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Photo of Shaily Mahendra, PhD
Shaily Mahendra, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UCLA

Dr. Shaily Mahendra is an Associate Professor in the UCLA Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She received Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley, and post-doctoral fellowship from Rice University. Her research interests lie in the area of microbial interactions with chemical contaminants and nanoparticles for applications ranging from ecotoxicology to biodegradation to disinfection. Bacteria and fungi serve as useful indicators of potential toxicity to higher organisms and ecosystem health, but they can also detoxify a variety of environmental pollutants. Conversely, antimicrobial materials can be used for disinfection applications. Her laboratory pursues research projects employing microbiological, molecular biological, and isotopic tools to (a) characterize microbial communities in engineered and natural environments, (b) optimize biological processes to improve the performance of wastewater treatment or bioremediation systems, (c) explore production of biofuels from industrial wastewater, and (d) investigate mechanisms of transformation, toxicity, and trophic transfer of nanoparticles. Thus, a comprehensive study of the implications and applications of the biotechnology and nanotechnology revolutions will enable us to use their benefits without environmental and public health liabilities.

Photo of Emeran Mayer, MD, PhD
Emeran Mayer, MD, PhD
Director, Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress; Division of Digestive Diseases, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Dr. Emeran Mayer is a Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Physiology and Psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Executive Director of the Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress, and Co-director of the CURE: Digestive Diseases Research Center at UCLA. He is a world renowned gastroenterologist and neuroscientist with 30 years of experience in the study of clinical and neurobiological aspects of how the digestive system and the nervous system interact in health and disease, and his work has been continuously supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He is currently principal investigator on 4 NIH grants including a center grant from ORWH/NIDDK on sex differences in brain gut interactions, a consortium grant by NIDDK on pelvic pain syndromes, a RO1 grant on the effects of cognitive behavioral therapy on brain signatures in IBS and a ROI grant on brain gut microbiome interactions in inflammatory and functional GI disorders (both from NIDDK). He has published over 320 peer-reviewed articles (average H index 90), including 100 chapters and reviews, co-edited four books, and organized several interdisciplinary symposia in the area of visceral pain and mind body interactions. His current research focus is on the role of the gut microbiota in modulating brain gut interactions, and their role in emotion regulation, chronic visceral pain and obesity.

Relevant Recent Publications

  1. Labus JS, Naliboff B, Kilpatrick L, Liu C, Ashe-McNalley C, dos Santos IR, Alaverdyan M, Woodworth D, Gupta A, Ellingson BM, Tillisch K, Mayer EA. Pain and Interoception Imaging Network (PAIN): A multimodal, multisite, brain-imaging repository for chronic somatic and visceral pain disorders. Neuroimage, 2015 Apr 19. pii: S1053-8119(15)00308-0. doi10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.04.018. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 25902408
  2. Mayer EA, Knight R, Mazmanian SK, Cryan JF, Tillisch K. Gut Microbes and the Brain: Paradigm Shift in Neuroscience. J Neurosci Nov 12;34(46):15490-6, 2014. PMCID: PMC4228144
  3. Mayer EA, Labus JS, Tillisch K, Cole DE, Baldi P. Towards a Systems View of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015, in press
Photo of Andrey Mazarati, MD, PhD
Andrey Mazarati, MD, PhD
Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Neurology Division, UCLA

Andrey Mazarati obtained his MD degree from Odessa Medical University in Ukraine, and PhD from the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences. His postdoctoral training was at the Department of Neurology, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), under the mentorship of Dr. Claude Wasterlain. Since 1997, Dr. Mazarati has been holding academic positions at UCLA, beginning from Junior Faculty, and presently he is Professor at the Department of Pediatrics.
Early scientific interests included the role of bioactive peptides in epilepsy and epileptogenesis; pharmacoresistance and treatment of refractory status epilepticus.
For the past 12 years, main research interest is mechanisms of neurobehavioral comorbidities of epilepsy, with the emphasis on depression, ADHD, anxiety and autism. Dr. Mazarati has been exploring how epilepsy-triggered brain inflammation affects monoaminergic transmission and dependent comorbidities; and how inherent vulnerabilities in monoaminergic circuits translate in neurobehavioral disorders associated with epilepsy.
Most recent studies include the role of gut microbiome in epilepsy- how inherent variabilities in the gut microbiome composition affect predisposition to epilepsy; changes to microbiome composition and function occurring with the development of epilepsy; and how these changes affect the course of epilepsy.

