Welcome to the neurogastroenterology and motility laboratory website at UC San Diego Health Sciences. A team of scientists and physicians work in this laboratory to make new discoveries to improve understanding of the complex system of nerves and muscles that allow the food to travel through the gastrointestinal tract.
After the initial voluntary effort of swallow, food travels through the entire gastrointestinal tract without the person making any effort or knowledge of it, person may go to sleep and still food moves along. This is possible with the control mechanisms that are located in the central nervous system (big brain) and the nervous system located within the wall of the GI tract, also call as enteric nervous system or little brain.
Muscles of the gastrointestinal tract and number of other structures play important role in the movement, digestion and absorption of the meal through the GI tract and finally excretion and expulsion of the undigested food. There are several sphincters along the length of GI tract that compartmentalize the GI tract and also play crucial role in the continence mechanism. You will meet all the lab's team members on this website.