The Neurogastroenterology and Motility Research Group is made up of senior researchers, postdoctoral researchers and fellows from the Hospital de Mataró. It has formed part of the Research Consortium Ciberehd (Spanish Ministry of Science) since 2007 (CB06/04/1087).

The goal of the group is to study the physiology of gastrointestinal motility and the pathophysiology of diseases associated with alterations of gastrointestinal motility, which are prevalent diseases with a high impact on health and quality of life of the population. The group combines basic and clinical researchers organized around a General Hospital and the Department of Physiology at the UAB and translates its research activities into clinical practice (Clinical Guidelines and Position Statements). The group has been recognized and funded by the Agency Gestió d'Ajuts Universitaris i de Recerca and CIBEREHD (CIBERehd CB06/04/1087) Grupo de Investigación para el estudio de la motilidad intestinal, 2009 SGR708 / 2014 SGR789 / 2017 SGR772, AGAUR, of the Government of Catalonia.

Members of the Group

Postdoctoral Researchers

Predoctoral Researchers


Support and Project Managers

Research lines

Research line 1

1. Oropharyngeal dysphagia, pathophysiology and new treatments

PIs: Pere Clavé / Omar Ortega

Oropharyngeal dysphagia (OD) is a common swallowing disorder that affects > 50% of older hospitalized patients and those who have suffered stroke or other neurological illnesses. OD causes severe nutritional and respiratory complications. Despite this, OD is underestimated and little diagnosed, there is currently no specific pharmacological treatment because the potential therapeutic targets are unknown. Our objective is to better understand its pathophysiology, specially the brain swallowing network, in order to develop neurohabilitation strategies with pharmacological stimulation, electrical intrapharyngeal or transcutaneous stimulation, transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and electrical transcranial stimulation (tDCS) to move from compensation to the recovery of swallowing function.

2. Oropharyngeal dysphagia, complications and compensatory intervention

PI: Pere Clavé / Omar Ortega

OD can cause 2 groups of severe complications with high impact on the health and quality of life of patients: a) If there is impaired efficacy of swallow, the patient will present malnutrition and/or dehydration; up to 50% of institutionalized elderly people are poorly nourished; b) If there is impaired safety of swallow tracheobronchial aspiration occurs, this can cause pneumonia in 50% of cases with an associated mortality of 50%. Our main aim is to study the risk factors for these complications and to develop protocols to reduce their incidence by using minimal-massive strategies based on compensation (fluid and diet adaptation, nutritional supplementation and oral hygiene). In addition, we aim to characterize in a rheological and textural way these kinds of interventions and to perform basic studies on rheology and food texture.

3. Colorectal motility

The general objective of this research line is to increase the understanding of the pathophysiology of constipation and faecal incontinence (FI). Specifically this involves the study of prevalence, risk factors, physiopathology and impact on quality of life of constipation in the elderly in Catalonia according to their frailty; and to study the impact of FI onn quality of life of individuals and finding gender differences, and evaluating the impact of several treatments for FI on physiology and cortical plasticity.

4. Gastro-oesophageal Motility

PI: Pere Clavé / Silvia Carrion

The aim of this research line is to better know oesophageal and gastro-intestinal and vesical motility in order to discover its relation to appetite control in different population groups such as the robust and frail elderly, obese individuals and obese individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery.  Specifically this focusses on understanding if there are alterations in gastrointestinal motility or the neuro-hormonal system which regulates appetite and sating, studying the alterations in gastrointestinal motility and neuro-hormonal appetite control in obese individuals, studying the modifications brought about in gastro-intestinal motility by restrictive bariatric surgery in obese individuals and the associated hormone alterations.

5. Basic studies

PI: Pere Clavé / Noemí Tomsen

The aim is to describe the basic process involved in all the gastrointestinal disorders studied in our lab, focused on: In vitro gastrointestinal motility studies using organ bath to establish the motility alterations at the neurotransmission/muscular levels, which occur at different disease stages and as a result of interactions with immune cells, and to evaluate new therapeutic targets; Localization and quantification of TRP and ASIC receptors in human oropharynx samples, using RT-qPCR, immunohistochemistry and Western Blot. The aim is to develop active treatments to rehabilitate the swallowing function; Quantification SP and CGRP in blood and saliva using ELISA in order to describe peripheral biomarkers of pharyngeal sensory impairment and response capacity to neurostimulation treatments.

Active Projects

Efecto subagudo de la estimulación sensorial farmacológica de la orofaringe mediante agonistas de los receptores TRP en la neurofisiología de la deglución en ancianos con disfagia orofaríngea

PI: Pere Clavé / Omar Ortega
Funding agency: Instituto de Salud Carlos III
Agency code: PI18/00241
Start date:  2018
End date: 2022

Treatment of post-stroke oropharyngeal dysphagia with paired stimulation through peripheral TRVP1 agonists and non-invasive brain stimulation

PI: Pere Clavé / Omar Ortega
Funding agency: Instituto de Salud Carlos III
Agency code: ICI20/00117
Start date: 2020
End date:  2024

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