obesity and metabolism Gastroenterology (Invited Selected Summary) 149(1):253-5

Community Engagement

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)



    July 2014 Published interview ‘Artificial sweeteners may be fuelling rather than fighting weight loss'

The Saturday Paper (link, here)




    Dec 2013 Channel 7 News. interview



    Dec 2013 4BC - 1116. Interview

    Aug 2013 ABC Radio - Radio Australia. Interview


Community publications:

    Nov 2014 Published interview ‘$7 million boost for Gastro Research’

Gastroenterology update (Registered Medical Practitioners, link here) 

     Aug 2013 Published Article, US Prevention.comMeet the taste buds – in your gut

     Dec 2009 Published Interview. Research Advances: Beyond GORD

Young RL. Physiology of gut ‘taste’. Australian Journal of Pharmacy 90:32

     Dec 2009 Published Interview. Treatment Advances: Beyond Acid Suppression

Young RL. Crural diaphragm offers new approach to GORD. Australian Journal of Pharmacy 90:31

Entry last updated: Saturday, 30 Jul 2016

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