Professor Lesley Anne Houghton

Professor Lesley Anne Houghton


She graduated with a special honours degree in Biochemistry and Physiology at the University of Sheffield, and following a period of research at the University of Adelaide, Australia gained a PhD at the University of Sheffield.

Subsequently she worked at the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester, before accepting a professorial position at the Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, U.S.A. in 2010. She returned to the U.K. in 2016, after accepting a Chair in Neurogastroenterology at the University of Leeds. She also currently holds the positions of Adjunct Professor of Medicine, College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, USA (2016-present) and Honorary Professor of Neurogastroenterology, University of Manchester (2011-present).

She is a Fellow of the American Gastroenterological Association, American College of Gastroenterology, Royal Society of Biology and the Rome Foundation. At a national level, she has served as Chairperson of the Neurogastroenterology and Motility Section of the British Society of Gastroenterology and sat on the editorial board of the peer review journal ‘Gut’. Internationally, she has served on both the Rome III Working Team to develop criteria for ‘Functional Bowel Disorders’ (2006) and Rome IV Working Teams ‘Fundamentals of Neurogastroenterology: Physiology/Motility-Sensation’ and ‘Age, gender and women’s health and the patient’ (2016). She has authored over 120 original papers, reviews and book chapters.


  • Chair of Neurogastroenterology

Research interests

Her research focuses on the aetiology, pathophysiology and genetics of functional gastrointestinal disorders, particularly irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional constipation, along with role played by gastrointestinal dysfunction in non-gastrointestinal diseases, such as respiratory, rheumatological and neurological diseases. I also have interests in gut dysfunction in inflammatory bowel disease and post-operative ileus, and food/gluten sensitivity in man. I have close academic and commercial links with the pharmaceutical industry, particularly mechanistic and translational research in IBS.

Internal collaborators include Professor Alexander Ford (Gastroenterology), Professor Mark Wilcox (Microbiology), Professor David Jayne (Colorectal Surgery), Professor Francesco Del Galdo (Rheumatology), Professor Daniel Peckham (Respiratory), Professor Louise Dye (Nutrition and Behaviour), Dr Christian Selinger (Gastroenterology). External collaborators include Professors Kenneth DeVault, Augustine Lee and Madhusudan Grover (Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville and Rochester, U.S.A.), Professor Robin Spiller (University of Nottingham), Professor Beate Niesler (University of Heidelberg, Germany) and Dr Alex Menys (University College London).

Current Research Grants include:

1. Gut permeability, sensitivity and symptomatology: is there a link and explanation for exacerbation of symptoms in IBS. Takeda Investigator Initiated Sponsored Research (IISR) Grant, U.S.A.  Principal Investigator

2. Gastrointestinal Lewy bodies: a cause or effect of Parkinson’s disease. Digestive Disease Research Program, Mayo Clinic, U.S.A. Principal Investigator

3. The effects of bread consumption on intestinal and extra-intestinal symptoms in non-coeliac gluten sensitivity.  Well of Wheat, funded by a consortium of industrial partners. Co-investigator

4. NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme NIHR Ref no. 17/33/03 Management of diarrhoea in patients with stable ulcerative colitis: multi-arm multi-stage trial of low FODMAP diet, amitryptyline, ondansetron or loperamide (MODULATE) Co-investigator


  • PhD

Professional memberships

  • American Gastroenterological Association
  • American College of Gastroenterology
  • British Society of Gastroenterology
  • Rome Foundation
  • American Neurogastroenterology and Motility Society
  • European Neurogastroenterology and Motility Society
  • Royal Society of Biology
  • Physiology Society UK

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>
    <li><a href="//">LIMR Clinical: Gastroesophageal reflux in respiratory disease: pathogenic role and improved management</a></li>