Dr Nikhil Thapar


Personal Profile

Name: Nikhil Thapar Email: n.thapar@ucl.ac.uk
Title: Dr Tel:
Department: ICH - Neural Development Unit Fax:
Position: Clinician Scientist Address: , , ,
Research Domain: Basic Life Sciences, Personalised Medicine, Populations & Lifelong Health, Reproduction & Development Web Page: Personal Web Page


Research Description

Dr Thapar leads a research programme studying the pathogenesis and treatment of gut motility disorders with a particular focus on improving diagnosis, understanding the molecular and genetic mechanisms underlying such disorders as well as the developing novel therapies including stem cells and gut tissue engineering. The team have been responsible for improved diagnostics and have made significant progress in the understanding of normal and aberrant development of the enteric neuro-musculature and development of stem cell therapies for gut disease.

Research Activities

Better understand normal and abnormal development of the neuromuscular components of the gastrointestinal tract.

Development of novel stem cell-based therapies for aganglionic gut disorders

Development of the enteric neuromusculature

Enteric Nervous System Stem Cells

Normal and abnormal development of the neuromuscular components of the gut

Novel therapies for gut disorders/diseases

Education Description

Dr Thapar is keenly involved in undergraduate and postgraduate education. He is for teaching medical students and leads SSC sessions in paediatric gastroenterology. He is a lecturer for the professional paediatric postgraduate exams (MRCPCH) and involved in courses for both MRCPCH part 1 and 2. Dr Thapar is a founder and co-executive director of the Academy of Paediatric Gastroenterology (www.a-p-g.org), one of the largest initiatives for the education of the multidisciplinary clinical team involved in the care of paediatric gastroenterology patients. The academy runs approximately 10 courses every year from parent education days through to specialist courses for paediatric gastroenterologists and includes both face-to-face teaching courses as well as online learning. He is co-lead and module director for paediatric gastroenterology for UCL's MSc in Paediatrics run from UCL Institute of Child Health. He is on the teaching faculty of the European Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) and has been involved in international schools in Europe and Africa.

UCL Collaborators

Dr Suwan Jayasinghe; Dr Richard Day; Dr Vassilis Pachnis; Dr Simon Eaton; Prof Philip Beales; Dr Paolo De Coppi; Dr Steven Howe; Prof Christiana Ruhrberg; Dr Alan Burns

External Collaborators

Professor Robert Hofstra; Dr Allan Goldstein; Professor Wood Yee Chan



    • Giorgio V, Borrelli O, Smith VV, Rampling D, Köglmeier J, Shah N, Thapar N, Curry J, Lindley KJ (2013). High-resolution colonic manometry accurately predicts colonic neuromuscular pathological phenotype in pediatric slow transit constipation.. Neurogastroenterol Motil, 25(1), 70-8.e8-9 - . doi:10.1111/nmo.12016


    • Totonelli G, Maghsoudlou P, Garriboli M, Georgiades F, Delalande JM, Thapar N, Pierro A, Eaton S, Burns AJ, De Coppi P (2012). Recellularization of a natural intestinal matrix using chicken chorioallantoic membrane as an in vivo bioreactor.
    • Thapar N, Burns A (2012). Use of enteric nervous stem cells to treat motility disorders: Ready for prime time?. NEUROGASTROENTEROLOGY AND MOTILITY, 24, 15 - 15.
    • Thapar N (2012). Genetics of human enteric neurophaties. NEUROGASTROENTEROLOGY AND MOTILITY, 24, 13 - 13.
    • Freem LJ, Delalande JM, Campbell AM, Thapar N, Burns AJ (2012). Lack of organ specific commitment of vagal neural crest cell derivatives as shown by back-transplantation of GFP chicken tissues. The International Journal of Developmental Biology, 56, 245 - 254. doi:10.1387/ijdb.113438lf
    • Borrelli O, Mancini V, Thapar N, Giorgio V, Elawad M, Hill S, Shah N, Lindley KJ (2012). Cow's milk challenge increases weakly acidic reflux in children with cow's milk allergy and gastroesophageal reflux disease.. J Pediatr, 161(3), 476 - 481.e1. doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.03.002
    • Panza E, Knowles CH, Graziano C, Thapar N, Burns AJ, Seri M, Stanghellini V, De Giorgio R (2012). Genetics of human enteric neuropathies.. Prog Neurobiol, 96(2), 176 - 189. doi:10.1016/j.pneurobio.2012.01.001
    • Volonaki E, Sebire NJ, Borrelli O, Lindley KJ, Elawad M, Thapar N, Shah N (2012). Gastrointestinal endoscopy and mucosal biopsy in the first year of life: indications and outcome.. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr, 55(1), 62 - 65. doi:10.1097/MPG.0b013e3182478f83


