UCLA, CURE, and the VA West Los Angeles are the home to a successful, ongoing National Institutes of Health (NIH)-training grant which has been continuously funded for the last 43 years to train the next generation of academicians and physician-scientists in digestive diseases, digestive pathophysiology, and/or gastrointestinal (GI) health.
The T32 grant funds the career development and mentored research of GI fellows/MD/PhD trainees in related GI fields (pediatric GI, GI surgery, GI pathology, physiology, and nutrition) in basic, translational, clinical, and outcomes-health services research. Six training slots per year are funded by the NIH. Written applications for funding are prepared by prospective trainees and their chosen, experienced and funded mentors, from a pool of more than 35 NIH-approved mentors at UCLA, CURE, or the VA West LA (WLA VAMC). These written proposals are reviewed by an executive committee (EC) of ten senior investigators in a peer review process to determine which trainees will be funded. The directors of this T32 grant and the EC are all funded physician-scientists or basic scientists who are very knowledgeable about career development and mentoring others in GI research. They are also in leadership positions of departments or divisions at UCLA, CURE, or WLA VAMC and are committed to help train others. If approved by the NIH, trainees can be funded for career development (such as a PhD through the UCLA STAR program) and mentored laboratory research for one to three years. Over the last four decades, many successful academicians, physician-scientists, and leaders in GI have been trained with funding from this NIH T32 grant. The grant was competitively renewed for five more years with funding from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2021.
Principal Investigator - Dennis M. Jensen, MD
- Principal investigator for the past 17 years.
- Dr. Jensen is an endoscopic, clinical, and outcomes investigator funded by the NIH, the VA Merit Review Research Service, and GI Foundations.
- Dr. Jensen's research interests are in GI hemorrhage, general GI disorders, GI randomized controlled trials, and technology assessment.
- Recipient of the Rudolph V. Schindler Award (2012) - Dr. Jensen was the recipient of the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) Rudolph V. Schindler Award. This Schindler Award is the society's highest honor, recognizing the person whose accomplishments in endoscopic research, teaching or service to the society exemplifies the standards of Dr. Schindler.
Co-Director - Yvette Taché, PhD
- Renowned, basic science, laboratory researcher in neuroscience with NIH and VA grants
- Recipient of the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor (2016) - The Legion of Honor, established in 1802 by Napoléon Bonaparte, is the highest French order for military and civil merit. The award cited Dr. Taché's pioneering research contributing to the understanding of mechanisms involved in brain-gut interactions and neuro-gastroenterology, which has been integral to the development of therapies for numerous disorders linked to gastrointestinal issues.
- Recipient of the William S. Middleton Award (2015) - This award honors senior Veterans Health Administration investigators who have achieved international acclaim for accomplishments in areas of prime importance to the VA's research mission. Dr. Taché is the first female recipient of the Middleton Award since 1960.
- Recipient of the AGA Institute Council in Neurogastroenterology & Motility Section Research Mentor Award (2013) - The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) recognized Dr. Taché's dedication and contributions to training dozens of outstanding researchers and clinicians in the field of neurogastroenterology over a three-decade career at UCLA.
Co-Director - Joseph Pisegna, MD
- Clinical, translational, and basic science researcher with interests in neuroendocrine tumors, colon and pancreatic cancer, obesity and NASH.
- Dr. Pisegna has grants from the VA Merit Review Research Service, NIH, and VA cooperative trials branch.
- Dr. Pisegna is the chief, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Parenteral Nutrition at the Veterans Administration Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Wadsworth VA (WLA VAMC).
For administrative questions or instructions about applications as a prospective trainee or new mentor, contact Nok Suvanamas at [email protected].
For scientific, mentoring, or physician-scientist questions, contact Dr. Jensen at [email protected]