University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Department of Neurological Sciences

Bio for Gary Mawe, Ph.D.
Gary Mawe, Ph.D.

Gary Mawe, Ph.D.

Department of Neurological Sciences,
Pharmacology, and Medicine, Div.
Gastroentrology and Hepatology

Contact Information
Office Location:
Department of Neurological Sciences, University of Vermont, Given D403, Burlington, VT




Bachelor of Science with Distinction, in Biology, June, 1978, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
Doctor of Philosophy in Anatomy, June, 1984, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Postdoctoral Fellow, May 1984 - June 1988, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons, New York, NY

Academic Interests

My primary teaching responsibility is the co-direction and participation in the lecture and laboratory components of the human gross anatomy course taken by the students in the Doctoral Phsyical Therapy Program. I also give the GI lectures in the VIC Human Structure and Function course, and I run a biannual Comparative Neurobiology course for graduate students.

Research Interests

My research focuses on the neurobiology of GI function in health and disease states and uses a variety of experimental approaches including electrophysiology, calcium imaging, immunocytochemistry and molecular biology. Three different questions are under investigation using mice guinea pigs and human tissue.

Gallbladder smooth muscle function
. The objectives of our ongoing research are to: (1) elucidate the cellular and ionic mechanisms by which gallbladder smooth muscle contractility is disrupted in gallstone disease; (2) determine the interrelation ship between inflammation and smooth muscle dysfunction in gallstone disease; and (3) explore the utility and mechanisms of hydrophilic bile salts in the protection of gallbladder function by preventing or reversing these disruptions.

Inflammation-induced neuroplasticity in the colon.
Discoveries in gut neurobiology over the past two decades have provided us with a solid understanding of the components that make up gut reflex circuits, and how these neurons function under normal physiological conditions. We are now examining what changes occur in various elements of the reflex circuits and the mechanisms responsible for these changes.  We are also investigating how these changes influence propulsive motility in the colon.

Mucosal serotonin signaling in the colon.
We typically think of serotonin as a neurotransmitter in the brain, but most of the body’s serotonin is actually located in the gastrointestinal tract, and this is where serotonin was initially discovered. Studies conducted in our laboratory and others have demonstrated that various aspects of mucosal serotonin signaling are altered in humans with inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome, as well as animal models of intestinal inflammation.  Current studies in our laboratory are directed towards understanding how these changes occur and whether they contribute to altered gut function and sensation.  We are also investigating mucosal serotonin receptors as possible targets for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.

Academic Appointments

Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Vermont, 1999-2012
Professor of Pharmacology, University of Vermont, 1999-present
Professor of Medicine, Gastroenterology Division , University of Vermont, 1999-present
Associate Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Vermont, 1994-1999
Adjunct Associate Professor of Pharmacology, University of Vermont, 1995-1999
Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine, Gastroenterology Division , University of Vermont, 1996-1999
Adjunct Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Calgary, 2001-present
Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Vermont; 1988 -1994.
Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences, The University of Vermont, 2012-present.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Neurogastroenterology, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Columbia Universityy, P&S, New York, NY; 1984-1988.
Graduate Research Fellow, Department of Surgery, Division of Neurosurgery, Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 1979-1980
Graduate Teaching Associate, Department of Anatomy, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, 1980-1982
Graduate Research Associate, Department of Anatomy, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, 1982-1984

Awards and Honors

Fellow, American College of Gastroenterology, 2006
University Scholar, The University of Vermont Graduate College, 2006
Killam Memorial Lecture, Montreal Nuerological Institute, McGill  University, 2006
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Foundation Award in Excellence, 1998.
Basmajian Award of the American Association of Anatomists, 1997.
Janssen Award for Basic Research in Gastrointestinal Motility, 1996.
Finalist for the University of Vermont Kroepsch-Maurice Award for Teaching Excellence, 1995.
Outstanding Professor Award, Physical Therapy Class of 1992, The University of Vermont, May, 1992.
Heritage Foundation of Alberta Special Lecturer, College of Medicine, University of Calgary, 1992 and 1996.
NIH FIRST Award, 1988-1993.
FASEB Summer Conference Travel Awards 1985, 1987.
First Place and Best of Show, Men's Cooking, 1983 Ohio State Fair.
College of Medicine Graduate Student Research Award, 1983, The Ohio State University.
Neuroscience Research Laboratory Predoctoral Fellowship Award, The Ohio State University, 1983.
Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Honor Society, 1982.
Sigma Xi Undergraduate Honor Society, 1977.
Bachelor of Science, with Distinction, The Pennsylvania State University, 1978


Hoffman, J.M., K. Tyler, S.J. MacEachern, O.B. Balemba, A.C. Johnson, E.M. Brooks, H. Zhao, G.M. Swain, P.L. Moses, J.J. Galligan, K.A. Sharkey, B. Greenwood-Van Meerveld and G.M. Mawe. (2012) Activation of colonic mucosal 5-HT4 receptors enhances propulsive motility and inhibits visceral hypersensitivity.  Gastroenterology 142:844-854.

B.D. Gulbransen, M. Bashashati, S.A. Hirota, J.A. Roberts, P.L. Beck, J.A. MacDonald, D.A. Muruve, D.M. McKay, G.M. Mawe, R.J. Thompson, and K.A. Sharkey (2012) Activation of neuronal P2X7 receptor-Pannexin-1 mediates death of enteric neurons during colitis Nature Medicine 18: 600-604.

Hons, I.M., M.A. Storr, K. Mackie, B. Lutz, Q.J. Pittman, G.M. Mawe and K.A. Sharkey. (2012) Plasticity of mouse enteric synapses mediated though retrograde endocannabinoid and purinergic signalling. Neurogastroenterology and Motility 24:e113-24.

Hoffman, J.M., N.D. McKnight, K.A. Sharkey, G.M. Mawe. (2011) The relationship between inflammation-induced neuronal excitability and disrupted motor activity in the guinea pig distal colon. Neurogastroenterology and Motility 23: 673-682.

Balemba, O.B., Y. Bhattarai, C. Stenkamp-Strahm, M.S.B. Lesakit and G.M. Mawe. (2010) The traditional anti-diarrheal remedy, Garcinia buchananii stem bark extract, inhibits propulsive motility and fast synaptic potentials in the guinea pig distal colon. Neurogastroenterology and Motility 22:1332-1339.

To view more of Dr. Mawe's publications, please visit PubMed. Search for G* Mawe for a full list of publications.