Professor Kulmira Nurgali is a research and teaching academic with an internationally-recognised prominence in the field of Neurogastroenterology and Enteric Neuroscience.

She is the Head of Enteric Neuropathy Laboratory at the Centre for Health, Research and Education, Sunshine Hospital, Melbourne, Australia and Director of the Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine Program at the Australian Institute for Musculoskeletal Science.

Prof Nurgali’s research is focused on the gut-brain axis and enteric neuropathy associated with inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal cancer, methamphetamine-induced depression, and the gastrointestinal side effects of chemotherapy.  Her research significantly contributes to understanding of mechanisms underlying these problems and proposes novel therapies.

Being a medical graduate, she focuses on pre-clinical studies that have translational value and direct impact on patient’s life and outcomes of the treatment. Prof Nurgali’s research philosophy is to translate scientific discoveries of basic science research (bench) into novel therapies for human disease (bedside). Her research is original and internationally valued as evidenced by 85 presentations including 35 invited speaker/oral presentations at the National and International meetings.

Prof Nurgali’s research program has been funded by several NHMRC grants, a very prestigious NHMRC Peter Doherty Fellowship and a variety of other external grants. She served as an assessor for NHMRC and several international funding bodies including Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), Belgium Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), UK Medical Research Council, Worldwide Cancer Research.

Her research program attracted a number of international visiting scientists from Austria, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, and France, working on collaborative research projects.

Further information regarding Professor Nurgali’s research activity and publications can be found via ORCID ID: 0000-0002-2597-6929.

Teaching responsibilities

  • Advanced Neurosciences
  • Research Methods
  • Research Project
  • Pathophysiology

Unit coordination

  • Advanced Neurosciences

Postgraduate research students and fellows


  • Supervised 77 research students: PhD (18, 9 to completion), MSc (6, 4 to completion), honours (34, First Class Honours 21/28) and 3rd year research project (19)
  • Supervised 9 international research students and numerous visiting academics
  • Mentored 11 early career researchers resulting in successful NHMRC grants, Fellowships, prestigious jobs and awards, internal grants, and promotions.

Professional memberships

  • Australian Neuroscience Society (ANS)
  • International Society of Autonomic Neuroscience (ISAN)
  • Australasian Neurogastroenterology and Motility Association (ANGMA)
  • Australasian Institute of Musculoskeletal Sciences, Regenerative Medicine & Stem Cell Program Director.

Areas of expertise

  • Development of novel therapies for the treatment of Enteric Neuropathy
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Enteric Nervous System
  • Gastrointestinal side effects of chemotherapy
  • Gut-brain axis

Contact details

(03) 8395 8223
(03) 9919 2465


Professor Nurgali’s research work resulted in >130 publications including 98 papers in refereed journals, 30 refereed abstracts, 6 book chapters, 1 e-book and 2 patents. 

These include research papers in the Nature Medicine, Journal of Physiology, American Journal of Physiology, British Journal of Pharmacology, Stem Cell Research & Therapy, Journal of Neurochemistry, Neurotherapeutics, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and review papers in Stem Cells and Translational Medicine, Trends in Molecular Medicine and Current Medicinal Chemistry. She is the first or last author in 78% of papers.

Professor Nurgali’s publications have been collectively cited >4230 times, h-index 35, i10-index 75 (Google Scholar).

