PROF John Furness

PROF John Furness


  • Digestive Physiology and Nutrition. Neuroscience, particularly in relation to the autonomic nervous system, sensory mechanisms and pain



  • Professor John B Furness is a full time research scientist at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and the Departments of Anatomy and Neuroscience and Agriculture and Food at the University of Melbourne.

    Major current work;
    • The effects of nutrients and food components on gut health in human and in production animals.
    • Enteroendocrine cells: organisation, innervation and roles.
    • The roles, therapeutic potential and pharmacology of the hormone ghrelin and compounds that act on ghrelin receptors.
    • Characterisation of drugs and identification of targets for the treatment of digestive disorders.
    • The gastrointestinal consequences of Parkinson's Disease.
    • The cellular mechanisms underlying neuropathies of the autonomic nervous system and of visceral afferent neurons.
    • Autonomic consequences of spinal cord injury.
    He is known for his work in unravelling the intrinsic circuits in the digestive tract (the enteric nervous system), for the chemical coding hypothesis and for the discovery and identification of sensory neurons intrinsic to the digestive tract. He is the leader of the Autonomic Spinal Cord Injury Program.

    Honours and Awards include:
    Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, 1989
    Fellow, Academy of Science of Bologna (L'accademia delle scienze dell'istituto di Bologna), the second oldest scientific academy in existence, 2005
    Centenary Medal, Govt of Australia, 2003
    Gold Medal, L'accademia delle scienze dell'istituto di Bologna, for service to scientific development in Italy, June 2008
    Distinguished Visiting Research Scientist of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science February 2010


Selected publications


Investigator on

Additional Grant Information



Education and training

  • PhD, University of Melbourne
  • MSc, University of Melbourne
  • FAA,

Awards and honors

  • Fellowship of the American Gastroenterological Association, 2008
  • Gold Medal, L'accademia delle scienze dell'istituto di Bologna, for service to scientific development in Italy, 2008
  • Honorary Life membership, Australian Neuroscience Society, 2007
  • Walsh Memorial Lecture, University of California, Los Angeles, 2004
  • Centenary Medal, Australian Government, 2003
  • Distinguished Achievement Award, Australian Neuroscience Society, 2003
  • American Physiological Society, Davenport Medal, 1997
  • Grossman Lecture, Cambridge UK; Grossman Foundation, 1995
  • Australian Physiological and Pharmacological Society, 1995
  • Distinguished Research Prize, Gastroenterological Society of Australia, 1994
  • Janssen Research Award, Janssen Foundation, 1993
  • Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, 1989
  • Fulbright Fellowship, Fulbright Foundation, 1979
  • Beit Memorial Fellowship, Royal Society of London, 1971



Available for supervision

  • Y