    • Hotta R, Thapar N (2011). Advances in enteric neurobiology: how close are we to clinical use?. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr, 53 Suppl 2, S43 - S45.
    • Hotta R, Natarajan D, Burns AJ, Thapar N (2011). Stem cells for GI motility disorders.. Curr Opin Pharmacol, 11(6), 617 - 623. doi:10.1016/j.coph.2011.09.004
    • Sribudiani Y, Metzger M, Osinga J, Rey A, Burns AJ, Thapar N, Hofstra RM (2011). Variants in RET associated with Hirschsprung disease affect binding of transcription factors and gene expression. Gastroenterology, 140(2), 572 - 582. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2010.10.044
    • Freem LJ, Tannahill D, Thapar N, Burns AJ (2011). Colonisation of the developing mouse lung by neural crest cells as demonstrated by Optical Projection Tomography. J ANAT, 218(3), 359 - 359.
    • Thapar N (2011). Clinical picture of intestinal pseudo-obstruction syndrome.. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr, 53 Suppl 2, S58 - S59.


    • Binder E, Cananzi M, Burns AJ, Thapar N (2010). ENTERIC NERVOUS SYSTEM STEM CELL-CONTAINING NEUROSPHERES: ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD?. doi:10.1136/gut.2009.209049g
    • Freem LJ, Escot S, Tannahill D, Druckenbrod NR, Thapar N, Burns AJ (2010). The intrinsic innervation of the lung is derived from neural crest cells as shown by optical projection tomography in Wnt1-Cre;YFP reporter mice.. J Anat, 217(6), 651 - 664. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7580.2010.01295.x
    • Shah N, Thompson A, Strautnieks S, Milla P, Hill S, Lindley K, Thapar N, Scambler P, Thompson R (2010). PREDICTING THE OUTCOME OF CONGENITAL INTESTINAL FAILURE. J PEDIATR GASTR NUTR, 50, E171 - E172.
    • Keshaw H, Thapar N, Burns AJ, Knowles J, Forbes A, Day RM (2010). Microporous collagen spheres produced via thermally induced phase separation for tissue regeneration. Acta Biomaterialia, 6(3), 1158 - 1166. doi:10.1016/j.actbio.2009.08.044
    • Goldani HA, Staiano A, Borrelli O, Thapar N, Lindley KJ (2010). Pediatric esophageal high-resolution manometry: utility of a standardized protocol and size-adjusted pressure topography parameters.. Am J Gastroenterol, 105(2), 460 - 467. doi:10.1038/ajg.2009.656


