UCLA, CURE: Digestive Diseases Research Center investigators-led consortium will map the colon’s nervous system with a NIH $2.5 million grant

A consortium directed by UCLA’s, CURE Investigator, Dr. Yvette Taché, Department of Medicine, Digestive Diseases Division and VA West Los Angeles, has received a three-year, $2,509,465/year grant from the National Institutes of Health titled “Comprehensive Structural and Functional Mapping of Mammalian Colonic Nervous System.“ The award is from an NIH program called Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions, or SPARC, which supports research on “how the electrical signals of the peripheral nerves that connect the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body control internal organ function”.

The grant brings together investigators from five departments at UCLA and five outside Universities. CURE: DDRC project leaders at UCLA are Dr. Million Mulugeta (Department of Medicine, Digestive Diseases Division), Drs Lixin Wang and Pu-Qing Yuan (Department of Medicine, Digestive Diseases Division), Dr. Catia Sternini (Department of Medicine, Digestive Diseases Division & Department of Neurobiology). Other investigators include Dr James Dunn (Department of Surgery), Dr. Wentai Liu (Department of Bioengineering), and Dr. Scott Friedman (Institute of Digital Research and Education).  Principal investigators at the other universities are Dr. Viviana Gradinaru (Caltech Institute), Dr. Charless Fowlkes ( UC Irvine), Dr. Terrence Smith (University of Nevada-Reno), Drs. Michael Schemann and Gemma Mazzuoli-Weber  (Technical University of Munich, Germany), and Drs. Simon Brookes and Philip Dinning (Flinders University-Adelaide, Australia).

The information generated by the investigators of the consortium will allow targeting neural structures for more effective electroceuticals to treat colon diseases that are intractable to main stay therapies, said Yvette Taché, the study’s lead investigator, Associate Director of CURE:DDRC and Director of the Models Core and the Brain-Gut Interaction Laboratories at CURE: DDRC.