Arpana Gupta, PhD
Co-Director, Neuroimaging and Bioinformatics Core, G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience; Assistant Professor, Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Arpana Gupta is an Assistant Professor and Director of the Neuroimaging Core at the UCLA G. Oppenheimer Center of Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience (CNSR); where she specializes in research that investigates the interactions between environmental and biological factors in shaping neurobiological phenotypes associated with stress-based diseases such as obesity and metabolic syndrome. Her current program of research, broadly defined, is based on developing a model that aims to understand the bidirectional interaction of the brain with those in the periphery (immune cells, gut microbiota-related metabolites), and the modification of these interactions by vulnerability or protective factors (adverse life events, sex, race, socioeconomic status [SES], resilience, diet) related to obesity and ingestive behaviors. More recently she has been investigating diet interventions in altering the brain-gut microbiome axis on health and disease. Another main area of interest is sex differences in central responses related to the brain-gut microbiome axis, as well as its relationship to various disease states. She applies advanced multivariate analytic techniques in order to integrate data from multiple neuroimaging sources, inflammatory markers, microbiome and metabolite profiles, and behavioral data, in order to determine the unique variance associated with altered brain gut microbiome axis in specific disorders. In 2016, she received a mentored K23 grant and in 2020 a R03 grant from the NIH NIDDK to investigate the brain-gut microbiome influences in obesity. She has also received funding from the AGA Rome Foundation, Biocodex, and pilot funds from the UCLA CURE/CTSI program.
Lisa Kilpatrick, PhD
Assistant Researcher, Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress
Lisa Kilpatrick’s research has focused on brain signatures related to brain-body dysregulation in stress-sensitive disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome. In addition, she has a long-standing interest in the influence of sex on these signatures, and she regularly attends and contributes to the annual meeting of the Organization for the Study of Sex Differences. The exploration of sex differences in the mechanisms of treatment response is an important step towards optimizing cost-effective treatments for both men and women. In her role as a co-Investigator in the Bioinformatics Core, she will apply her advanced expertise on the analysis of resting state fMRI data, as well as other neuroimaging modalities, to implement the proposed neuroimaging analyses. She maintains this expertise through regular attendance at the Biennial Resting State Conference and Organization for Human Brain Mapping annual meeting, and she can quickly adapt to new developments in the rapidly-changing field of neuroimaging. In addition, she will lend her expertise in sex differences during the interpretation of the findings. She has collaborated with Drs. Gupta, Labus, and Mayer over the years and looks forward to contributing to this ambitious project.
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.
Joseph Pisegna, MD
Professor, Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; Chief, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System
Dr. Joseph Pisegna is Professor of Medicine at UCLA and Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. Dr. Pisegna is interested in the molecular pharmacology of hormones and receptors in the gastrointestinal tract, especially the diagnosis and management of islet cell tumors of the pancreas, including the Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome. These research and clinical interests derive from research in the biochemistry and physiology of neuroendocrine tumors. While a fellow at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Pisegna first developed a clinical interest in the Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome (ZES), where he discovered and cloned the receptor for gastrin and named it the cholecystokinin B receptor. More recently, Dr. Pisegna has demonstrated that receptors for gastrin are present in the kidney and mediate food-induced regulation of salt excretion. Dr. Pisegna was recruited to the faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles and the Center for Ulcer Research and Education (CURE) in 1996. He is a recipient of the VA Career Development Award at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center. His addition to the faculty of the UCLA Center for Pancreatic Diseases provides unsurpassed expertise in the diagnosis and medical management of pancreatic endocrine tumors.
Jean Stains, RN
Nurse Coordinator, G Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience, Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Jean has been with OCNSR for 20 years and has extensive experience in research, as well as many other areas of nursing. She has managed numerous human physiology studies for the Center. Her current focus is in brain imaging, looking for biomarkers in chronic pain syndromes such as IBS, extensive phenotyping of persons with chronic pain syndromes and studying the effects of behavioral therapies, such as MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction training) to improve quality of life in these individuals.