The Comparative Gastroenterology Lab, December 2021

Led by Drs. Anthony Blikslager, Amanda Ziegler and Amy Stewart, The Comparative Gastroenterology Lab aims to study translational gastrointestinal health using large animal models, primarily pigs. The Lab is USDA and NIH funded to study intensively the roles of nutritional inputs in the development of a healthy and disease-resistant intestinal microbiome, enteric nervous system, and epithelial barrier. Our ultimate objective is to develop clinical interventions to aid in restoring the mucosal barrier in patients suffering from intestinal injury.

The Comparative Gastroenterology Lab is a member of the Comparative Medicine Institute and the Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and Disease, an NIH-funded Center linking GI researchers at UNC, Duke and NC State, and houses the CGIBD Large Animal Models Core.

Education & Training Opportunities

The Comparative Gastroenterology Lab offers graduate training through the Comparative Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, a multidisciplinary graduate program with faculty who are employing state-of-the-art techniques to address a number of interesting scientific problems in the basic and applied biomedical sciences. The Comparative Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program is offered through the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University and confers Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees.

The laboratory also participates in NC State’s Comparative Medicine and Translational Research Training Program, and UNC’s Gastroenterology Basic Science Research Training Program which train postdoctoral research scholars.

In addition, the laboratory accepts high school, undergraduate and veterinary student scholars, Undergraduate applicants can apply for funded summer research opportunities through the Office of Undergraduate Research or the CMI SIRI program.


Three-dimensional imaging of the network of GFAP-positive enteric glial cells,

a major component of the enteric nervous system, within the pig small intestinal wall.