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Photo of Omai Garner, PhD
Omai Garner, PhD
Assistant Professor, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, UCLA

Dr. Omai Garner is a Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor and Associate Director of Clinical Microbiology in the UCLA Health System. He received his PhD from UC San Diego in Biomedical Sciences. He was a Postdoctoral Clinical Microbiology CPEP Fellow in the Department of Pathology at UCLA, and a former McNair Scholar. Dr. Garner is Board Certified by the American Board of Medical Microbiology. Dr. Garner’s research focuses on novel Point of Care Devices for infectious disease diagnosis in the developing world. Dr. Garner was always taught that science, at its best, is a collaborative process. “It is collaboration, and not competition, which produces the most significant advances in biomedical research.” He also serves as the Chairman of the Board for the Social Justice Learning Institute of Inglewood, California.

Relevant Recent Publications

  1. Cellphone-Based Hand-Held Microplate Reader for Point-of-Care Testing of Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assays.
    Berg B, Cortazar B, Tseng D, Ozkan H, Feng S, Wei Q, Chan RY, Burbano J, Farooqui Q, Lewinski M, Di Carlo D, Garner OB, Ozcan A.
    ACS Nano. 2015 Aug 25;9(8):7857-66
  2. Comparison of the Vitek MS and Bruker Microflex LT MALDI-TOF MS platforms for routine identification of commonly isolated bacteria and yeast in the clinical microbiology laboratory.
    Deak E, Charlton CL, Bobenchik AM, Miller SA, Pollett S, McHardy IH, Wu MT, Garner OB.
    Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2015 Jan;81(1):27-33.
  3. Detection of human viral pathogens: conventional versus molecular approaches.
    Wu MT, Garner OB.
    MLO Med Lab Obs. 2014 Jul;46(7):8, 10-2; quiz 14
Photo of Nandita Garud, PhD
Nandita Garud, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA

Dr. Nandita Garud is an assistant professor in the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCLA where she leads a computational group studying how bacteria in the human microbiome evolve. In recent work, Garud and her collaborators have quantified the evolutionary dynamics of roughly 40 prevalent species of gut bacteria. They have found that gut bacteria can evolve in healthy humans on six-month time scales, but that over our lifetimes, the bacteria inside us are completely replaced. These results suggest that gut bacteria can evolve on time scales relevant to our health, but that they do not become so personalized that they cannot be replaced. Inspired by this work, the Garud lab continues to probe the mode and tempo of evolution in the gut microbiome using a population genetics framework.

Relevant Recent Publications

  • Garud NR*, Good BH*, Hallatschek O, and Pollard KS. “Evolutionary dynamics of bacteria in the gut microbiome within and across hosts.” PLoS Biology (2019). *equal contributors.
  • Garud NR, Messer P, Buzbas E, and Petrov D. “Soft selective sweeps are the primary mode of adaptation in Drosophila.” PLoS Genetics 11: e1005004 (2015).
  • Garud NR and Petrov DA. “Elevated linkage disequilibrium and signatures of soft sweeps are common in Drosophila melanogaster.” Genetics (2016).
Photo of Arpana Gupta, PhD
Arpana Gupta, PhD
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Division of Digestive Diseases, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress

Dr. Arpana (Annie) Gupta completed a PhD degree in Psychology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, followed by an APA accredited clinical internship at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical Center. After coming to UCLA she joined the neuroimaging and psychophysiological cores at the Center for Neurobiology of Stress in 2012. She is currently Adjunct Assistant Professor, where she specializes in research that investigates the influence of environmental factors on shaping neurobiological phenotypes associated with stress and pain-based diseases such as obesity and functional gastroenterological disorders (FGIDs) [vuvlodynia, irritable bowel syndrome]. Her programmatic line of research broadly defined focuses on the bidirectional interactions between the brain and peripheral factors (in particular immune factors and gut microbiota-related metabolites) and how these interactions are modified by vulnerability (early adversity, race, adult stress, socioeconomic status [SES], diet) and protective (resilience, exercise) factors in contributing to the underlying pathophysiology of these disorders. She is dedicated to using advanced automated and mathematical analytic techniques, which allows her to integrate information from multiple data sources, while accounting for sex and race differences. Her goal is to develop a comprehensive model that provides a powerful and sensitive biomarker that will increase biological readouts of these stress and pain-based disorders, thus bringing to the forefront those individuals who are at increased risk as a result of disadvantaged backgrounds.

Relevant Recent Publications

  1. Gupta A, Mayer EA, Sanmiguel CP, Van Horn JD, Woodworth D, Ellingson BM, Fling C, Love A, Tillisch K, Labus JS. Patterns of Brain Structural Connectivity Differentiate Lean from Overweight Subjects. Neuroimage-Clinical, 2015. 13(7): 506-17. doi:10.1016/j.nicl.2015.01.005 [Epub Ahead of Print]. PMCID: PMC4338207.
  2. Mayer EA, Tillisch K, Gupta A. Gut-Brain Axis and the Microbiota. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2015; 125(3): 926-38. doi: 10.1172/JCI76304. [Epub ahead of Print]. PMID: 25689247.
  3. Sanmiguel CP, Gupta A, Mayer EA. Gut Microbiome and Obesity: A Plausible Explanation for Obesity. Current Obesity Reports. 2015. In press.

Active Funding in Microbiome-Related Research

Funding Agency/Grant Number:American Psychological Fellowship – Visionary Grant
Title:“Mind Altering Microorganisms: Sex and Race Differences in the Influence of Gut Microbiota on Brain Signatures in Obese Healthy Control Subjects”
Goals:The goal of the proposed study is to assess sex (males versus females) and race (African Americans versus non-Hispanic White Americans) differences in the influence of gut-microbiota on brain signatures in obese subjects

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