Relevant Recent Publications

  1. Kumar U, Medel-Matus JS, Redwine HM, Shin D, Hensler JG, Sankar R, Mazarati A (2016) Effects of serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors on depressive- and impulsive-like behaviors and on monoamine transmission in experimental temporal lobe epilepsy. Epilepsia, 57:506-515
  2. Medel-Matus J-S, Shin D, Sankar R, Mazarati A. (2017) Inherent vulnerabilities in monoaminergic pathways predict the emergence of depressive impairments in an animal model of chronic epilepsy. Epilepsia, 58: e116-e121
  3. Medel-Matus J-S, Shin D, Dorfman E, Sankar R, Mazarati A. (2018). Facilitation of kindling epileptogenesis by chronic stress may be mediated by intestinal microbiome. Epilepsia Open, 3:290-294
Photo of Karin Michels, ScD, PhD
Karin Michels, ScD, PhD
Professor and Chair, Department of Epidemiology, Fielding School of Public Health

Dr. Michels is Professor and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology in the Fielding School of Public Health. Prior to her appointment at UCLA, she was an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, in Boston, MA. She received her doctorate in epidemiology from Harvard University and her doctorate in Biostatistics from Cambridge University, UK. Dr. Michels has expertise in epidemiologic methods, and epigenetic, nutritional, and cancer epidemiology. She is a co-founder of the new field of epigenetic epidemiology with her research focusing on the role of epigenetics in the developmental origins of health and disease (DoHaD).

Under the umbrella of the DoHaD hypothesis, Dr. Michels is involved in a number of large cohort studies. She is a principal investigator of the Early Life exposures in Latina Adolescents (ELLA) cohort, which focuses on the role of early life environmental chemical exposures and risk of breast cancer and the Harvard Epigenetic Birth Cohort (HEBC), which consists of 1,941 mother-infant dyads recruited to evaluate the role of epigenetics in the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease.

Dr. Michels will be incorporating the microbiome into some of these ongoing studies, with the goal of enhancing our understanding of the human microbiome in early life health and development. Specifically, she and Dr. Leah Stiemsma, a post-doctoral fellow in the Michels lab, will be focusing on three projects: the impact of the placental microbiome in infant health and development, the role of the mammary microbiome in breast cancer, and analysis of the microbiome as a mediator between diet and health.

Recent Relevant Publications

  1. Binder AM, LaRocca J, Lesseur C, Marsit CJ, Michels KB. Epigenome-wide and transcriptome-wide analyses reveal gestational diabetes is associated with alterations in the human leukocyte antigen complex. Clin Epigenetics. 2015;7:79.
  2. Non AL, Binder AM, Kubzansky LD, Michels KB. Genome-wide DNA methylation in neonates exposed to maternal depression, anxiety, or SSRI medication during pregnancy. Epigenetics. 2014;9(7):964-72.
  3. Harris HR, Willett WC, Vaidya RL, Michels KB. An adolescent and early adulthood dietary pattern associated with inflammation and the incidence of breast cancer. Cancer Res. 2017;77(5):1179 – 87.
  4. Barrow TM, Barault L, Ellsworth RE, Harris HR, Binder AM, Valente AL, Shriver CD, Michels, KB. Aberrant methylation of imprinted genes is associated with negative hormone receptor status in invasive breast cancer. Int J Cancer. 2015;137(3):537-47.
  5. Stiemsma LT, Arrieta MC, Dimitriu PA, Cheng J, Thorson L, Lefebvre DL, Azad MB, Subbarao P, Mandhane P, Becker A, Sears MR, Kollmann TR, CHILD Study Investigators, Mohn WW, Finlay BB*, Turvey SE*. Shifts in Lachnospira and Clostridium sp. in the 3-month stool microbiome are associated with preschool age asthma. Clin Sci (Lond). 2016;130(23):2199-207.
  6. Arrieta MC*, Stiemsma LT*, Dimitriu PA, Thorson L, Russell S, Yurist-Doutsch S, Kuzeljevic B, Gold MJ, Britton HM, Lefebvre DL, Subbarao P, Mandhane P, Becker A, McNagny KM, Sears MR, Kollmann, T, Child Study Investigators, Mohn WW, Turvey SE*, Finlay BB*. Early infancy microbial and metabolic alterations affect risk of childhood asthma. Sci Transl Med. 2015;7(307):307ra152. *Equal contribution.
Photo of Jeff F. Miller, PhD
Jeff F. Miller, PhD
Director, California NanoSystems Institute, Fred Kavli Chair in NanoSystems Sciences, Professor, Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics, Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics, UCLA

