Team Members (M-Z)

Emeran A. Mayer, MD

Founding Director, Goodman-Luskin Microbiome Center
Director, G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience
Professor of Medicine, Physiology and Psychiatry
Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Dr. Mayer received his MD degree from the Ludwig Maximilian’s University in Munich, Germany, in 1976, completed his residency at the Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, Canada, and his GI fellowship training at the UCLA/VA Wadsworth Training Program. Dr. Mayer has a career long interest in clinical and research aspects of brain body interactions, with a longstanding focus on the bidirectional communication between the brain and the gut in health and disease. He is recognized as one of the leading investigators in the world of brain gut microbiome interactions in gastrointestinal disorders, including chronic visceral pain, functional and inflammatory bowel disorders, ingestive behavior and obesity. He has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1989.

He has been PI of a NIH Center grant on sex differences in functional GI disorders for the past 18 years, and PI on a NIDDK funded U01 consortium grant of brain bladder interactions for 18 years, co-PI on a grant by the Department of Defense on brain-gut-microbiome interactions in autism spectrum disorders, co-PI on a Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation grant on brain-gut-microbiome signatures of stress-related IBD symptom flares, and co-PI on a NIH U19 consortium grant and a RO1 grant on brain gut microbiome interactions in Alzheimer’s disease. 

He has published 415 peer-reviewed articles in the leading GI and neuroscience journals, including 100 reviews and book chapters and has co-edited three scientific books. His articles have been cited 61,566 times and his h-factor is 125. He has published two books for the general public on brain gut microbiome interactions (the bestselling The Mind Gut Connection, and more recently The Gut Immune Connection) which have been translated into 14 languages. A third book, Interconnected Plates, will be published in Fall 2023. 

Dr. Mayer has received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Mentor Award from the American Gastroenterological Association and the Ismar Boas Medal of the German Gastroenterological Association. He has been a regular member of the NIDDK CIMG study section from 2010-2015, has been president of the Functional Brain Gut Group, and associate editor of Gastroenterology. G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience

Jeff F. Miller, PhD

Fred Kavli Chair in NanoSystems Sciences
Director of the California NanoSystems Institute
Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Dr. Miller’s laboratory focuses on molecular mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis, the evolution of functional diversity in bacteria and phage, and bio-inspired engineering of precision antibiotics. Dr. Miller received his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Case Western Reserve University and his PhD in Molecular Biology from Tufts University School of Medicine.  After postdoctoral training with Dr. Stanley Falkow at Stanford, he joined the faculty at UCLA in 1990. From 2002-2014 he held the M. Philip Davis Chair in Microbiology and Immunology and served as Chair of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics. In November, 2014, he was appointed Director of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. In 2004, Dr. Miller co-founded AvidBiotics Corp., a biotherapeutics company in South San Francisco.  In 2017 AvidBiotics split to form Pylum Biosciences, a precision antibiotics company, and Xyphos Inc., an immuno-oncology company that was acquired by Astellas Pharma in December, 2019.  In 2009 Dr. Miller was appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to serve on the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity.  From 2012-2014 he served two consecutive terms as President of the American Society for Microbiology, which represents over 40,000 members in the US and abroad.  Dr. Miller is a former Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, a member of the American Academy of Microbiology, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 2015 he was elected to membership in the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Jeffrey H. Miller Lab

Anna Barbara Moscicki, MD

Distinguished Research Professor of Pediatrics
Chief, Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine
Associate Vice Chair of Clinical Research
Department of Pediatrics
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Dr. Moscicki is a pediatrician, board certified in adolescent medicine. She has a background training in STI epidemiology, molecular virology, and mucosal immunology. She has over 30 years of experience working in the field of molecular epidemiology, behavioral studies of adolescents, mucosal immunology, and phase I and II clinical trials. Much of her work has focused on detailing the natural history of HPV in adolescents primarily from a 25-year study “Natural History of HPV in Teens.” More recently, her work has focused on the microbiome and HPV and CIN 2 clearance utilizing biorepository samples from cohort studies. She has also been involved in HIV research over the last 20+ years and is now involved in Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort (PHACS) study. She leads several sub-studies within PHACS looking at the vaginal microbiome in those living with HIV and HPV clearance as well as development of precancers. Her research has crossed numerous disciplines including behavioral, epidemiology, social science, public health, virology and immunology. Much of her work has influenced cervical cancer screening and management guidelines in the US, specifically as they relate to young women and those living with HIV. Dr. Moscicki Physician Profile

