Stuart Brierley

Professor, BSc, BSc Hons (1st Class), PhD

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Personal profile

Public Profile

Prof Brierley is Director of the Visceral Pain Research Group and Director of the Hopwood Centre for Neurobiology, located at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI). He is also an NHMRC R.D Wright Biomedical Fellow (CDF II).

In 2017 Prof Brierley was awarded an NHMRC Research Excellence Award for being the top Ranked CDF II in the 2016 round. He was also a South Australian Tall Poppy Science Awardee in 2011. 

Prof Brierley is an international leader on the gut-brain axis. This includes the different afferent classes innervating the gut, the channels and receptors underlying their function and how this changes in acute and chronic pain. Prof Brierley has a proven track record in coordinating multi-faceted research programs for high-impact publications in journal such as Nature, Cell, Nature Communications, Gastroenterology, Gut, PNAS, JCI Insight, Pain, British Journal of Pharmacology and The Journal of Neuroscience. He also has invited reviews published in Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Annual Reviews of Physiology, Gut, Trends in Biomedical Sciences, Journal of Physiology and The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology. 

To date, Prof Brierley has been a CI on 13 NHMRC Project grants. He has also been awarded three (2008, 2013, 2016) prestigious NHMRC fellowships. He is also a CI on an ARC Discovery Grant and CI on 2 recently awarded 3-year NIH grants under the SPARC/HEAL schemes. He also has a strong track record of industry collaboration.

His recent collaborations with Industry partners identified the mechanism of pain relief of a new drug, linaclotide, in treating patient with Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Constipation (IBS-C). Linaclotide, a guanylate cyclase-C (GC-C) agonist is effective in relieving abdominal pain associated with IBS-C and is already available and registered for use by IBS-C patients in the USA and Europe.

For a current list of publications see:

Key positions

  • President of the Australasian Neurogastroenterology and Motility Association (ANGMA).
  • Co-chair of the Federation of Neurogastroenterology and Motility (FNM) 2021 meeting in Adelaide.
  • NHMRC R.D Wright Biomedical Fellow (CDF II; 2017-2020).
  • NHMRC R.D Wright Biomedical Fellow (CDF I; 2013-2016).
  • NHMRC Australian Biomedical Fellow (2008-2012).

Research Interests

Prof Brierley is recognised by his peers as a leading international authority on the afferent pathways innervating our internal organs and how they relate to chronic visceral pain. His research comprises discovery and translational science investigating the causes and cures of chronic abdominal pain relevant to gastrointestinal disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). These disorders are highly prevalent, affecting up to 15% of the Western population. In particular, his research focuses on the role of different afferent classes innervating tour internal organs, the channels underlying their function, the interaction of these channels with inflammatory and immune mediators, and how these processes change in acute and chronic pain. His recent research interests extends into other common causes for visceral pain including interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome and endometriosis and how ‘cross-organ sensitisation' can potentially explain co-morbidities in these patients.


External positions

Flinders University


  • Chronic Pain
  • Neuroscience
  • Visceral organs
  • Colon
  • Bladder
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Endometriosis
  • Painful bladder syndrome
  • Ion channels
  • GPCRs


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