Nigel Bunnett became Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology in July 2015. Nigel was educated in England, receiving a B.Sc. in Animal Physiology and Nutrition from the University of Leeds, and a Ph.D. from the Institute of Animal Physiology (Babraham Institute), the University of Cambridge. Nigel spent the next 30 years of his career on the West Coast of the United States, as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles, and then a junior faculty member at the University of Washington, Seattle. In 1987, he joined the University of California, San Francisco, and he remained there for almost 25 years, becoming Professor of Surgery and Physiology, Vice Chair of Surgery, and Director of the UCSF Center for the Neurobiology of Digestive Diseases. Nigel relocated to Monash University, Melbourne in 2011, where he was appointed as a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Australia Fellow, Professor of Pharmacology and Medicine, and Deputy Director of the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences. In 2016 Nigel returned to the USA to Columbia University, where he is Professor of Surgery and Pharmacology, Vice Chair of Surgery, and holds the Carrus Professorship of Surgical Sciences.
Nigel’s research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of pain, itch, and neurogenic inflammation. These are normal protective processes but when dysregulated and chronic underlie diseases of global relevance. He is particularly recognized for his work on defining the functions and regulation of G protein-coupled receptors and transient receptor potential ion channels, two major classes of cell-surface proteins that are essential for the transmission of pain, itch and neurogenic inflammation. His laboratory studies receptors for neuropeptides, proteases, and bile acids that regulate multiple pathophysiological processes in the gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, and liver, many of which are also controlled by transient receptor potential ion channels. Nigel’s work is clinically informed and translationally relevant. His appointments in basic science and clinical departments have facilitated studies of the mechanisms of digestive disease, andin parptnership with the pharmaceutical industry he is seeking to develop treatments for diseases that are major causes of human suffering.
Nigel’s work has been reported in approximately 350 research papers, reviews, and chapters and has been supported by the funded by the NHMRC, the Australia Research Council, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). His contributions have been recognized by awards including an Australia Fellowship, an NIH MERIT Award, the Novartis Neurogastroenterology Award, the Jansen Award for Basic Research in Gastroenterology, and the Victor Mutt Award for Research in Regulatory Peptides. Throughout his career Nigel has been committed to medical, graduate, and undergraduate education, and he has received numerous awards in recognition of his dedication to teaching. Nigel has served on editorial boards of the American Journal of Physiology, Journal of Biological Chemistry, British Journal of Pharmacology, and Regulatory Peptides. He was a member of the Clinical and Integrative Gastrointestinal Pathobiology NIH Study Section and has served on NHMRC Grant Review and Fellowship Panels.