Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Kurahashi Lab

Project Details

Under the guidance of Dr. Kurahashi, a distinguished physician-scientist in the Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology who joined the University of Iowa in 2021, we invite passionate undergraduates to delve into groundbreaking Gastroenterology research. Our team is committed to advancing our understanding of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, specifically focusing on its muscle layer and mucosa. Our ultimate aim is to translate our foundational scientific discoveries into clinical studies, paving the way for innovative treatments for GI diseases.

Muscle Layer Project: We seek to unravel the electrophysiological molecular mechanisms governing the contraction and relaxation of GI smooth muscle layers in both physiological and pathophysiological contexts. This involves examining the electrical dynamics that regulate GI smooth muscle layers. Our methodologies encompass the use of gene-edited mice, human tissue, analyzed through the Nikon AX-R high-speed confocal laser-point-scanning system and organ bath contractile experiments.

Mucosa Project: Dr. Kurahashi has identified a novel cell population in the GI subepithelial niche, termed the subepithelial platelet-derived growth factor receptor α+ cells (SPAC). Our endeavor is to elucidate the physiological and pathophysiological roles of SPAC in the mouse and human colon. This includes the use of various gene-edited mice and mouse disease models.

What This Research Training Offers:

  • Acquire proficiency in essential lab techniques: mouse colony maintenance, mouse handling, molecular biology, physiology, electrophysiology, and molecular imaging.
  • Foster organizational and communication skills, collaborating with a diverse team.
  • Receive mentorship in experimental design and execution.
  • Enjoy a personalized experience tailored to your capability and zeal, setting a strong foundation for future scientific pursuits and advanced education.


  • A pronounced interest in Gastroenterology research.
  • Independence, meticulous attention to detail, robust organizational prowess, and a disciplined approach to maintaining records.

Time Commitment

Minimum of 10 hours weekly


Academic Credit (1-4 Semester Hours), Pay, To be determined

Start Date



Ongoing, potential to be a continuous position

How to Apply

To express your interest, please email your CV/resume to masaaki-kurahashi@uiowa.edu. Include a brief statement detailing your enthusiasm for our lab and Gastroenterology research, and provide a list of relevant courses and respective grades.