McMaster University

McMaster University


Dr. Elyanne Ratcliffe

Associate Professor

Phone: 905-521-2100 x73455
Fax: 905-521-2655

Additional links:

Research Theme


  • Primary Research: Gastroenterology
  • Secondary Research: Developmental Biology

Key Words

Gastrointestinal Motility, Enteric Nervous System, Axon Guidance, Congenital Anomalies.

Research Program Overview

Main Research Areas:  Investigations of normal and abnormal development of the extrinsic innervation of the gut

Specific Focus:  My research is focused on determining how, during ontogeny, vagal and sacral nerves find their targets in the bowel and on examining whether developmental abnormalities of this innervation contribute to the pathogenesis of disorders of gastrointestinal motility.

Methodologies:  These studies employ a variety of techniques in molecular biology, histology and tissue culture. Specific techniques include neuronal tracing, primary culture of tissue explants and quantitative image analysis.

Current Projects

  • Title:  Roles of guidance molecules in the innervation of the developing gut by extrinsic nerves
  • Objective:  To determine the role of axons guidance molecules in guiding extrinsic axons to the gut and targets within it.


  • Gershon MD, Ratcliffe EM.  (2004) Developmental Biology of the Enteric Nervous System:  Pathogenesis of Hirschsprung’s Disease and other Congenital Dysmotilities.  Semin Pediatr Surg 13(4):  224-35.
  • Ratcliffe EM et al.  (2006) Netrin/DCC- mediated attraction of vagal sensory axons to the fetal mouse gut.   J Comp Neurol 498:  567-580.
  • Ratcliffe EM et al.  (2008) Laminin terminates the netrin/DCC mediated attraction of vagal sensory axons.  Dev Neurobiol 68: 960-971.

Secondary Contact

Andrea Brydges
Phone: 905-521-2100 x 73455
Title: Medical Secretary

Research Staff

Rajka Borojevic
Phone: 905-521-2100 x
Title: Research Assistant

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Level Double-A conformance, W3C WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0