The Sci-Files – 02/02/2020 – Mustafa Ahmadzai– Brain of The Gut

Chelsie Boodoo and Daniel Puentes

On this week’s The Sci-Files, your hosts Chelsie and Danny interview Mustafa Ahmadzai.

Mustafa is pursuing a dual degree of a DO and a Ph.D. with the Department of Physiology at MSU, which enables him to blend his love for understanding disease mechanisms with a desire to directly affect patient care. Currently, Mustafa studies the enteric nervous system or “brain of the gut” in the laboratory of Dr. Brian Gulbransen. The enteric nervous system is composed of millions of nerve cells that regulate digestion, absorption, and motility independently of the brain. These neurons are in turn supported by populations of cells called enteric glia.

A major hypothesis of the Gulbransen lab is that alterations in enteric glia are involved in many functional bowel diseases like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic constipation and pseudo-obstruction. Using genetic models, Mustafa can “see” in live-time how neurons and glia communicate with each other under healthy and disease conditions. In this way, Mustafa hopes that his research will shed light on the role of enteric glia in functional gastrointestinal diseases. Mustafa has authored several primary publications and 2 book chapters and has presented at national conferences in both Canada and the USA.

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