Yvette Tache, Ph.D.
Yvette Tache, Ph.D., from the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, received VA's 2014 Middleton Award for her contributions to the scientific understanding of central nervous system control of peripheral autonomic pathways that influence gastrointestinal function.
Her research focuses on clinical disorders of stress-related autonomic dysfunction. These include "functional disorders" such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, and gastroparesis. These disorders are major causes of illness and impaired quality of life in the Veterans, as well as the general population.
Tache has made fundamental contributions to the understanding of the chemical transmission between central nervous system cells and peripheral autonomic pathways. She has been a key leader in the development of the relatively new field of neurogastroenterology—basically, the study of brain-gut interactions.
Her work has translated the knowledge of these brain-gut pathways to experimental models of clinical disorders, such as IBS, and the development of treatment approaches for a number of stress-related GI functional disorders.
Tache, the first woman to receive the Middleton Award since 1962. Among other academic roles, she is the associate director of the CURE: Digestive Diseases Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, and co-director of UCLA's Gail and Gerald Oppenheimer Family Center for Neurobiology of Stress. Her other awards include the UCLA Woman of Science Award, the NIH Merit Award, and VA's Research Career Scientist Award.
The William S. Middleton Award is the highest honor from VA Biomedical Laboratory Research and Development. It goes to a senior VA research scientist in recognition of outstanding scientific contributions and achievements in the areas of biomedical and behavioral research relevant to Veterans' health care. Established in 1960, the award honors William S. Middleton, M.D., a former VA chief medical director who was instrumental in initiating and expanding VA medical research.