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




1978: Bachelor of Science with Distinction, Biology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
1984: Ph.D., Anatomy, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
1984-1988: Postdoctoral Fellow, 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 Physical 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

2012-Present: Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences, University of Vermont College of Medicine
1999-2012: Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Vermont
1999-Present: Professor of Pharmacology, University of Vermont
1999-Present: Professor of Medicine, Gastroenterology Division , University of Vermont College of Medicine
1994-1999: Associate Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Vermont College of Medicine
1995-1999: Adjunct Associate Professor of Pharmacology, University of Vermont
1996-1999: Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine, Gastroenterology Division, University of Vermont
2001-Present: Adjunct Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Calgary
1988-1994: Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Vermont
2001-Present: Adjunct Professor of Physiology & Biophysics, University of Calgary

Awards and Honors

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


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.