Emeran A Mayer, M.D., Ph.D.

Mailing Address:
10833 Le Conte Ave
CHS 42-210, MC 737818
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Work Address:
100 UCLA Medical Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Director, UCLA Gail and Gerald Oppenheimer Family Center for Neurobiology of Stress
Professor, Psychology, Medicine
Co-Director, CURE: Digestive Diseases Research Center
Professor, Physiology
Research Interests
My research program is part of the UCLA Center for Neurobiology of Stress (www.uclacns.org) which comprises a wide range of basic and translational research programs under the general theme of stress, pain and emotion. These programs range from cellular and molecular studies into the transduction, transmission and modulation of pain, in the molecular mechanisms of the central stress response, to human studies into brain, autonomic and neuroendocrine responses to emotional and pain stimuli. My personal research interest is focused on identifying and characterizing brain circuits concerned with the encoding and modulation of pain and emotional stimuli in health and in various patient populations with chronic idiopathic pain syndromes, such as irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia and interstititial cystitis. Using a wide range of investigative techniques (fMRI, PET, ERP, connectivity modeling, genetic imaging and pharmacologic imaging) our group aims to identify the role of genetic and environmental factors (including early life events) on the responsiveness of arousal and pain modulation circuits, identify possible alterations in specific signaling systems within these circuits (NK1, CRF1 and D2/D3 receptors) and identify structural differences with affected brain regions. We are correlating these brain circuit alterations with alterations in perception and in autonomic responses to various stimuli. Imaging studies are performed both in human subjects and rodents. We are applying similar investigative techniques to identify the biological underpinnings of pharmacological and mind based therapies for chronic idiopathic pain disorders.

Dr. Mayer received his MD degree from the Ludwig Maximilian’s University in Munich, Germany, in 1976, completed his residency at the Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, Canada, and his GI fellowship training at the UCLA/VA Wadsworth Training Program. Dr. Mayer has a career long interest in clinical and research aspects of brain body interactions, with a longstanding focus on the bidirectional communication between the brain and the gut in health and disease. He is recognized as one of the leading investigators in the world of brain gut microbiome interactions in GI disorders, including functional and inflammatory bowel disorders, ingestive behavior/obesity. He has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1989.

He has been PI of a NIH Center grant on sex differences in functional GI disorders for the past 15 years, is PI on a NIDDK funded consortium grant of brain bladder interactions, Co-PI on a grant by the Department of Defense on brain gut microbiome interactions in autism spectrum disorders, and PI on a RO1 grant on brain gut interactions in IBS.  He has published 344 peer-reviewed articles in the leading GI and Neuroscience journals, including 100 reviews and book chapters and has co-edited three books. His articles have been cited 44, 350 times and his h-factor is 105. He has recently published a book for the general public on brain gut microbiome interactions (The Mind Gut Connection) which has been translated into 14 languages.

Dr. Mayer is the director of the G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience, and co-director of the CURE: Digestive Diseases Research Center. He was received numerous awards, most recently the Distinguished Mentor Award from the American Gastroenterological Association and the Ismar Boas Medal of the German Gastroenterological Association. He has been a regular member of the NIDDK CIMG study section from 2010-2015, has been president of the Functional Brain Gut Group, and Associate Editor of Gastroenterology.

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