Richard Young

Associate Professor Richard Young

Head of Intestinal Nutrient Sensing Group

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.

A/Prof Richard L Young is a Senior Research Fellow in the Adelaide Medical School at The University of Adelaide, and the South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI). He is a member of the Centre of Research Excellence in Translating Nutritional Science to Good Health, which links basic and clinician researchers in world-leading research in diabetes.

A/Prof Young heads the Intestinal Nutrient Sensing Group within the Nutrition, Diabetes and Gut Health Program of SAHMRI Lifelong Health. He investigates the intestinal taste system, which detects dietary sugars and low-calorie sweeteners and, in turn, controls how glucose is absorbed and disposed in the body. He has shown how this system is regulated in health, and the consequences of its dysregulation in type 2 diabetes, critical illness and obesity. This research is supported by the NHMRC (Ideas 2020-23) and is providing new knowledge of gut physiology and microbiology, with the potential to prevent, and better manage, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Research Projects

My group offers higher degree research projects that span interventional clinical research through to basic research with genetic and disease models. These projects are tailored to the individual and backed by research support from government and industry. Shorter honours projects are also available in these areas. Students will be based in the west-end health precinct at SAHMRI, while clinical studies involve research in the adjacent Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH).

  • Title: Can blocking gut sweet sensing improve blood glucose control for patients with type 2 diabetes? Low-calorie sweeteners are increasingly consumed in the community, but we have shown that their dietary supplementation can worsen control of blood glucose in healthy subjects. Patients with type 2 diabetes may be at even higher risk of worsening blood glucose control due an existing defect in sweet sensing in the gut wall. This project will investigate whether blocking sweet sensing in the gut improves control of blood glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes. This project will involve clinical research in the RAH and laboratory experiments in SAHMRI. Project start: Semester 1 and 2.
  • Title: How does the human gut respond to sweet and bitter stimuli? This project will establish the precise mechanisms that link sensing of bitter (e.g. denatonium) and sweet (e.g. low-calorie sweeteners) in the gut wall and gut bacteria to signals that disrupt host control of blood glucose. This will involve functional and multi-omic experiments in human biopsy tissues and experiments examining gut bacteria in SAHMRI. Project start: Semester 1 and 2.





  • 2020-23 Ideas (APP1181145) Young RL, Ivey KL. 'Friend or Foe? Low-calorie sweeteners and glycaemic control in type 2 diabetes'
  • 2019-21 Project (APP1164475) Keating DJ, Young RL,  Holst JJ, Knop FK. 'Targeting proglucagon cells in the human gut to treat diabetes and obesity'
  • 2018-20 Project (APP1147333) Wu T, Rayner CK, Jones KL, Young RL,  Feinle-Bisset C. 'Bitter taste as a mediator of food intake and postprandial glycaemia in health and type 2 diabetes'
  • 2014-18 Project (APP1081182) Young RL, Rayner CK, Horowitz M ‘Why do sweetened drinks link to type 2 diabetes?’
  • 2010-12 Project (APP627127) Young RL 'Glucose detection pathways in the gut'

Australian Research Council

  • 2015-18 ARC Linkage (LP150100419) Keating DM, Young RL, Liou A, Jackson VM ‘Mechanisms controlling enteroendocrine hormone secretion in human duodenum’

Diabetes Australia

  • 2020 Research Grant. Young RL, Rogers GB, Rayner CK, Horowitz M, Wu T. 'Does the gut microbiome link intake of low-calorie sweeteners to impaired blood glucose control?'
  • 2018-19 Millennium Award, Type 2 Diabetes. Young RL, Rayner CK, Horowitz M, Wu T. 'Do artificial sweeteners affect glycaemic control adversely in people with type 2 diabetes?'
  • 2013 Research Grant. Young RL, Rayner CK, Blackshaw LA, Horowitz M. 'Postprandial consequences of intestinal sweet taste receptor dysregulation in type 2 diabetes'
  • 2008 Research Grant. Young RL, Rayner CK, Blackshaw LA, Horowitz M. 'Characterisation of intestinal sweet-taste molecules in type-2 diabetes'

National Natural Science Foundation of China

  • 2019-22 (81870561). Effects of intestinal bitter taste sensing on gastrointestinal hormone secretion and glycaemic control. Wu T, Rayner CK, Young RL, Lu Q, Wang D, Wang X, Chen J, Cai M, Ge M.

