Swapna Joshi, PhD

Dr. Joshi’s research interests include bioinformatic analysis and integration of genomic, epigenetic, and microbial data to identify diagnostic biomarkers and mechanisms of gastrointestinal (GI) diseases, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).  

Key investigators

  • Swapna Joshi, PhD
  • Lin Chang, MD


UCLA Innovation Fund 2018
Drs. Swapna Joshi and Lin Chang were awarded UCLA innovation grant to develop DNA methylation-based biomarkers for diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and differential diagnosis of IBS from GI conditions that mimic IBS.

NIH R21 2016
This project is aimed at studying epigenetic alterations in PBMCs and colonic mucosa of IBS patients compared to healthy controls.

Current research projects

  • Epigenetic analysis of colonic mucosa in IBS patients compared to healthy controls
  • Colonic mucosal microbiota in IBS compared to healthy controls
  • Sex differences in DNA methylation profiles of IBS patients compared to healthy controls
  • MicroRNA expression in colonic mucosa of IBS compared to healthy controls
  • DNA methylation-based biomarkers for IBS diagnosis

Future directions

  • Study molecular mechanisms of IBS compared to healthy controls by integrating colonic mucosal DNA methylation, gene expression and microbial profiles
  • Develop DNA methylation-based biomarkers for diagnosis of GI disorders

Key publications (selected) - Full list on PubMed

  1. Mahurkar-Joshi S, Rankin CR, Videlock EJ, Soroosh A, Verma A, Khandadash A, Iliopoulos D, Pothoulakis C, Mayer EA, Chang L. The colonic mucosal MicroRNAs, MicroRNA-219a-5p, and MicroRNA-338-3p are downregulated in irritable bowel syndrome and are associated with barrier function and MAPK signalingGastroenterology. 2021 Jun;160(7):2409-2422.e19. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2021.02.040. Epub 2021 Feb 20. PubMed PMID: 33617890; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8169529
  2. Mahurkar-Joshi S, Chang L. Epigenetic mechanisms in irritable bowel syndromeFront Psychiatry. 2020;11:805. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00805. eCollection 2020. Review. PubMed PMID: 32922317; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7456856
  3. Videlock EJ, Mahurkar-Joshi S, Hoffman JM, Iliopoulos D, Pothoulakis C, Mayer EA, Chang L. Sigmoid colon mucosal gene expression supports alterations of neuronal signaling in irritable bowel syndrome with constipationAm J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2018 Jul 1;315(1):G140-G157. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00288.2017. Epub 2018 Mar 22. PubMed PMID: 29565640; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6109711
  4. Mahurkar S, Polytarchou C, Iliopoulos D, Pothoulakis C, Mayer EA, Chang L. Genome-wide DNA methylation profiling of peripheral blood mononuclear cells in irritable bowel syndromeNeurogastroenterol Motil. 2016 Mar;28(3):410-22. doi: 10.1111/nmo.12741. Epub 2015 Dec 16. PubMed PMID: 26670691; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4760882

About Dr. Joshi

Dr. Swapna Joshi is an adjunct assistant professor and co-leads research projects on developing epigenetic biomarkers for GI diseases. Dr. Joshi has published in several peer-reviewed journals including Nature and Gastroenterology. She serves as a review editor on several journals and guest editor on Frontiers in Physiology. Dr. Joshi is recipient of several awards including, American Journal of Gastroenterology (AGA) young investigator award for 2018 and 2019.