Richard Young

Associate Professor Richard Young

NHMRC Externally-Funded Research Fellow (D)

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 its dysregulation in type 2 diabetes, critical illness and obesity. This NHMRC supported research 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 aim to find new ways to treat diabetes and save lives in critical illness, and can be tailored to the individual student. Shorter honours projects are also available in these areas. Students will be based in the west-end health precinct in SAHMRI, with clinical studies undertaken in the nearby Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH).

  • Can blocking gut sweet sensing improve blood glucose control for patients with type 2 diabetes? We've discovered that high and habitual consumption of low-calorie sweeteners can worsen control of blood glucose in healthy subjects. Patients with type 2 diabetes may be at even higher risk due an existing defect in sweet sensing in their gut. 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, in an effort to discover new ways to treat diabetes. Project start: Semester 1 and 2.
  • 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.
  • Saving lives in critical illness by preserving cortisol targeting Blood levels of the carrier protein for cortisol, corticosteroid-binding globulin, fall in patients with sepsis, and do so in a manner that predicts death and morbidity. Supplementing corticosteroid-binding globulin may preserve its unique capacity to target cortisol delivery in the critically ill. This utility is being testing first in our mouse model, which responds the same as patients. This research will provide fundamental knowledge on sepsis timing, corticosteroid-binding globulin dose, and the utility to save lives and reduce morbidity. This is an exciting space, and has the promise to deliver the first new therapy for critical illness in over thirty years. This project will involve clinical research in the RAH and laboratory experiments 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

  • 2021 Research Grant. Young RLRayner CK, Horowitz M, Wu T, Rogers GB, Ivey KL. 'Blocking intestinal sweet taste for glycaemic benefits in type 2 diabetes'
  • 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'

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'

  • Position: NHMRC Externally-Funded Research Fellow (D)
  • Phone: 81284845
  • Email:
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: SAHMRI - South, floor 7
  • Org Unit: Medical Specialties

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