Million Mulugeta, DVM, PhD

Director, Models of Gastrointestinal Function and Disease (MGFD) Core
Adjunct Professor of Medicine
Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Dr. Mulugeta currently leads three NIH supported research projects on the gut-brain-gut connection through the study of functional and structural circuitry of the autonomic nervous system to pelvic organs (colon and bladder) in health and disease states. These works involve multi-center experts and international teams and are supported by two NIH grants. Dr. Mulugeta is also a University PI on a National Science Foundation supported research to develop novel devices (smart pill) to assess gut secretomotor functions in health and diseases, through SBIR industry-university partnership. In addition, he studies the specific role of CRF2 receptors (CRF2R) in stress-related alteration of colonic function and visceral pain. The project tests the hypothesis that CRFR2 activation modulates stress-related neuroenteric physiology, gut motor function alterations and stress-related visceral pain of colonic origin.

Dr. Mulugeta has published several papers on the brain-gut interaction and stress related gastrointestinal motility, pain and inflammatory responses. He is a reviewer for numerous medical journals and serves as editorial board member for the American Journal of Physiology. Dr. Mulugeta serves as a member to several special emphasis panel of NIH to review grant applications. He is recipient of several awards including the 2011 International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders award in basic sciences. Taché Lab

Bruce Naliboff, PhD

Project Scientist
Director, Pain Research Program, G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience
Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Career Scientist, VA-GLA (ret.)

Dr. Naliboff received his PhD in clinical psychology from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and interned at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. During his long tenure at UCLA and the VA, he has served as senior psychologist in the UCLA and VA Pain Management Programs as well as a VA career scientist. Dr. Naliboff's research has focused on psychosocial and brain mechanisms of stress and chronic pain with an emphasis on chronic visceral pain disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). He has led critical studies into the perceptual and cognitive aspects of chronic pain states including the role of negative and positive emotions in modulating pain symptoms and impact. He is also a leader in the development and evaluation of non-pharmacological therapies for both visceral and somatic pain, and studied the clinical use of opioid medications. Dr. Naliboff has over 200 scientific publications on these topics, has had continuous funding from the NIH and VA, and he has served as a consulting editor for numerous scientific publications in psychology and medicine and on national and international committees as a grant reviewer and program consultant. G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience

Aydogan Ozcan, PhD

Chancellor's Professor at UCLA
Volgenau Chair for Engineering Innovation
Electrical & Computer Engineering, Bioengineering
UCLA Samueli School of Engineering
HHMI Professor, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Associate Director, California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI)

Dr. Ozcan is elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and holds >65 issued/granted patents in microscopy, holography, computational imaging, sensing, mobile diagnostics, nonlinear optics and fiber-optics, and is also the author of one book and the co-author of >1000 peer-reviewed publications in leading scientific journals/conferences. He has received major awards, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), International Commission for Optics ICO Prize, Dennis Gabor Award (SPIE), Joseph Fraunhofer Award & Robert M. Burley Prize (Optica), SPIE Biophotonics Technology Innovator Award, Rahmi Koc Science Medal, SPIE Early Career Achievement Award, Army Young Investigator Award, NSF CAREER Award, NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, Navy Young Investigator Award, IEEE Photonics Society Young Investigator Award and Distinguished Lecturer Award, National Geographic Emerging Explorer Award, National Academy of Engineering The Grainger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering Award and MIT’s TR35 Award for his seminal contributions to computational imaging, sensing and diagnostics. Dr. Ozcan is elected Fellow of Optica, AAAS, SPIE, IEEE, AIMBE, RSC, APS and the Guggenheim Foundation, and is a Lifetime Fellow Member of Optica, NAI, AAAS, SPIE and APS. Dr. Ozcan is also listed as a Highly Cited Researcher by Web of Science, Clarivate. Ozcan Research Institute

