Jan Huizinga
Professor, Medicine

Together with Dr. Jihong Chen MD PhD, we work in the Chen-Huizinga laboratory within the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Institute. Our goal is to advance knowledge about gastrointestinal motility control systems and gastrointestinal motility disorders. We develop new methods for the diagnosis of motility disorders including high-resolution colonic manometry and various types of autonomic function analyses. We also develop new methods of treatment involving non-invasive spinal neuromodulation, to trigger and re-establish autonomic reflexes that solve severe constipation and severe fecal incontinence.

Our laboratory is interested in gut pacemaker network properties. Motor patterns of the gut are orchestrated by pacemaker cells, interstitial cells of Cajal, in conjunction with intrinsic and extrinsic nerves. We explore pacemaker cells via electrophysiology methods and we explore whole organ function through spatio-temporal mapping via video recording of motor patterns. We have a strong emphasis on modeling of the gut pacemakers as a system of weakly coupled oscillators. All this is to enhance our understanding of human colonic motility.
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