The overall goal of the UCLA SCORE renewal is to promote multidisciplinary research studying sex differences in the brain gut microbiome (BGM) interactions in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and chronic constipation, foster scientific collaborations, and facilitate training, education and recruitment of new investigators. The Career Enhancement Core (CEC) will be responsible for implementing innovative programs to enhance collaborations, training, education, recruitment of new investigators, and community outreach. The CEC with work closely with the Leadership Administrative Core (LAC, see Administrative Core) to carry out the specific aims of the CEC, specifically overseeing the collaboration with the pilot and feasibility programs to provide seed grant funding, the recruitment and mentoring of young investigators, organization of educational conferences, and community outreach.
- To provide seed grant funds for innovative research relevant to the overall SCORE mission and the UCLA SCORE research program leading to extramural funds
- To recruit and foster the career development of students, trainees and junior investigators who conduct research focused on sex differences or women’s health in IBS and chronic constipation and other brain-gut disorders
- To facilitate and promote collaboration between the UCLA SCORE and other academic programs involved in women’s health education and research
- To promote the importance of sex as a biological variable (SABV) through community outreach using collaborative and innovative approaches
- Annual Center Symposia
Since 2004 during our first SCORE funding cycle, we have held an annual Center symposium that has focused on brain-gut interactions and sex differences. This symposium is composed of state-of-the-art lectures from experts in the field of sex differences, women’s health, stress, obesity, gut microbiome and/or brain-gut interactions which are themes of our Center. In addition, there are research talks by young investigators and a poster session. Our External Board members and UCLA faculty select the two best basic science/translational and clinical posters by young investigators who receive a monetary award.
- Translational Research Meetings
Our Center has quarterly Translational Research Meetings where Center members, collaborators or Visiting Scientists are invited to present their research. Lecture topics have included those related to disorders of brain-gut interactions, sex differences, functional gastrointestinal disorders, stress, chronic pain disorders. The meetings are advertised throughout the UCLA campus and serve as an opportunity to share research ideas and build collaborations.
- Weekly Center Meetings
Our Center holds weekly meetings where research projects are presented before they are initiated in order to get instructive feedback and after completion. Students, trainees and post-docs are given the opportunity to present their research studies. Administrative or logistical issues or updates regarding research studies including recruitment are discussed as well.
- Journal Clubs within the Center with emphasis on studies focusing on SABV
We hold periodic Journal Clubs for undergraduate, graduate and medical students. We plan on organizing these meetings on a bi-monthly basis reviewing research articles focusing on SABV.
Lin Chang, MD (Co-Lead) and Emeran Mayer, MD (Co-Lead)
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.
Programmer Analyst, G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience, Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Cathy Liu is a programmer analyst and has been a part of CNSR for over 20 years. Ms. Liu is part of the center’s neuroimaging database team and manages the PAIN repository database, clinical study databases and provides the interface with repository scans.
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.
Administrator, G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience, Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Melenie Rosales has worked at UCLA for 19 years and been the center administrator for CNSR for the last 5 years. She has a BS in Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology from UCLA and an AA in Accounting.