The gut is composed of many cell types that contribute to its complex functions and ability to adapt to changing conditions associated with diet, lifestyles and the environment. Each of these factors can affect the health of the gut and contribute to intestinal disease such as inflammatory bowel disease and intestinal discomfort and pain. Many current therapies target the immune system even though the gut contains many other types of cells which are crucial for sensing chemical changes within the gut. Our UCSF team of basic and clinical scientists is exploiting modern and powerful tools to revisit important but rare cell types within the gut that communicate with the nervous system. We are using these tools to ask if a novel pathway regulates the number and function of these critical cells. Such knowledge could be leveraged to generate therapies for intestinal disorders, particularly those associated with inflammatory pain.