    • Metzger M, Caldwell C, Barlow AJ, Burns AJ, Thapar N (2009). Therapeutic potential of human enteric nervous system stem cells derived from endoscopic gut mucosal biopsies.
    • Metzger M, Caldwell C, Barlow AJ, Burns AJ, Thapar N (2009). Enteric nervous system stem cells derived from human gut mucosa for the treatment of aganglionic gut disorders. Gastroenterology, 136(7), 2214 - 2225.
    • Alexander N, Eaton S, Haston M, Wallace AS, Smith VV, Burns AJ, Salomon J, Shah N, Klein NJ, Pierro A, Thapar N (2009). Hirschsprung's disease associated enterocolitis is related to defects in innate immunity.
    • Metzger M, Caldwell C, Barlow AJ, Burns AJ, Thapar N (2009). Enteric nervous system stem cells derived from human gut mucosa for the treatment of aganglionic gut disorders.. Gastroenterology, 136(7), 2214-25.e1-3 - . doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2009.02.048
    • Thapar N (2009). ENS stem cells: practical problems, practical solutions. NEUROGASTROENT MOTIL, 21(2), XXIX - XXIX.
    • Metzger M, Wallace AS, Schaefer KH, Burns AJ, Thapar N (2009). Development of the mucosal plexus of the human enteric nervous system.
    • Freem LJ, Thapar N, Burns AJ (2009). Investigation of the embryological origin and development of intrinsic nerve ganglia within the mouse and human lung. Journal of Anatomy, 215(6), 710 - 711.
    • Burns AJ, Bradshaw L, Freem LJ, Davey MG, Thapar N (2009). Analysis of talpid3 mutant chicken embryos reveals defects in gut and enteric nervous system development.
    • Freem L, J T, N B, A J (2009). Development of intrinsic lung neurons from foregut-derived neural crest cells. doi:10.1016/j.mod.2009.06.878
    • Burns AJ, Bradshaw L, Davey MG, Thapar N (2009). Defects in gut and enteric nervous system development in Talpid3 mutant chicken. doi:10.1016/j.mod.2009.06.566
    • Thapar N (2009). New frontiers in the treatment of Hirschsprung disease. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr, 48 Suppl 2, S92 - S94.
    • Freem LJ, Escot S, Thapar N, Burns AJ (2009). Colonisation of the developing lungs by tangential migration of foregut-derived vagal neural crest cells.
    • Hotta R, Natarajan D, Thapar N (2009). Potential of cell therapy to treat pediatric motility disorders. Seminars in Pediatric Surgery, 18(4), 263 - 273.
    • Wallace AS, Barlow AJ, Navaratne L, Delalande JM, Tauszig-Delamasure S, Corset V, Thapar N, Burns AJ (2009). Inhibition of cell death results in hyperganglionosis: implications for enteric nervous system development. Neurogastroenterology and Motility, 21(7), 768 - e49. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2982.2009.01309.x


    • Delalande JM, Barlow AJ, Thomas AJ, Wallace AS, Thapar N, Erickson CA, Burns AJ (2008). The receptor tyrosine kinase RET regulates hindgut colonization by sacral neural crest cells.. Developmental Biology, 313(1), 279 - 292. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2007.10.028
    • Burns AJ, Thapar N, Barlow AJ (2008). Development of the Neural Crest-derived Intrinsic Innervation of the Human Lung. American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, 38(3), 269 - 275. doi:10.1165/rcmb.2007-0246OC
    • Thapar N, Lindley KJ, Kiparissi F, Elawad MA, Ashworth M, Veys P, Gaspar HB, Hill SM, Milla PJ, Shah N (2008). Treatment of intractable ulcerating enterocolitis of infancy by allogeneic bone marrow transplantation.. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol, 6(2), 248 - 250. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2007.11.019
    • Barlow AJ, Wallace AS, Thapar N, Burns AJ (2008). Critical numbers of neural crest cells are required in the pathways from the neural tube to the foregut to ensure complete enteric nervous system formation. Development, 135(9), 1681 - 1691. doi:10.1242/dev.017418


    • Thapar N (2007). Future horizons in the treatment of enteric neuropathies.. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr, 45 Suppl 2, S110 - S114. doi:10.1097/MPG.0b013e31812e667c
    • Burns AJ, Thapar N, Barlow AJ (2007). Development of the Neural Crest-derived Intrinsic Innervation of the Human Lung.


    • Thapar N, Natarajan D, Caldwell C, Burns AJ, Pachnis V (2006). Isolation of enteric nervous system progenitors from Hirschsprung’s-like gut.
    • Bondurand N, Natarajan D, Barlow A, Thapar N, Pachnis V (2006). Maintenance of mammalian enteric nervous system progenitors by SOX10 and endothelin 3 signalling.. Development, 133(10), 2075 - 2086.
    • Burns AJ, Thapar N (2006). Advances in ontogeny of the enteric nervous system. Neurogastroenterol Motil, 18(10), 876 - 887. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2982.2006.00806.x


    • Thapar N, Shah N, Ramsay TD, Lindley KJ, Milla PJ (2005). Long-term outcome of intractable ulcerating enterocolitis of infancy. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 40(5), 582 - 588.


    • Thapar N, Sanderson IR (2004). Diarrhoea in children: an interface between developing and developed countries. The Lancet, 363(9409), 641 - 653.

    • Calmont A, Thapar N, Scambler PJ, Burns AJ (). Absence of the vagus nerve in the stomach of Tbx1-/- mutant mice. Neurogastroenterology And Motility, , - .