Dr. Khalsa received a B.S. in Psychology from SUNY Stony Brook in 2002. He graduated from the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Iowa, receiving M.D. and Ph.D. (neuroscience) degrees in 2009. He completed his residency training in Psychiatry at UCLA in 2013, serving as the program Chief Resident and Chief Resident in the UCLA Anxiety Disorders Clinic. At that time, he joined the department as a faculty member in the Division of Adult Psychiatry at UCLA, becoming an Assistant Professor in Residence in 2014.
Dr. Khalsa’s research examines how people feel their heartbeat, how the human brain maps cardiac sensation, and whether there is dysfunctional cross talk between the heart and brain in psychiatric and cardiovascular illnesses. To approach these questions, his studies have examined the effects of aging, focal brain injury, cardiac dysfunction, and long-term meditation practice on awareness of the heartbeat. Ongoing projects examine the neural basis of cardiac sensation, the neural basis of dysfunctional heart-brain communication in anorexia nervosa, and the impact of implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD) on awareness of the heartbeat. These studies aim to ultimately answer the question “How can we develop new treatments that re-establish a functional dialogue between the heart and brain?”
Dr. Khalsa’s clinical expertise focuses on the assessment and treatment of anxiety disorders. As a faculty member Dr. Khalsa served as Associate Director of the UCLA Anxiety Disorders Clinic, supervising resident physicians in the treatment of anxiety disorders. As founding Director of the Healthy Hearts Behavioral Medicine Program, an interdisciplinary endeavor started with the UCLA Cardiac Arrhythmia Center, he specializes in treating anxiety and mood disorders in individuals with cardiovascular disease and who have received ICDs. He also worked as an attending psychiatrist in the UCLA OCD Intensive Outpatient Program.
In February 2015, Dr. Khalsa joined the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as the Director of Clinical Studies, and as an Assistant Professor (tenure track) on the Faculty of Community Medicine at the University of Tulsa.