Paivi E. Pajukanta, MD, PhD

Professor of Human Genetics
Diller-von Furstenberg Family Endowed Chair in Precision Clinical Genomics
Vice Chair, Department of Human Genetics
Director, Cardiometabolic Genomics, Institute for Precision Health
Director, Genetics and Genomics PhD Program
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Dr. Pajukanta's research group is identifying biological mechanisms of DNA variants and genes involved in complex cardiovascular and metabolic disorders using integrative genomics approaches. Her research aims to discover gene-environment interactions and context-specific transcriptional and epigenomic effects contributing to cardiometabolic disorders in Mexicans and Europeans by integrating transcriptomics, epigenomics, and genomics data with deep clinical and histology-based phenotype and electronic medical record data. Dr. Pajukanta is especially interested in single cell RNA-sequencing studies of metabolic tissues to decompose cell-type proportions and cell-type specific expression of genes and their connections to cardiometabolic traits; as well as in genomic studies of the admixed Mexican population that has been underrepresented in genomic studies despite their high predisposition to obesity, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemias, fatty liver disease, and other cardiometabolic disorders. Dr. Pajukanta has served as a principal investigator in several NIH R01 grants and as a project leader of an NIH PPG grant. She has trained multiple undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students; taught graduate level courses; and served as a problem-based learning tutor of medical students. She is also the director of the genetics and genomics home area of graduate education at UCLA; the vice chair in the Department of Human Genetics at UCLA; and the director of cardiometabolic genomics at the Institute for Precision Health at UCLA. Dr. Pajukanta Profile

Junyoung O. Park, PhD

Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Co-Director, UCLA Metabolomics Center
Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at UCLA

Dr. Park's research group engineers metabolism for sustainable bioproduct synthesis and quantifies metabolic flux control in microbial, cancer, and immune cells for therapeutic discovery by employing liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), isotope tracing, and mathematical modeling. His recent awards include NIH Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) and Hellman Fellowship. Park Lab

Joseph Pisegna, MD

Chief, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Parenteral Nutrition
Veterans Administration Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Wadsworth VA
Professor-In-Residence of Medicine and Human Genetics
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Dr. Pisegna’s main research interest is the molecular pharmacology of hormones and receptors in the gastrointestinal tract. These research and clinical interests derive from research in the biochemistry and molecular physiology of neuroendocrine tumors as well as an understanding of the molecular interaction of peptide hormones and their receptors. His clinical efforts are currently focused on the management of gastric hypersecretory conditions, neuroendocrine tumors of the GI tract, and Zollinger Ellison Syndrome (ZES), medical conditions that derive from alterations in the expression of gastrointestinal hormones. Dr. Pisegna cloned the receptor for human cholecystokinin A (CCKA), the cholecystokinin B (CCKB or gastrin) receptor and the pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP) receptor. He has previously demonstrated that PACAP is a potent stimulant of gastric acid secretion and is expressed on neurons innervating the stomach, on enterochromaffin-like cells (ECL) of the stomach expressing receptors for PACAP. Using mice lacking the PAC1 receptor, he has demonstrated that the mice develop a gastric acid hypersecretory condition resulting from hypergastrinemia. Recently his lab is focused on understanding the role of peptide hormones in the development of obesity, metabolic syndrome and NAFLD. Dr. Pisegna's research interests extend to understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in satiety and metabolic syndrome including the role of the gastrointestinal microbiome.

Srinivasa T. Reddy, PhD

Professor In-Residence
Department of Molecular & Medical Pharmacology; Department of Cardiology

Dr. Reddy is interested in understanding the expression, regulation, and mechanism of action, of enzymes involved in lipid and lipoprotein metabolism, and their role in the development of inflammatory diseases with focus on discovering diagnostic and therapeutic molecules for their treatment. His laboratory is conducting pioneering research on PON proteins. Dr. Reddy received his PhD in compartive biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and completed his postdoctoral fellowship in cell and molecular biology from University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Reddy Profile

Karen Reue, PhD

Professor and Vice Chair, Human Genetics
Associate Director, UCLA/Caltech Medical Scientist Training Program
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