Dr. Miller’s laboratory studies molecular mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis and the evolution of functional diversity in bacteria and bacteriophage. Multidisciplinary approaches are applied to a variety of interests including: i) biochemical and genetic studies of signal transduction networks that regulate the infectious cycles of Bordetella pertussis, which causes whooping cough, and Burkholderia pseudomallei, which causes life threatening systemic diseases, ii) alterations in host cell signaling pathways by Bordetella and Burkholderia, iv) biofilm formation and the hyper-colonization phenotype of Staphylococcus epidermiditis, and v) microevolutionary adaptation by diversity-generating retroelements, which function to introduce vast amounts of diversity in bacterial target proteins. Our research group includes graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and physician-scientists with expertise in computational biology and modeling, bacterial genomics, bacterial physiology, cell biology, neonatology, and infectious diseases. Numerous former trainees hold tenured or tenure-track academic positions at research universities. Since joining UCLA in 1990, we have received continuous funding from the NIH, as well as support from the American Cancer Society, the US Department of Agriculture, the Pew Foundation, and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency of the Department of Defense.

Photo of Anna-Barbara Moscicki, MD
Anna-Barbara Moscicki, MD
Chief, Adolescent Medicine; Professor of Pediatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Dr. Moscicki is Professor of Pediatrics at UCLA, Division Chief of Adolescent Medicine, Dr. Moscicki’s career has focused on adolescent gynecology and STI research with a specific focus in Human Papillomavirus, HIV infection and mucosal immunology. She trained in STI epidemiology and mucosal immunology. Dr. Moscicki has been the PI of a natural history study of HPV in adolescents and young women since 1990, one of the longest running HPV cohorts of which she was awarded an NIH MERIT. She has over 200,000 stored specimens from this cohort including cervical lavages, cervical biopsies, anal swabs, oral gargles, serum and blood clots. She serves on numerous national and international committees, including the W.H.O., N.I.H., American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, and the American Cancer Society. Her work was influential in forming the new cervical cancer screening guidelines and triage of abnormal cytology in young women. She is also involved in health outcomes in perinatally HIV infected children including sexual risk behaviors, substance use, oral health, microbiomes, and HPV.

She has been involved in HIV research for over 20 years including member of the Adolescent Medicine HIV/AIDS Research Network, Adolescent Therapeutic Network , IMPAACT and PHACS. In PHACS, she is a member of the scientific Leadership Group, and co-chair of the Adolescent Working Group and co-PI of the Oral Health study in PHACS which focuses on the role of the microbiome in oral health.

Relevant Recent Publications

  1. Daud, II, Scott ME, Ma Y, Shiboski S, Farhat S, Moscicki AB. Association between toll-like receptors expression and human papillomavirus type 16 persistence. Int J Cancer 2011;128(4):879-86.
  2. Hwang LY, Scott M, Ma Y, Moscicki AB. Higher levels of cervicovaginal inflammatory and regulatory cytokines and chemokines in healthy young women with immature cervical epithelium. Journal of Reproductive Immunology 2011; 88:66-71.
  3. Moscicki AB, Kaul R, Ma Y, Scott ME, Daud, II, Bukusi EA, Shiboski S, Rebbapragada A, Huibner S, Cohen CR. Measurement of mucosal biomarkers in a phase 1 trial of intravaginal 3% StarPharma LTD 7013 gel (VivaGel) to assess expanded safety. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2012;59(2):134-140.
  4. Weinberg A, Song LY, Saah A, Brown M, Moscicki AB, Meyer III WA, Bryan J, Levin MJ for the IMPAACT/PACTG P1047 team. Humoral, mucosal and cell-mediated immunity against vaccine and non-vaccine genotypes after administration of quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine to HIV-infected children. Journal of Infectious Diseases. 2012; 206(8):1309-1318.
  5. Scott ME, Shvetsov YB, Thompson PJ, Hernandez BY, Zhu X, Wilkens LR, Killeen J, Vo D, Moscicki AB, Goodman MT. Cervical Cytokines and Clearance of Incident Human Papillomavirus Infection: Hawaii HPV Cohort Study. International Journal of Cancer. 2013; 133(5):1187-96.
  6. Moscicki AB, Ma Y, Farhat S, Jay J, Hanson E, Benningfield S, Jonte J, Godwin-Medina C, Wilson R, Shiboski S. Natural history of anal human papillomavirus infection in heterosexual women and risks associated with persistence. Clin Infect Dis 2014;58(6):804-11
  7. Scott ME, Ma Y, Farhat S, Moscicki AB. Expression of nucleic acid-sensing Toll-like receptors predicts HPV16 clearance associated with an E6-directed cell-mediated response. Int J Cancer. Oct 23 2014. [e-pub ahead of print]

Active Funding in Microbiome-Related Research

Funding Agency/Grant Number:NIH NCI R37CA051323-26
Title:“Natural history of HPV”
Funding Agency/Grant Number:NIH NICHD U01 HD052102
Title:“Oral Health in Perinatally HIV infected adolescents”

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