Vladimir “Vlado” Grubisic received his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) from Zagreb University in Croatia and his Ph.D. degree in Neurobiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he was a student of renowned neurobiologist Vladimir Parpura. He obtained his postdoctoral training at Michigan State University under the mentorship of Brian D. Gulbransen, Ph.D.

Grubisic’s research area is at the interface of gastroenterology and neuroscience, with an ongoing fascination with understanding the biology and (patho)physiology of glial cells. He developed a particular passion for enteric glia, a unique kind of glial cells residing in the intestinal wall, and their roles in gut health and disease. Grubisic discovered novel mechanisms of glial regulation of basic gut reflexes, such as motility and epithelial secretion. Recently, he investigated the role of enteric glia in the development and resolution of inflammation, how enteric glia regulates neuro-immune interactions in the gut, and glial contribution to chronic abdominal pain and persistent intestinal epithelial barrier dysfunction. The surface of the digestive tube is one of the largest areas in the human body, interacting with the environment, and the increased permeability of the gut wall, or “leaky gut,” has been implicated in many intestinal and extra-intestinal disorders.

The main research focus of the Grubisic laboratory is to understand the role of enteric glia in the gut epithelial barrier function and the epithelial signal transduction. Such efforts are expected to reveal mechanistic underpinnings of the gut-brain axis and open new ways for the discovery of novel and specific therapeutics to treat gastrointestinal and systemic disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease and metabolic, neurodegenerative, and neurodevelopmental diseases.

Recent Projects and Research

  • 2019–2021 “The role of entero-glial adenosine A2B receptors in functional recovery after colitis,” Crohn's & Colitis Foundation (CCF) Research Fellowship Award
  • 2014–2015 “The second brain in Rett and Pitt-Hopkins syndromes,” Civitan Emerging Scholar Award

Selected Publications

  • Grubišić V. and Gulbransen B. D. Astrocyte Cell Surface Antigen 2 and Other Potential Cell Surface Markers of Enteric glia in the Mouse Colon. ASN Neuro. 2022; 14: 17590914221083203.
  • Chow A. K., Grubišić V., and Gulbransen B. D. Enteric glia regulate lymphocyte activation via autophagy-mediated MHC-II expression. Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2021;12(4):1215–1237.
  • Grubišić V., McClain J. L., Fried D. E., Grants I., Rajasekhar P., Csizmadia E., Ajijola O. A., Watson R. E., Poole D. P., Robson S. C., Christofi F. L., Gulbransen B. D. Enteric glia modulate macrophage phenotype and visceral sensitivity following inflammation. Cell Rep. 2020; 32(10): 108100.
  • Grubišić V. and Gulbransen B. D. Enteric glial activity regulates secretomotor function in the mouse colon but does not acutely affect gut permeability. J. Physiol. 2017; 595(11): 3409–3424.
  • Grubišić V. and Parpura V. Two modes of enteric gliotransmission differentially affect gut physiology. Glia. 2017; 65(5): 699–711.
  • Grubišić V., Kennedy A. J., Sweatt J. D., Parpura V. Pitt-Hopkins mouse model has altered particular gastrointestinal transits in vivo. Autism Res. 2015; 8(5): 629–33.
  • McClain J. L., Grubišić V., Fried D., Gomez-Suarez R. A., Leinninger G. M., Sévigny J., Parpura V., Gulbransen B. D. Ca2+ responses in enteric glia are mediated by connexin-43 hemichannels and modulate colonic transit in mice. Gastroenterology. 2014; 146 (2): 497–507. Epub 2013.

* Authors share co-first authorship

View a Complete List of Published Work

Professional Honors and Awards

  • 2019 The American Neurogastroenterology and Motility Society (ANMS) Young Investigator
  • 2019 The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation's Research Fellowship Award
  • 2018 Little Brain Big Brain (LBBB) young investigator meeting, Kleve, Germany
  • 2018 Early career investigator and an abstract award from the American Gastroenterological Association Institute
  • 2017 Outstanding oral presentation at the Michigan Physiological Society meeting, Alma, MI, USA
  • 2017 Research Recognition Award from the APS Central Nervous System Section
  • 2017 The Sanofi travel award from the American Society for Neurochemistry (ASN)
  • 2016 Marian Kies Memorial Award from the ASN
  • 2014 Civitan Emerging Scholar Award, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), USA
  • 2014 Department of Neurobiology Outstanding Student Award, UAB, USA
  • 2005 Rector's Award for a student paper, University of Zagreb, Croatia
  • 2002 Dean's Award for Outstanding First-year Student, University of Zagreb School of Medicine, Croatia

Courses Taught at New York Tech

  • PPOM 1

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