The Reue laboratory is interested in the identification of genes, pathways, and the role of sex in the development of traits underlying the Metabolic Syndrome, including obesity, dyslipidemia, and insulin resistance. Using genetic manipulation in mouse models, our findings have revealed independent roles for gonadal hormones and genetic sex (XX vs. XY chromosomes) in dietary lipid absorption, regulation of circulating lipid levels, development of adipose tissue, mitochondrial function, and statin-related diabetes. Laboratory of Karen Reue

Rachel Sarnoff, MD

Health Sciences Clinical Instructor of Medicine
Primary Care – Disorders of the Gut-Brain Interaction (DGBI) Fellow
Division of General Internal Medicine
Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Dr. Sarnoff graduated with honors from Brown University with a concentration in human health and biology. Between college and medical school, she worked in Dr. Jeffrey Friedman’s lab at Rockefeller University, where she investigated genetic enhancer proteins for leptin hormone. She completed medical school at NYU Langone School of Medicine, where she was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society as a student role model for compassionate medical care. At NYU, she worked under the mentorship of Dr. Martin Blaser, investigating connections between the gut microbiome and precancerous colon polyps that was featured on CBS News. Dr. Sarnoff completed her internal medicine residency and chief residency at UCLA, where her passion for teaching, communication, and innovation in medical education and patient care led her to receive multiple teaching and young investigator awards. Primed by her microbiome work and ignited by the complex patients she saw during her residency, her interest in the gut environment expanded to disorders of gut-brain interaction (DGBI). 

After chief year, Dr. Sarnoff partnered with her closest mentor, Dr. Lin Chang, to create a physician-scientist training program for herself with the goal of developing a DGBI niche within primary care. To learn how to design and critique clinical trials in the DGBI space, she is completing a master of science in clinical research, for which she has been granted Department of Medicine IGNITE funds. She is also a Career Enhancement Core scholar within the Chang-Mayer SCORE NIH grant, where she is designing her own studies as well as recruiting for clinical trials. Her research is also supported in part by the Goodman-Luskin Microbiome Center. She has been awarded support for the rest of her clinical and research training by the Department of Medicine. Clinically, she practices as a primary care provider at Internal Medicine Suites, where she trains residents and medical students. Finally, she trains under DGBI specialists such as Dr. Chang as well as the Integrative GI interdisciplinary care team. She is most interested in identifying factors that influence risk of developing DGBI, such as early life adversity, psychological comorbidity, and microbiome changes. 

Dr. Sarnoff is board certified in internal medicine. She is dual appointed by the divisions of general internal medicine and digestive diseases. 

Jenny Sauk, MD

Director, Clinical Care, UCLA Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Health Sciences Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine
Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Disease
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Dr. Sauk received her undergraduate degree from Yale University and earned her medical degree from University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. She subsequently completed her internal medicine residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell Medical Center and her gastroenterology fellowship at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. After completing her gastroenterology fellowship, she joined Mount Sinai’s faculty as the Gerald and Ruth Crohn Dickler Faculty Scholar in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Dr. Sauk subsequently joined the faculty at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and developed a specialized practice in IBD at the MGH Crohn’s and Colitis Center. Her clinical interest remains in the inflammatory bowel diseases, specifically ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease. Dr. Sauk’s research interests have centered on clinical outcomes in inflammatory bowel disease. She is board certified in gastroenterology. Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Andrea Shin, MD, MSCR

Health Sciences Clinical Instructor of Medicine
Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases 
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA 

Dr. Shin received her medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine and also completed her internal medicine residency at Indiana University School of Medicine. She then earned a master’s degree in clinical and translational research while training as a research fellow at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, followed by completion of a clinical fellowship in gastroenterology and hepatology at Indiana University.

Dr. Shin specializes in the care of patients with disorders of gut-brain interactions (DGBI) and gastrointestinal motility disorders. She is committed to providing individualized care that emphasizes the multidimensional nature of DGBI and motility disorders. Her research interests relate to her clinical expertise and focuses on developing novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to treating disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), functional diarrhea, chronic diarrhea, chronic constipation, and anorectal disorders. She is a past recipient of an institutional career-development award (KL2) and a current recipient of a K23 career development award through the National Institutes of Health. She is a member of the Rome V Functional Bowel Disorders Committee, served as a lead physician investigator for the American Gastroenterological Association’s (AGA) 2015 IBS in America Campaign and is a former member of the AGA Clinical Practice Update Committee. She now serves on the AGA Research Awards Panel as the AGA Patient Education Advisor, and as a council member for the American Neurogastroenterology and Motility Society. She has co-authored over 60 peer-reviewed publications, serves as associate editor for Neurogastroenterology & Motility, and serves as an editorial board member for Alimentary, Pharmacology & Therapeutics, Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, and BMC Medicine.

Catia Sternini, MD

Associate Director, UCLA: Digestive Diseases Research Center
Director, UCLA Imaging and Stem Cell Biology Core
Director, UCLA Pilot and Feasibility Study Program
Professor-in-Residence, Departments of Medicine and Neurobiology
Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Dr. Sternini's research program is focused on two major areas: 1) the neuronal circuits that form the enteric nervous system or “brain in the gut,” which regulate intestinal functions, and 2) chemosensing in the gastrointestinal tract in conditions of gut microbial imbalance and obesity. Studies on the enteric nervous system are focused on the identification of enteric neuronal circuits and their targets in health and disease states and on the mechanisms that govern receptor-mediated responses with an emphasis on the µ opioid receptors, the primary targets of opioids clinically used for pain control. Chronic use of opioids induces opioid bowel dysfunction, a debilitating condition characterized by severe constipation and abdominal pain, the treatment of which remains a major challenge. The discovery that opioids differ in their efficiency to induce receptor internalization, a key regulatory process of receptor function, in enteric neurons and that receptor trafficking and signaling pathways differ in distinct neuronal cell populations, sheds light on the mechanisms of action of opioids on enteric neurons compared to the brain, which is essential for the development of effective analgesics devoid of gastrointestinal side effects. Additional studies are focused on changes in the expression of transmitters and receptors in different pathological conditions such as intestinal ischemia, enteric neuropathies, and chronic constipation. Studies on gut chemosensing are focused on the expression and regulation of taste receptors in the gastrointestinal tract in diet-induced obesity based on the finding that bitter taste receptors, the first point of contact with foodstuff in the oral cavity that can impact on food consumption, are expressed in enteroendocrine cells in the intestine, and are upregulated in a microbiota-and diet-dependent manner. These studies are testing the innovative hypothesis that bitter taste receptors detect luminal content including bacteria and bacteria products to induce functional responses through the release of signaling molecules by enteroendocrine cells, which modulate intestinal homeostasis, caloric intake, and metabolism. Taste receptors in the gut might represent a functional link between microbiota and host leading to modulation of gut function, appetite and satiety through the brain-gut-microbiome axis and might be a potential target for obesity prevention and treatment. Sternini Lab

Dr. Yvette Tache

Distinguished Research Professor of Medicine
Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System

Dr. Taché is a recognized leading expert in brain-gut interactions and the role of peptides in the underlying mechanisms of stress-related gut dysfunction and central vagal regulation of gut function. She and her research team reported some of the pioneer work on the central actions of peptides to influence digestive function and feeding behavior. Her laboratory provided the preclinical groundwork showing potential benefit of blocking corticotropin releasing signaling pathways in experimental models of irritable bowel syndrome and postoperative ileus. Building on her initial work on the peptidergic regulation of vagal activity to the gut, she is investigating with Dr. Pu-Qing Yuan their role in the modulation of the cholinergic anti-inflammatory reflex in the context of post-operative ileus. In collaboration with Dr. Lixin Wang, they demonstrated the role of ghrelin agonists to alleviate gut motor dysfunction in models of Parkinson’s disease. She is directing a consortium NIH SPARC grant on the structural and functional mapping of mammalian colonic nervous system.

Dr. Taché joined the Division of Digestive Diseases in 1982 and was appointed professor-in-residence in 1987 and distinguished professor since 2009. Professor Taché developed this field of research through continued competitive grants obtained from the National Institute of Health (NIH) since 1982 as well as Veteran Administration (VA) Merit Award since 2000 up to 2022. She was director of the Animal Core within the NIHDDK Digestive Diseases Center up to 2020 and a co-director of the UCLA G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience (CNSR). She published 392 peer-reviewed articles, 180 reviews, 23 editorials and edited 15 books. Professor Taché has been the recipient of NIHDDK MERIT Award, the Distinguished Research Award in Gastrointestinal Physiology from the American Physiological Society, the Janssen Award for Basic Research in Gastrointestinal Motility, the Senior Investigator–Basic Science Award from the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, the Research Scientist Award from the Functional Brain-Gut Research Group, the Outstanding American Gastroenterology Association (AGA) Women in Sciences, the Research Mentor Award from the AGA Institute Council,  Distinguished Scientist Award for Women in Neurogastroenterology  from the American Neurogastroenterology & Motility Society,  and the Senior Research Career Scientist Award and Middleton Award from the Veteran Administration and the Legion of Honor from the French Government. She served on NIH and VA grant application review panels and editorial boards of many peptides, integrative physiology, gastroenterology, and stress-related journals and was an associated editor of Plos One. Taché Lab

Kirsten Tillisch, MD

Chief of Integrative Medicine, Greater Los Angeles VA
G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience
Health Sciences Professor of Medicine
Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Dr. 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. Dr. Tillisch is the gastroenterology leader for the Scientific Foundations of Medicine Course for first year medical students at the David Geffen School of Medicine. She is an advocate for the incorporation of integrative practices within the medical system to advance health. She is a medical acupuncturist and is trained in medical hypnotherapy by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. She has a clinical interest in chronic pain and functional gastrointestinal disorders, and was a member of the Rome IV Committee for Central Disorders of Gastrointestinal Pain. Her research interests include brain-gut-microbiome interactions, the effects of complementary and alternative medicine interventions such as meditation, probiotics, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, and herbal therapy on health and disease, and treatment of functional gastrointestinal disorders. In addition to her role at UCLA, Dr. Tillisch is the chief of Integrative Medicine at the Greater Los Angeles VA, managing programs in Tai chi, yoga, acupuncture and integrative health.

Hung Ton-That, PhD

Professor of Oral & Systemic Health Sciences
Director, Dentist-Scientist and Oral Health-Researcher Training Program
UCLA School of Dentistry

Dr. Ton-That’s laboratory focuses on the molecular assembly on the cell surface of Gram-positive pathogens, oxidative protein folding in these monoderms, and virulence mechanisms of the Gram-negative pathobiont Fusobacterium nucleatum.

Dr. Ton-That obtained a BS in chemistry and a PhD in microbiology from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1996 and 2000, respectively. As a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Ton-That trained with Dr. Olaf Schneewind at the University of Chicago to investigate the mechanism of pilus assembly in Gram-positive bacteria. Between 2004 and 2018, he held faculty positions at the University of Connecticut Health Center and the University of Texas McGovern Medical School, continuing his studies of Gram-positive pili and their role in biofilm formation and bacterial pathogenesis. In July 2018, he joined the faculty of the Division of Oral Biology and Medicine at the UCLA School of Dentistry. Dr. Ton-That is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. Ton-That Lab

Thomas A. Vallim, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology and Department of Biological Chemistry
Director, Molecular Biology Interdepartmental Doctoral Program (MBIDP) GREAT Home Area
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Dr. Vallim is an associate professor in the Departments of Medicine, Cardiology and Biological Chemistry at UCLA. He is also the director of the Gene Regulation, Epigenomics, and Transcriptomics within the Molecular Biology Interdepartmental Doctoral Program (MBIDP). He received his undergraduate degree in biochemistry and biological chemistry from the University of Nottingham in England, and his PhD in nutritional biochemistry also at the University of Nottingham. He then moved to complete his postdoc at UCLA on lipid metabolism and nuclear receptors. Dr. Vallim started his lab at UCLA in 2013, and his lab studies in how changes in lipid metabolism impact cardiometabolic disease, with a particular focus in the role of specialized lipids, such as bile acids, in the gut-liver axis affect normal liver physiology and disease. The Tarling-Vallim Lab

Elizabeth Videlock, MD, PhD

Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine
Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Dr. Videlock grew up in Philadelphia and earned a BS in chemistry from Yale University. She studied medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Videlock began her research career in the field of the gut-brain axis during medical school under the mentorship of Dr. Lin Chang in the UCLA G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience.

