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Associate Professor of Medicine Depts. of Gastroenterology & Neurobiology, Duke University

Research Summary

Dr. Bohórquez, an Associate Professor of Medicine and Neurobiology at Duke University, is a pioneer and leader in the field of gut-brain biology. His journey into this emerging field of neurobiology commenced with the groundbreaking discovery of synapses in enteroendocrine neuropod cells (Bohórquez et al., J. Clin. Invest., 2015). This discovery unveiled a sensory neuroepithelial circuit in the gut, akin to that for taste perception in the tongue, gaining rapid recognition in publications such as Nature, the TED ideas blog, and The New Yorker. Dr. Bohórquez’s team achieved a significant milestone in 2018, by revealing that gut neuropods synapse with vagal neurons, enabling the rapid transmission of sensory cues from nutrients to the brain in mere milliseconds (Kaelberer et al., Science, 2018). Moreover, through the development of novel technologies for studying neural circuits in visceral organs, his team made the groundbreaking observation that animals rely on gut neuropods to distinguish and preferentially consume sugar over sweeteners (Buchanan et al., Nat. Neurosci., 2022). These findings have ushered in a new era in the exploration of how visceral sensations influence appetite, choices, mood, and motivations.

Relevance of Research to CGIBD Mission:  Dr. Bohorquez identified a gut brain neuro epithelial circuit that  may modulate brain function and behavior,  The research is relevant to the mission of the CGIBD and to the understanding of important digestive disorders.

CGIBD Focus Area(s):  Regeneration/Repair
Pilot/Feasibility Award 2015
Collaborators: Kaelberer, Liddle