Mental Illness and Pain

Mental Illness and Pain

Mental illnesses and physical conditions often associated with psychosocial factors, such as chronic overlapping pain conditions (COPC), have enormous individual, societal and economic impacts. Although there have been tremendous efforts aimed at treating, or even preventing, mental illnesses, the biological mechanisms underlying these conditions remain poorly understood.

The brain gut microbiome (BGM) system has been identified as a pathway that could affect mental health and COPC. This program will investigate the mechanisms underlying these effects and investigate how the BGM system is affected by environments that increase risk for mental illness and COPC. It will also explore the utility of the BGM system as a prognostic and diagnostic indicator of mental illness and COPC and, ultimately, help guide the development of microbiome-targeted, individualized treatments and preventions for mental illnesses.

Program Leads

Bridget Callaghan, PhD (co-lead)

Bridget L. Callaghan, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
Division of Life Sciences, UCLA College of Letters and Sciences

Bruce Naliboff, PhD

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.)