Center for Neurovisceral Sciences and Women’s Health (SCORE)

Center for Neurovisceral Sciences and Women’s Health (SCORE)

This program, funded by a National Institutes of Health SCORE (Specialized Center of Research Excellence) grant, will explore the role of the gut microbiome in the modulation of brain gut microbiome (BGM) interactions and the role of female sex hormones in these interactions. It will focus on two of the most common disorders of the gastrointestinal tract: irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and chronic functional constipation, which are both more prevalent in women than men. Their pathophysiology is only partially understood and the majority of patients are dissatisfied with current treatments, whether pharmacologic, non-pharmacologic or dietary.  

Extensive research supports a model for IBS that is based on altered bidirectional interactions between gut and brain, with a modulatory role of the gut microbiota. 

The SCORE program will investigate the theory that estrogen-BGM interactions are partly responsible for the increased prevalence and severity of IBS in women and for variations in symptoms associated with hormonal fluctuations in women. It will also explore the role of estrogen in chronic constipation.
Given the success of mind-targeting treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy in easing IBS symptoms, this program will look into the neurobiologic mechanism underlying this response. It will also identify new biomarkers and diagnostic tests and reveal possibilities for personalized therapies varying according to a woman’s stage of life.

Program Leads

Emeran A. Meyer MD

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

Lin Chang, MD

Lin Chang, MD
Vice Chief, Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases
Program Director, UCLA GI Fellowship Program
Co-Director, G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience
Professor of Medicine
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA