Our Research

Our Research

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Contact Details

  Street address:
Level 11, KGV Building
Missenden Road
Postal address:
Post Office Box M30
Missenden Road NSW 2050

Phone: (02) 9515-6111
Fax: (02) 9515-9610

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Academic Colorectal Unit
Academic Colorectal Unit
Academic Colorectal Unit

Academic Colorectal Unit

Our Research

The key themes of pioneering research within the Academic Colorectal Unit are:

  • Health Services:state-wide, population-based studies to explore variation in outcomes following major colorectal surgery;
  • Clinical Science:advanced, state-of-the-art physiological measurement of gastrointestinal function to accurately define phenotypic variation in pelvic floor and functional gastrointestinal disorders;
  • Translational Basic Science:enteric neuroscience research to determine the molecular, electrophysiological and neuropathophysiological basis of gastrointestinal conditions;
  • Education: development and validation of proficiency-based training curricula in general and colorectal surgery.

Each year more than 230 million major operations are performed worldwide, one for every 25 people in the world. Diseases of the bowel are among the commonest in the population, with bowel cancer being the second most common type of newly diagnosed cancer in Australia and the second biggest cancer killer.

Furthermore, bowel problems such as constipation and incontinence are one of the most frequent reasons why people visit doctors, with approximately 1 in 10 people suffering with each of these problems. Despite these staggering statistics, very little is known about how the bowel works in healthy individuals and what goes wrong in diseases and disorders such as cancer and constipation.

More importantly, it is unclear how many operations are performed for bowel problems in Australia each year and what results are achieved following surgery.

Key Achievements

The research Group focuses on clinical, epidemiological and translational research into diseases and disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. The group consists of a collaboration of expert gastrointestinal surgeons and physicians, epidemiologists, biostatisticians and gastrointestinal scientists, physiologists and neuroscientists with established International collaborations with: Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Medical Nobel Institute, Karolinska Institute, Sweden Center for Health Outcomes & Policy, University of Michigan, USA.

Recently, we have been able to successfully perform electrophysiological recordings from the nerves supplying the bowel for the very first time in humans, which has enabled us to 'listen in' to the messages passing along nerves to the muscles that control the bowel. We have also mapped different classes of neurons and perform neurochemical coding to better identify different groups among the many hundreds of thousands of nerves that are contained within the bowel for the very first time using special techniques.

Research Staff

  • Director Professor Marc Gladman
  • A/Prof Natasha Nassar, Visiting Principle Research Fellow
  • Dr David Mahns, Visiting Senior Lecturer
  • Dr Michael Suen, Senior Lecturer
  • Ms Noemi Montes, Research Scientist
  • Ms Cathy Lee, Biostatistician

Publications and Presentations

Publication Details:
  1. Windsor, J., Searle, J., Hanney, R., Chapman, A., Grigg, M., Choong, P., Mackay, A., Smithers, B., Churchill, J., Carney, S., Gladman, M., et al (2015). Building a sustainable clinical academic workforce to meet the future healthcare needs of Australia and New Zealand: report from the first summit meeting. Internal Medicine Journal, 45(9), 965-971.
  2. Windsor, J., Searle, J., Garrod, T., Hanney, R., Grigg, M., Smith, J., Gladman, M. (2015). Developing an integrated training pathway for clinical academics: Notes from the first binational summit meeting. ANZ Journal of Surgery, 85(6), 398-399.
  3. Ng, K., Sivakumaran, Y., Nassar, N., Gladman, M. (2015). Fecal Incontinence: Community Prevalence and Associated Factors—A Systematic Review. Diseases of the Colon and Rectum, 58(12), 1194-1209.
  4. Ng, K., Nassar, N., Hamd, K., Nagarajah, A., Gladman, M. (2015). Prevalence of functional bowel disorders and faecal incontinence: an Australian primary care survey. Colorectal Disease, 17(2), 150-159. 

Book Chapters:
  1. Gladman, M., Williams, N. (2015). Vertical reduction rectoplasty for idiopathic megarectum. In P Ronan OConnell, Robert D. Madoff, Michael Solomon (Eds.), Operative Surgery of the Colon, Rectum and Anus, (pp. 665-672). CRC Press.

Contact details for department

Head of Department: Professor Marc Gladman

Department/Unit: Academic Colorectal Unit
Concord Hospital, 1st Floor Clinical Sciences Building, Building 20, Concord Hospital, Hospital Road
Concord NSW 2139
Telephone: (02) 9767 6928
Facsimile: (02) 9515 9610
Web: http://www.slhd.nsw.gov.au/research/
Email: m.a.gladman@sydney.edu.au