emeran_by_loretoEmeran Mayer was born in a small town in Bavaria where his family ran a Confectionary business since 1873. After deciding against taking over the family business, he finished Medical School at the Ludwig Maximilian’s University in Munich, completed his residency training at the Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, Canada before moving to Los Angeles.

There he worked under the late John H. Walsh to study the role of gut brain interactions at the prestigious Center for Ulcer Research and Education and completed his specialty training in Gastroenterology at UCLA.

Mayer has had a passion for adventures, moutaineering and documentary film making throughout his life. During his college years, he participated in several film expeditions, including stays with the Yanomamis in Venezuela, and the Asmat and Dani people in Irian Jaya, Indonesia. He climbed some of the highest mountains in the US (Denali), South America (Aconcagua in Argentina, Chimborazzo in Ecuador, Pico de Orizaba in Mexico), and Europe (Mont Blanc). In 2015, he was involved with the production of a film about a new ecological view of health and disease, In Search of Balance.

Throughout his career – both in his research and clinical practice, Mayer has pursued a Buddhist philosophy of interconnectedness, balance and compassion. He has explored ancient healing practices of primal people around the world, of Native Americans and those in the Traditional Chinese and Aryuvedic tradition and has always strived to integrate the wisdom of these traditions with the discoveries of modern science.


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 G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience, and Co-director of the CURE: Digestive Diseases Research Center at UCLA.

Mayer is a world renowned gastroenterologist and neuroscientist with 35 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. Some of the research questions he has addressed in this studies include:

  • What are the brain mechanisms underlying increased sensitivity of the gut (visceral hypersensitivity)?
  • How does chronic intestinal inflammation alter the structure and function of the brain?
  • How do adverse events experienced early in life alter the brain?
  • How does the male and female brain differ in chronic pain?
  • How do mind-based therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy affect the brain?

His current research focus is on the role of the gut microbiota brain interactions in emotion regulation, chronic visceral pain and in obesity.

His research has been continuously supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He has published over 320 peer reviewed scientific articles, including 100 chapters and reviews, co-edited four books, and organized several interdisciplinary symposia in the area of mind body interactions and chronic visceral pain.

Complete List of Publications

G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience at UCLA
UCLA Microbiome Center