She then trained in internal medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Dr. Videlock returned to UCLA for her gastroenterology fellowship as a Specialty Training and Advanced Research (STAR) fellow. Through the STAR program, Dr. Videlock completed a PhD in the laboratory of Charalabos "Harry" Pothoulakis with co-mentorship from Dr. Chang. Her doctoral research used translational and cell culture approaches to study peripheral molecular changes in IBS.

Dr. Videlock joined the UCLA Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases faculty in 2019. Her laboratory is within the UCLA Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Videlock Lab

Elizabeth Volkmann, MD, MS

Associate Professor
Director, UCLA Scleroderma Program
Founder and Co-Director, UCLA Connective Tissue Disease-Related Interstitial Lung Disease (CTD-ILD) Program
Division of Rheumatology
Department of Medicine
University of California, Los Angeles

As a clinical-translational investigator, Dr. Volkmann research studies in systemic sclerosis aim to: 1) predict clinical phenotypes; 2) identify prognostic biomarkers to inform risk stratification; 3) define biological targets for therapeutic intervention; and 4) characterize novel treatment response biomarkers. She conducted the first study to characterize the gut microbiome in patients with systemic sclerosis, and she now leads an international microbiome consortium study in systemic sclerosis comprised of investigators from four continents and more than 12 countries. Dr. Volkmann has an enduring interest in understanding the effects of diet on microbial community structure and function in patients with systemic sclerosis. She is the recipient of numerous awards in rheumatology, including the Edith Busch Prize in Rheumatology (2020) and the Doctor of the Year Award from the National Scleroderma Foundation (2022). As a member of the UCLA community for over 20 years, she enjoys mentoring aspiring physician scientists and collaborating with specialists across disciplines, including radiology, pulmonary medicine, nuclear medicine, and gastroenterology. Dr. Volkmann Provider Profile

Karol Watson, MD, PhD

Co-Director, UCLA Program in Preventive Cardiology
Director, UCLA Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Health Program
Professor of Medicine
Division of Cardiology
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
John Mazziotta, MD, PhD, Term Chair in Medicine

Dr. Watson is a principal investigator for several large National Institutes of Health research studies including the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study and the Multi-ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. She is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and a member of the American Heart Association. She is also a board member of the American Heart Association, Western States Affiliate, and of the American Society of Preventive Cardiology. Dr. Watson is the chairperson of the Scientific Advisory Board for WomenHeart, the largest national organization for women survivors of heart disease.

Paul S. Weiss, PhD

UC Presidential Chair
Distinguished Professor of Chemistry & Biochemisty, Bioengineering
Distinguished Professor of Materials Science & Engineering
California NanoSystems Institute
University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Weiss received his SB and SM degrees in chemistry from MIT in 1980 and his PhD in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 1986. He was a postdoctoral member of technical staff at Bell Laboratories from 1986-88 and a visiting scientist at IBM Almaden Research Center from 1988-89. He served as the director of the California NanoSystems Institute and held the Fred Kavli Chair in NanoSystems Sciences at UCLA from 2009-14. Before coming to UCLA, he was a distinguished professor of chemistry and physics at the Pennsylvania State University, where he began his academic career in 1989. His interdisciplinary research group includes chemists, physicists, biologists, materials scientists, mathematicians, bioengineers, electrical and mechanical engineers, computer scientists, clinicians, and physician scientists. They focus on the ultimate limits of miniatu­rization, exploring the atomic-scale chemical, physical, optical, mechanical, electronic, and spin properties of surfaces, interfaces, supramolecular, and biomolecular assemblies. They develop new techniques to expand the applicability and chemical specificity of scanning probe microscopies. They apply these and other tools to study self- and directed assembly, and molecular and nanoscale devices. They advance nanofabrication down to ever smaller scales and greater chemical specificity to operate and to test functional molecular assemblies, and to connect to the chemical and biological worlds in neuroscience, gene editing, cancer immunotherapy, tissue engineering, cellular agriculture, and the microbiome. He has authored over 500 publications, holds over 40 patents, and has given over 900 invited, plenary, keynote, and named lectures. He is involved in startups from his and other labs in biotechnology, food security, energy, entertainment, and healthcare.

