Emeran Mayer

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Professor Emeran Mayer

Emeran Anton Mayer (born July 26, 1950 in Traunstein, Germany) is a gastroenterologist, lecturer, author, editor, neuroscientist, documentary filmmaker and a professor in the Departments of Medicine, Physiology and Psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA He is a pioneer of medical research into brain gut interactions[1] [2]

Early years[edit]

Mayer became interested in mind-brain-body interactions in health and chronic disease as a college student at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, which inspired his decision to go to medical school at Ludwig Maximilian University Medical School His interest in documentary filmmaking galvanized this fascination and resulted in his journeys to the Yanoama tribes in the Orinoco region, and the Asmat people in Irian Jaya. There, he filmed and studied native healers while exploring his suspicion that the interactions between the gut and the brain transcend culture and time.[3]


Mayer’s research career began at the Institute of Physiology in Munich, with a dissertation on the mechanisms by which the brain affects coronary blood flow in the heart during psychological stress. After moving to the US, he completed his specialty training as a gastroenterologist at UCLA and from then on focused his work on basic, translational, and clinical aspects of brain gut interactions. He has 30 years of experience studying clinical and neurobiological aspects of how the digestive and nervous systems interact in health and disease.[4] In the United States Mayer found strong support from the U.S. government via National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants.[5]

Mayer is the Executive Director of the Oppenheimer Family Center for Neurobiology of Stress, and Co-director of the CURE: Digestive Diseases Research Center at UCLA. As one of the pioneers and leading researchers in the role of mind-brain-body interactions in health and chronic disease, his scientific contributions to U.S. national and international communities in the broad area of basic and translational enteric neurobiology with wide-ranging applications in clinical GI diseases and disorders is unparalleled. He has a longstanding interest in ancient healing traditions and affords them a level of respect rarely found in Western Medicine. He has personally practiced different mind based strategies, including Zen meditation, Ericksonian hypnosis, and autogenic training. More recently he has focused on several new areas of brain gut interactions, including the role of food addiction in obesity, the role of the brain in inflammatory bowel disorders such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, and on the role of the gut microbiota in influencing brain structure and function, as he explained on National Public Radio. Most recently, Dr. Mayer spoke at UCLA TEDx on The Mysterious Origins of Gut Feelings.


  • Basic And Clinical Aspects Of Chronic Abdominal Pain New York: Elsevier, 1993. ISBN 978-0444894373
  • The Biological Basis Of Mind Body Interactions Progress in Brain Research, Vol. 122, Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2000.
  • Functional Chronic Pain Syndromes: Similarities And Differences In Clinical Presentation And Pathophysiology Seattle, IASP Press, 2009
  • Mind-Gut Connection: How the Astonishing Dialogue Taking Place in Our Bodies Impacts Health, Weight, and Mood HarperCollins, 2015.


Mayer lives in Los Angeles, California. He is married to Minou Mayer and has one son, Emeran Dylan Mayer.


  1. ^ Mayer EA, Baldi JP. Can regulatory peptides be regarded as words of a biological language. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 261:G171-G184, 1991
  2. ^ Mayer EA. Clinical Perspectives: Irritable bowel syndrome. NEJM 358:1692-9, 2008
  3. ^ Rhee SH, Pothoulakis C, Mayer EA. Principles and clinical implications of the brain-gut-enteric microbiota axis. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 6:306-14, 2009
  4. ^ Mayer EA. Gut feelings: the emerging biology of gut-brain communication. Nat Rev Neurosci 12:453-66, 2011
  5. ^ Jarcho J, Mayer EA, Jian K, London ED. Pain, affective symptoms, and cognitive deficits in patients with cerebral dopamine dysfunction. Pain 2012 Feb. 29 [Epub ahead of print]