Heuckeroth Laboratory



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The Heuckeroth Lab's goal is to define molecular and cellular mechanisms that are needed for normal bowel function. The team aims to understand genetic and non-genetic factors that cause disease to enhance the ability to make diagnoses, develop new treatment strategies, and find ways of preventing bowel motility disorders from occurring in the first place.

The lab uses the most advanced approaches including model systems, sequencing, bioinformatics, stem cell biology, imaging, and regenerative medicine strategies. Current studies focus on ENS and smooth muscle biology, with many collaborative projects that span disciplines of medicine and biology.

Project Highlights

Current projects in the Heuckeroth Lab involve the following:

  • Enteric nervous system development and function
  • Smooth muscle development and function
  • Genetics of bowel motility disorders
  • Gene-environment interactions
  • Stem cell biology
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Transcriptional regulation of cell fate
  • MicroRNA in the ENS
  • Retinoic acid and the ENS
  • Chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction and Hirschsprung disease
  • Three dimensional imaging ENS anatomy
  • Gut microbiome, enterocolitis and development
Robert O. Heuckeroth

Robert O. Heuckeroth, MD, PhD

Research Director, Suzi and Scott Lustgarten Center for GI Motility
Dr. Heuckeroth investigates mechanisms controlling bowel motility in order to find new ways to treat, diagnose, and prevent intestinal motility disorders. His research is focused on enteric nervous system and smooth muscle biology as he works to find new ways to improve the lives of children with bowel motility disorders.