Elizabeth J. Videlock, MD, PhD

Key investigator

  • Elizabeth J. Videlock, MD, PhD

The gut-brain axis in Parkinson's disease

Exciting new findings have identified a role for the gastrointestinal tract in the pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease (PD). My laboratory studies the gut-brain axis in PD using clinical samples, animal models and isolated cells from PD models. Our goal is to identify gastrointestinal biomarkers and therapeutic targets that may eventually allow early diagnosis of PD and prevention of motor symptoms.

UCLA research study: The gut in Parkinson's disease

Drs. Ming Guo (Neurology) and Elizabeth Videlock (Digestive Diseases) are conducting a research study that aims to investigate the role of the gut in Parkinson’s Disease (PD), specifically the role of two genes called PINK1 and PRKN in the lining of the intestine. The purpose of this study is to collect blood samples and pieces of tissue (biopsies) from the colon in order to identify differences in the gut between Parkinson’s Disease and controls. Learn more about the study and how to particiate

Current research projects

  • Gene expression profiling of the gut-brain axis in mice overexpressing human wild type alpha-synuclein (ASO)
  • The role of colonic inflammation and enteric glial cells in PD

Funding and support

Current Funding

  • NIH-NIDDK K08 grant award 2024 - “Intestinal Mitochondrial Dysfunction and the Gut-Brain-Immune Axis in Models of Parkinson’s Disease.”
  • UCLA CTSI Institutional KL2 Translational Science Award 2023 - "Parkinson's Disease (PD) May Begin in the Gastrointestinal Tract." The overall goal is to identify intestinal pathogenic mechanisms in PD that may lead to the identification of gut-biomarkers for early diagnosis as well as gut-directed therapies to halt progression of disease in the premotor phase.
  • Chan Zuckerberg Initiative / Neurogeneration Challenge The Role of Pink1/Parkin in the Intestinal Epithelium
  • UCLA Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases

Completed Funding

  • CURE: Digestive Diseases Research Center Pilot and Feasibility Studies (P30 DK41301)
  • UCLA Claude Pepper Older Americans Independence Center Rapid Pilot Program


  • The Banner Sun Health Research Institute Brain and Body Donation Program of Sun City, Arizona which is supported by the NIH (U24 NS072026, P30 AG19610), the Arizona Department of Health Services and Biomedical Research Commission and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, for provision of colon tissue
  • The NIH Loan Repayment Program
  • The Barbara and Joel Marcus Foundation GI Fellowship Seed Grant
  • The UCLA GI Fellowship Training Grant (T32DK07180)

In the news

  • Dr. Videlock receives NIH-NIDDK K08 grant (May 2024)
    • Dr. Videlock, health sciences assistant clinical professor, was awarded a K08 project grant award under the NIH-NIDDK Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases Extramural Research Program. This 5-year award of $854,160 supports Dr. Videlock’s research on “Intestinal Mitochondrial Dysfunction and the Gut-Brain-Immune Axis in Models of Parkinson’s Disease.” Her work aims to identify intestinal pathogenic mechanisms that may lead to the discovery of gut biomarkers for early diagnosis and gut-directed therapies to halt disease progression in the premotor phase of Parkinson's. The project will utilize UCLA's expertise in gastroenterology, neurodegenerative disease, and mitochondrial biology to investigate the gut-brain-immune axis and the impact of mitochondrial dysfunction in the intestinal epithelium. The research will leverage a range of in vivo and in vitro models, including mouse overexpression of alpha-synuclein and intestinal organoids, to advance the understanding of how enteric neuron pathology and impaired mitophagy in the gut epithelium may contribute to Parkinson's disease pathogenesis.
  • Dr. Videlock named AGA FORWARD scholar
    • The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) announced members of the third cohort of their Fostering Opportunities Resulting in Workforce and Research Diversity (FORWARD) Program. The FORWARD Program prepares physician-scientists from underrepresented populations for successful careers in academic medicine. The FORWARD Program is structured around small cohorts, expanded this year to include 14 mentees participating in a curriculum spanning two years supported by 14 near-peer mentors and 14 experienced mentors. Dr. Videlock is a health sciences assistant clinical professor of medicine. 
  • Dr. Videlock receives neurodegeneration collaborative pairs pilot project award
    • Dr. Videlock received a Neurodegeneration Collaborative Pairs Pilot Project Award of $127,500 from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to study the role of Pink1/Parkin in the intestinal epithelium in collaboration with Ming Guo, MD, PhD, UCLA Department of Neurology. The Parkinson’s associated genes, Pink1/Parkin, have been implicated in mitochondrial function of neurons, but are also expressed in the gut, although little is known about their functional role. Drs. Videlock and Guo will use colon biopsy-derived tissue cultures and organoids to investigate the role of Pink1/Parkin signaling in mitochondrial function in the intestinal epithelium.The project is listed on the Neurogeneration Challenge Network website.
  • UCLA STAR Program alumni embark on their careers as clinician-scientists

About Dr. Videlock

Dr. Elizabeth (Beth) 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.

View Dr. Videlock's complete list of published work