Dr. Weiss has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Presidential Young Investigator Award (1991-96), the Scanning Microscopy International Presidential Scholarship (1994), the B. F. Goodrich Collegiate Inventors Award (1994), an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship (1995-97), the American Chemical Society (ACS) Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education in Chemistry (1996), a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (1997), a NSF Creativity Award (1997-99), the ACS Award in Colloid and Surface Chemistry (2015), the ACS Southern California Section Tolman Medal (2017), the ACS Patterson-Crane Award in Chemical Information (2018), and the IEEE Nanotechnology Pioneer Award (2019), among others. He was elected a fellow of the: American Association for the Advancement of Science (2000), American Physical Society (2002), American Vacuum Society (2007), ACS (2010), American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2014), American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (2016), Canadian Academy of Engineering (2017), Materials Research Society (2019), IEEE (2021), and an honorary fellow of the Chinese Chemical Society (2010) and Chemical Research Society of India (2020-21). He received Penn State’s University Teaching Award from the Schreyer Honors College (2004), was named a nanofabrication fellow at Penn State (2005), and won the Alpha Chi Sigma Outstanding Professor Award (2007). He was a visiting professor at the University of Washington, Department of Molecular Biotechnology (1996-97) and Kyoto University, Electronic Science & Engineering Department and Venture Business Laboratory (1998 and 2000), and a distinguished visiting professor at the Kavli Nanoscience Institute and the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis at Caltech (2015). He is a visiting scholar at the Kavli Institute for Bionano Science & Technology and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University (2015-). He held the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS) Chaire d'excellence Jacques­Beaulieu (2016-17) and was a Fulbright Specialist for the Czech Republic (2017). Weiss was a member of the U.S. National Committee to the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (2000-05). He has been the technical co-chair of the Foundations of Nanoscience Meetings and thematic chair of the Spring 2009 and Fall 2018 ACS National Meetings. He was the senior editor of IEEE Electron Device Letters for molecular and organic electronics (2005-07), and was the founding editor-in-chief of ACS Nano (2007-2021). At ACS Nano, he won the Association of American Publishers, Professional Scholarly Publishing PROSE Award for 2008, Best New Journal in Science, Technology, and Medicine, and ISI’s Rising Star Award a record ten times. Paul Weiss Lab

Gerard C. L. Wong, PhD

Department of Bioengineering
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics
California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA

Dr. Wong received his BS and PhD in physics at Caltech and Berkeley. He joined the Materials Science Department and Physics Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2000 and was recruited to UCLA in 2009. His research recognition includes a Beckman Young Investigator Award and an Alfred P Sloan Fellowship. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, and a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Wong Lab

Xia Yang, PhD

Professor, Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology
Professor, Department of Molecular & Medical Pharmacology
Vice Chair, Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Physiology (MCIP) PhD Interdepartmental Program
Vice Chair, Computational and Systems Biology (CaSB) Undergraduate Interdepartmental Program

Dr. Yang's lab specializes in developing computational tools to integrate multiomics data (genetic, transcriptome, epigenome, proteome, metabolome, and microbiome) and model multitissue multiomics networks underlying complex diseases. She received her PhD in molecular genetics and bioinformatics from Georgia State University and then did postdoctoral training in systems genetics at UCLA. She was subsequently senior research scientist at Rosetta Inpharmatics/Merck & Co and then principal scientist and director of Systems Biology at Sage Bionetworks, before returning to UCLA as a faculty. Her experiences in both industry and academia enable a broad research portfolio from computational tool development and disease mechanism investigations to drug discovery and environmental exposure studies using multiomics approaches. Yang Lab