Lin Chang, MD
Director, Functional GI Disroders Program, UCLA G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience; Vice-Chief, Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Lin Chang is a gastroenterologist and physician scientist who serves as Co-Director of the G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience, an interdisciplinary center with a research and clinical focus on the interactions of pain, stress and emotions in health and disease. She has served as Co-Director of the Administrative Core of our Center’s NIH Specialized Centers of Research (SCOR), which has been funded for the past 16 years. Our SCOR has focused on sex differences in brain-gut interactions mainly with regard to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). She has served as PI of one of the projects for each cycle. For this SCORE renewal, she will serve as Multi-PI, Co-Lead of Project 1, Co-Lead of the Career Enhancement Core (CEC), and Co-Lead of the Administrative Core. As Co-Lead of the CEC, she will oversee the collaboration with the pilot and feasibility programs to provide seed grant funding, oversee the recruitment and mentoring of young investigators, and organization of educational conferences. She has been performing clinical and translational research studies, including clinical treatment trials for 25 years. Her research has focused on brain-gut interactions, specifically pathophysiologic mechanisms, clinical symptoms, health outcomes, and treatment in IBS. She has mentored 3 gastroenterology research fellows on the UCLA Gastroenterology T32 training grant in addition to 10 clinical GI fellows, 11 medical residents, 3 post-docs, 8 visiting scientists, 10 medical students, and 5 pre-med students. Her leadership positions include Vice-Chief of the Division of Digestive Diseases at UCLA, Program Director of the UCLA GI Fellowship Program, Clinical Research Councilor of the AGA Governing Board, President of the American Neurogastroenterology and Motility Society (ANMS), member of the Rome Foundation Board of Directors. She currently serving a 4-year term on the NIH Clinical, Integrative and Molecular Gastroenterology Study Section and FDA GI Advisory Committee.
Emeran A. Mayer, MD
Director, UCLA G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience; Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Emeran Mayer is the director of the G Oppenheimer Center for the Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience (CNSR) at UCLA and co-director of the P30 funded CURE Digestive Diseases Research Center at UCLA. The CNSR is a NIH-funded, interdisciplinary and translational research center focused on brain gut microbiome interactions in 4 areas: Functional GI Disorders, Inflammatory Bowel Disorders, Ingestive Behavior/Eating Disorders, Chronic Visceral Pain Disorders. Within the CNSR, he has been the PI of a P50 SCOR grant from ORWH/NIDDK on sex-related differences in brain gut interactions with an emphasis on the effects of early adverse life effects on adult stress responsiveness and related brain circuits for the past 15 years. This grant has been successfully renewed over a total of three 5 year funding cycles under hisleadership. He is also the Co-PI of a UO1 grant focused on studying mechanisms of chronic pelvic pain (MAPP), now in its third 5 year funding cycle, and he leads the neuroimaging efforts within the consortium. Under his leadership, CNSR investigators have done pioneering work in applying psychophysiological and advanced brain imaging techniques to study the response of the brain to visceral stimuli in rodent models and human subjects with persistent visceral pain disorders, including IBS, IBD, IC/PBS and vulvodynia, to identify sex related differences in these brain responses, and to evaluate the effectiveness of pharmacologic and mind-based (including cognitive behavioral therapy) therapeutic approaches to some of these disorders. During the last 5 years, they have expanded their research efforts into the role of the gut microbiome in bidirectional brain gut interactions. They have pursued studies looking at the effect of altered autonomic nervous system output to the gut in altering gut microbial composition and function, and have been testing the hypothesis that gut microbial metabolites and inflammatory mediators in vulnerable patients can lead to neuroplastic changes in the central nervous system manifesting in persistent visceral hypersensitivity, cognitive decline and symptoms of autism spectrum disorders.
Suzanne Smith, NP
Nurse Practitioner, G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience, Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Suzanne R Smith is a Nurse Practitioner in the Department of Medicine, Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She has been involved in mind-brain-body research at the G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience at UCLA since 2005. She worked with critically ill children and their families for many years prior to joining the center. Her research interests include chronic pain, brain-gut interactions and mindfulness meditation as a modality for various pain disorders. She is also an Integrative Health Practitioner in the Digestive Health and Nutrition Clinic at UCLA. Her clinical expertise is in functional gastrointestinal disorders, offering tools to empower and restore a sense of ease and wellbeing.
She has a BA in East/West cross cultural studies, a BS in Nursing and in 2004 completed her graduate work in the Family Nurse Practitioner program at UCLA. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and the California Association of Nurse Practitioners.
Kirsten Tillisch, MD
Director, Mind Body Research Program, G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience; Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
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.
Mayer EA, Tillisch K, Gupta A. Gut/brain axis and the microbiota. J Clin Invest. 2015 Mar 2;125(3):926-38. doi: 10.1172/JCI76304. Epub 2015 Feb 17. Review. PubMed PMID: 25689247; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4362231.
Mayer EA, Knight R, Mazmanian SK, Cryan JF, Tillisch K. Gut microbes and the brain: paradigm shift in neuroscience. J Neurosci. 2014 Nov 12;34(46):15490-6. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3299-14.2014. Review. PubMed PMID: 25392516; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4228144.
Mayer EA, Padua D, Tillisch K. Altered brain-gut axis in autism: comorbidity or causative mechanisms? Bioessays. 2014 Oct;36(10):933-9. doi: 10.1002/bies.201400075. Epub 2014 Aug 22. Review. PubMed PMID: 25145752.
Tillisch K, Labus JS. Neuroimaging the microbiome-gut-brain axis. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2014;817:405-16. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-0897-4_18. Review. PubMed PMID: 24997044.
Tillisch K. The effects of gut microbiota on CNS function in humans. Gut Microbes. 2014 May-Jun;5(3):404-10. doi: 10.4161/gmic.29232. Epub 2014 May 16. Review. PubMed PMID: 24838095; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4153780.
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. 2013 Jun;144(7):1394-401, 1401.e1-4. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2013.02.043. Epub 2013 Mar 6. PubMed PMID: 23474283; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3839572.