Kirsten Tillisch, MD

: Associate Professor, Division of Digestive Diseases, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Gail and Gerald Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress at UCLA
CHS 42-210 MC737818
10833 Le Conte Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90095-7378

: Office: (310) 267-0537
Patient Appointments: (310) 206-6279

: (310) 825-1919


Dr. Kirsten Tillisch completed her undergraduate work at the Otis Institute of Parsons School of Design, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honors. She obtained her medical degree from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and was elected to the medical honor society Alpha Omega Alpha. She continued on at UCLA to complete her training in internal medicine and gastroenterology, graduating in 2003. Her clinical interests are functional bowel disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, functional dyspepsia, and cyclic vomiting syndrome. Her research interests include brain-gut interactions , the effects of nonpharmacological therapies on functional gastrointestinal disorders, and pharmacological treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Her recent research projects include defining resting state brain dysfunction in irritable bowel syndrome patients, evaluating the role of gut microbiota modulation on emotional processing in the brain, and assessment of neurokinin-1 receptor antagonists effects on the gut and brain in irritable bowel syndrome. She is a member of the Neuroimaging Program of the Gail and Gerald Oppenheimer Family Center for Neurobiology of Stress.


Tillisch K, Mayer EA, Labus JS. Quantitative meta-analysis identifies brain regions activated during rectal distension in irritable bowel syndrome. Gastroenterology 2011;140:91-100. PMCID: PMC3253553

Tillisch K, Labus J, Nam B, Bueller J, Smith S, Suyenobu S, Siffert J, McKelvy J, Naliboff B, Mayer E. Neurokinin-1-receptor antagonism decreases anxiety and emotional arousal circuit response to noxious visceral distension in women with irritable bowel syndrome: A pilot study. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2012;35(3):360-7.

Larsson MB, Tillisch K, Craig AD, Engström M, Labus J, Naliboff B, Lundberg P, Ström M, Mayer EA, Walter SA. Brain responses to visceral stimuli reflect visceral sensitivity thresholds in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Gastroenterology 2012;142(3):463-72. PMCID: PMC3288538

Ellingson BM, Mayer EA, Harris RJ, Ashe-McNally C, Naliboff B, Labus JS, Tillisch K. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) detects microstructural reorganization in the brain associated with chronic irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Pain, In press March, 2013.

Tillisch K, Labus J, Kilpatrick L, Jiang Z, Stains J, Ebrat B, Guyonnet D, Legrain-Raspaud S, Trotin B, Naliboff B, Mayer EA. Consumption of fermented milk product with probiotic modulates brain activity. Gastroenterology March 2013 [epublished ahead of print].

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