Dr Bridie Goggins

Dr Bridie Goggins
Scholarship
2016 Scholarship

What are your research interests?

  • Understanding inflammatory gastrointestinal disease
  • Understanding how we can manipulate gut disease behaviour to alter and/or prevent the course of disease
  • Novel therapeutic mechanisms to promote healing of the mucous membrane that lines cavities of the body as a treatment option for GI disease

Why did you get into research?

I got into research because I had a keen interest in medical biology and the causes and effects of disease. I found immunology and microbiology fascinating and wanted to be able to use my knowledge to explore disease and be part of the solution. I wanted to be on the ground floor when it comes to potential therapeutic intervention. I also have close friends who suffer from chronic gastrointestinal illness, which added a personal aspect and drive behind my research that it may one day be able to help them as well as many others.  

What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

The illnesses suffered by GI patients are severe and often debilitating and this is a real driving force behind my research. I would ultimately like to play a role in the development of new treatment options available to Irritable Bowel Disorder (IBD) and Gastrointestinal Disease (GI Disease) patients. Given that IBD and inflammatory GI disease are impacted by a range of factors in nature, it is hard to pinpoint one cause, which in part explains why some people respond to certain treatments and others do not.

My research aims to find common factors or pathologies within GI disease that may be targeted for treatment and have a broader impact on the wider patient community. Through my research I would also like to influence how the public views GI disease. There is an associated stigma with gut diseases and although there has definitely been progress in this area, I would like to use my research platform to educate the community with an aim to reduce this stigma. My work at HMRI Open Day with the highly popular ‘Poo Room’ has been a successful way to educate the public (particularly kids!) about our body’s digestive system and how important it really is.

This work also has the potential to impact health outcomes through early diagnosis and symptom awareness. Ultimately, my goals are to reduce the impact of GI disease and improve patient and family’s quality of life.

Biography

Dr Bridie Goggins is a postdoctoral researcher working in the Gastrointestinal Research group in the Priority Research Centre for Digestive Health and Neurogastroenterology. Her research examines inflammatory hypoxia in the gastrointestinal mucosa and the adaptive mechanisms allowing tissue and cell survival in these low oxygen environments. In particular, this work focuses on potential therapeutic targets to promote mucosal healing in the treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). 

Dr Goggins was awarded her PhD in Immunology and Microbiology from the University of Newcastle in 2019. During her PhD, Dr Goggins' work focused on the intrinsic adaptive mechanisms associated with inflammatory tissue hypoxia, namely the oxygen sensing molecule Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF)-1, and how this molecule can be pharmacologically stabilised to promote mucosal healing through its downstream signalling pathways. She examined the transcriptional, translational and functional contribution of HIF-1 mediated cell adhesion proteins, integrins, and their role in inflammatory mucosal healing. Her work aims to characterise HIF-1 mediated mucosal healing processes and how these mechanisms may be up-regulated as potential new therapeutics in the treatment of mucosal inflammatory diseases. 

Currently, Dr Goggins is continuing her research on HIF-1-mediated mechanisms of wound healing and is also involved in a number of industry projects examining potential new IBD therapies. She is also involved in establishing new veterinary surgical models for translational gastrointestinal research, and specialises in veterinary endoscopic techniques.

Future Focus

Dr Goggins would like to continue her research in the GI field and through partnerships with the John Hunter Hospital Clinical and Translational Research Program, would like to increase the translational aspect to her research through the development of new pre-clinical and surgical models. Dr Goggins would also like to extend her knowledge on inflammatory mucosal pathologies into paediatric conditions, in particular Necrotising Enterocolitis in pre-term infants. This area of research is under-represented in the GI field and with greater understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms pre-disposing pre-term infants to disease development, has a high potential for preventative intervention. This is also a highly emotive area of research given the associated illnesses and rates of death of pre-term infants.

Specialised/Technical Skills

  • Pre-clinical models of gastrointestinal disease
  • Veterinary endoscopic procedures
  • Primary culture – human GI spheroids
  • Cell culture
  • Western Blot
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Immunofluorescence

Affiliations

2016

Emlyn and Jennie Thomas Postgraduate Medical Research Scholarship
Scholarship
Description:

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is characterised by chronic, immune-mediated inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and encompasses a number of conditions including ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD). Due to the seriously debilitating nature of IBD, novel therapeutics to improve IBD patient quality of life is a significant healthcare need.

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