Select recent journal articles

  • Craig CF, Filippone RT, Stavely R, Bornstein JC, Apostolopoulos V, Nurgali K (2022) Neuroinflammation as an etiological trigger for depression comorbid with inflammatory bowel disease. Journal of Neuroinflammation, 19(1), 4.
  • Robinson AM, Stavely R, Miller S, Eri R, Nurgali K (2022) Mesenchymal stem cell treatment for enteric neuropathy in the Winnie mouse model of spontaneous chronic colitis. Cell and Tissue Research389(1), 41–70.
  • Was H, Borkowska A, Bagues A, Tu L, Liu J, Lu Z, Rudd JA, Nurgali K, Abalo R (2022) Mechanisms of Chemotherapy-Induced Neurotoxicity. Frontiers in Pharmacology13, 750507.
  • Stavely R, Rahman AA, Sahakian L, Prakash MD, Robinson AM, Hassanzadeganroudsari M, Filippone RT, Fraser S, Eri R, Bornstein JC, Apostolopoulos V, Nurgali K (2022) Divergent Adaptations in Autonomic Nerve Activity and Neuroimmune Signaling Associated With the Severity of Inflammation in Chronic Colitis. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, izac060. Advance online publication.
  • Al Saedi A, Sharma S, Bani Hassan E, Chen L, Ghasem-Zadeh A, Hassanzadeganroudsari M, Gooi JH, Stavely R, Eri R, Miao D, Nurgali K, Duque G (2022) Characterization of skeletal phenotype and associated mechanisms with chronic intestinal inflammation in the Winnie mouse model of spontaneous chronic colitis. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. 28(2):259-272.
  • Rahman AA, Stojanovska V, Pilowsky P, Nurgali K (2021) Platinum accumulation in the brain and alteration in the central regulation of cardiovascular and respiratory functions in oxaliplatin-treated rats. Pflugers Archiv : European Journal of Physiology, 473(1), 107–120.
  • Stavely R, Nurgali K (2020) The emerging antioxidant paradigm of mesenchymal stem cell therapy. Stem Cells Translational Medicine, 9(9), 985–1006. 
  • Sahakian L, Filippone R, Stavely R, Robinson AM, Yan X, Abalo R, Eri R, Bornstein JC, Kelley MR, Nurgali K (2020) Inhibition of APE1/Ref-1 redox signaling alleviates intestinal dysfunction and damage to myenteric neurons in a mouse model of spontaneous chronic colitis. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. 27(3):388-406.
  • Stavely R, Abalo R, Nurgali K (2020) Targeting Enteric Neurons and Plexitis for the Management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Current Drug Targets. 21(14):1428-1439.
  • Filippone R, Sahakian L, Apostolopoulos V, Nurgali K (2019) Eosinophils in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. 25(7):1140-1151.
  • Filippone R, Robinson A, Stavely R, Apostolopoulos V, Nurgali K (2018) Targeting eotaxin-1 and CCR3 receptor alleviates enteric neuropathy and colonic dysfunction in TNBS-induced colitis in guinea-pigs. Neurogastroenterology and Motility. 30(11):e13391.
  • McQuade R, Stojanovska V, Stavely R, Timpani C, Peterson AC, Abalo R, Bornstein JC, Rybalka E, Nurgali K (2018) Oxaliplatin-induced enteric neuronal loss and gastrointestinal dysfunction is prevented by co-treatment with BGP-15. British Journal of Pharmacology 175(4):656-677. 
  • Kuol N, Stojanovska L, Apostolopoulos V, Nurgali K (2018) Role of the nervous system in tumor angiogenesis. Cancer Microenvironment 11(1):1-11.
  • Kuol N, Stojanovska L, Apostolopoulos V, Nurgali K (2018) Crosstalk between cancer and the neuro-immune system.  Journal of Neuroimmmunology. 315:15-23
  • Stanley D, Mason LJ, Mackin KE, Srikhanta YN, Lyras D, Prakash MD, Nurgali K, Venegas A, Hill MD, Moore RJ, Wong CHY (2016) Translocation and dissemination of commensal bacteria as a source of infection after stroke. Nature Medicine 22(11):1277-1284.
  • McQuade R, Carbone S, Stojanovska V, Rahman A, Gwynne RM, Robinson AM, Goodman CA, Bornstein JC, Nurgali K (2016) Role of oxidative stress in oxaliplatin-induced colonic dysmotility and enteric neuropathy in mice. British Journal of Pharmacology 173(24):3502-3521.
  • McQuade R, Stojanovska V, Donald E, Abalo R, Bornstein JC, Nurgali K (2016) Gastrointestinal dysfunction and enteric neurotoxicity following treatment with anti-cancer chemotherapeutic agent 5-Fluorouracil. Neurogastroenterology & Motility 28(12):1861–75. Selected for editorial commentaries: Neurogastroenterol Motil (2016) 28(12): 1759–64. Selected for journal cover.

Refereed Journal Articles

  • McQuade R, Carbone S, Stojanovska V, Jovanovska V, Rahman A, Senior P, Bornstein JC, Nurgali K (2016) Role of oxidative stress in oxaliplatin-induced colonic dysmotility and enteric neuropathy in mice. British J of Pharmacology 173:3502-21. The 1st report on oxidative stress as a mechanism of oxaliplatin-induced enteric neuropathy.
  • Stanley D, Mason LJ, Mackin KE, Srikhanta YN, Lyras D, Prakash MD, Nurgali K, Venegas A, Hill MD, Moore RJ, Wong CHY (2016) Evidence for translocation and dissemination of commensal bacteria as a source of infection after stroke.  Nature Medicine 22(11):1277-84. The 1st evidence that post-stroke infection is caused by translocated gut bacteria.
  • Carbone SE, Jovanovka V, Brookes SJH, Nurgali K (2016) Electrophysiological and morphological changes in colonic myenteric neurons from chemotherapy-treated patients. Neurogastroenterology & Motility 28:975-84. The 1st electrophysiological recording from human enteric neurons in pathology.
  • Robinson AM, Gondalia SV, Karpe AV, Eri R, Beale DG, Morrison PD, Palombo EA, Nurgali K (2016) Fecal microbiota and metabolome in a mouse model of spontaneous chronic colitis: relevance to human Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases 22:2767-87. Substantiates that Winnie model closely mimics human IBD.
  • Robinson AM, Sakkal S, Park A, Jovanovska V, Payne N, Carbone SE, Bornstein JC, Bernard C, Boyd R, Nurgali K (2014) Mesenchymal stem cells and conditioned medium avert enteric neuropathy and colon dysfunction in guinea-pig TNBS-colitis. Am Journal of Physiology. 307(11):G1115-29. The 1st study on the efficacy of mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of inflammation-induced enteric neuropathy.

Conference presentations

Dr Nurgali has given 42 presentations (oral and poster) at National and International Conferences. Select presentations include:

Kulmira, N (2013) "Enteric nervous system: a target for novel therapies", presented at the "Australian Neuroscience Society Conference", Melbourne.

Kulmira, N (2012) Panel Chair and Symposium organiser: "Enteric neuropathologies: searching for the sources of gastrointestinal disorders", presented at the "Australian Neuroscience Society Conference", Auckland, New Zealand.

Kulmira, N (2009) "Axonal damage and plasticity following intestinal inflammation", presented at the "XIth Little Brain - Big Satellite Meeting", Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA.

Kulmira, N (2008) "Neuron Sub-type Specific Effects of Inflammation and their implications", presented at the "Digestive Disease Week Conference", San Diego, California, USA.

Kulmira, N. (2007) "Effects of intestinal inflammation on morphologically identified myenteric neurons", presented at the "International Society of Autonomic Neuroscience Conference", Kyoto, Japan.

Research grants

2019-21: NHMRC (CIC): $871,416

2012-14: NHMRC (CIA): $333,510

2009-11: NHMRC (CIA): $405,000

2006-08: NHMRC (CIB): $466,500

2006-09: NHMRC Fellowship: $350,000

2012-2021: 6 Near-miss NHMRC grants

2021: Equipment grant: $423,355

2021: Equipment grant: $270,000

2016: Equipment grant: $470,888