The Hospital Research Foundation

  • 2018-20 (Translational Research) Young RL, Rayner CK, Rogers GB. 'A bitter tale of artificial sweeteners in Type 2 diabetes?'

Diabetes SA

  • 2018-19 (Project, Inaugural Round) Young RL, Rayner CK, Rogers GB, Horowitz M. 'A bitter tale of artificial sweeteners in human health and Type 2 diabetes?'

Royal Adelaide Hospital

  • 2018 Clinical Project (9747) Young RL, Nguyen NQ, Rayner CK, Wu T, Horowitz M. 'Molecular events linking artificial sweetener intake to augmented glucose absorption and dysglycaemia in health and type 2 diabetes'
  • 2016 Clinical Project (2155) Wong S, Young RL, Nguyen NQ, Rayner CK. 'Impact of blocking intestinal glucose transporter 2 (GLUT2) on glucose absorption, glycaemic control and incretin responses in morbidly obese subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus'
  • 2014-16 Clinical Project (1772) Young RL, Wu T, Rayner CK. 'Intestinal sweet taste receptor control of glucose absorption in human health and type 2 diabetes'
  • 2013-14 Clinical Project (1483) Young RL, Rayner CK, Nguyen N. 'Molecular determinants of glucose sensing in human gastrointestinal tract'

  • 2012 Clinical Project (7849) Young RL, Deane AM. 'Protein determinants of intestinal carbohydrate malabsorption in critical illness'

  • 2012 Clinical Project Symonds E, Young RL, Nguyen N. 'Evaluation of nutrient sensing in the large intestine and modulation by obesity

MedVet Laboratories

  •  2011 (Special Research Project) Deane AM, Young RL. 'The intestinal glucose transporter SGLT-1 as a novel therapeutic target in critical illness'

Intensive Care Foundation Australia

  • 2014 (Research Grant) Young RL, Deane AM. 'Intestinal GLP-2 as a novel target in critical illness-induced malabsorption'

  • 2011 (Research Grant) Deane AM, Young RL, Chapman MJ, Rayner CK, Horowitz M. 'Critical illness & intestinal sweet taste receptors'

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2020 Principal Supervisor Mechanisms linking low-calorie sweeteners to impaired glycaemic control in human health and type 2 diabetes. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Braden David Rose
    2020 Co-Supervisor Adaptations to gastrointestinal nutrient absorption during pregnancy Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Teunis Sebastian Overduin
    2019 Principal Supervisor Gut mechanisms linking artificial sweeteners to impaired glycaemic control Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Miss Denise Kreuch
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2012 - 2017 Principal Supervisor Gastrointestinal Nutrient Sensing in Obesity and type 2 Diabetes: Role in Appetite Regulation and Glycaemic Control Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Nada Cvijanovic
    2004 - 2009 Co-Supervisor Nutrient Sensing Mechanisms in the Small Intestine: Localisation of Taste Molecules in Mice and Humans With and Without Diabetes Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Kate Sutherland
  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2014 - ongoing External Supervisor Isolation, purification and characterisation of human enteroendocrine cells Flinders University of South Australia School of Medicine, PhD Doctorate Full Time Emily Wai-Ling Sun
  • Position: Head of Intestinal Nutrient Sensing Group
  • Phone: 81284845
  • Email:
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: SAHMRI - South, floor 7
  • Room: 7
  • Org Unit: Medical Specialties

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