Church Lab

Researching the bidirectional interactions between the brain and the gut in shaping health and disease

Illustration of brain and gut
Arpana Gupta, PhD

About Us

Dr. Church’s research aims to bring a systems biology-based, comprehensive understanding of the pathophysiology underlying human obesity and the cluster of obesity-related conditions known as metabolic syndrome.

Now streaming on Netflix

Dr. Church participates in this informative Netflix documentary that demystifies the role gut health plays in our overall well-being.

Hack Your Health - Netflix
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Environmental Influences

Psychosocial, cultural and environmental challenges, such as adverse childhood experiences, acculturation, neighborhood safety, family environment, and socioeconomic status heighten stress-related biological and behavioral pathways that increase the vulnerability to disease-promoting behaviors.

Latest News


Feeding the lonely brain

A new UCLA Health study has found that women who perceive themselves to be lonely exhibited activity in regions of the brain associated with cravings and motivation towards eating, especially when shown pictures of high-calorie foods such as sugary foods. The same group of women also had unhealthy eating behaviors and poor mental health. 

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The association between disadvantaged neighborhoods and cortical microstructure and their relation to obesity

According to newly published research in Nature, living in a disadvantaged neighborhood can affect food choices, weight gain and even the microstructure of the brain.

Colored Woman

Everyday experiences of racism can impact your brain-gut microbiome

It’s been proven that experiencing systematic racism negatively affects one’s mental health. But it can also lead to diseases associated with inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune inflammatory disease, according a recent study published in Biological Psychiatry.