Emeran Mayer, MD is a Gastroenterologist, Neuroscientist and Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He is the Executive Director of the G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress & Resilience at UCLA and has authored two books, The Mind-Gut Connection and The Gut-Immune Connection.
Emeran has been at the forefront of microbiome research for nearly four decades, with work focusing on communications between the gut, the brain, and the immune system. While these connections seem commonplace today, informing treatments ranging from autoimmune therapies to fecal transplants, they were not always so widely accepted.
“Our abstracts had a hard time getting traction and attention. And many of the key opinion leaders in this field of irritable bowel syndrome or functional gastrointestinal disorders always emphasized this is a disease of the gut and had nothing to do with the brain.”
Thanks to new technologies like brain imaging, Emeran was able to receive the grants needed to fund his projects. Since, his work has contributed to the understanding of chronic diseases, obesity, and cognitive decline. In this episode, Emeran discusses his journey in pioneering the study of the microbiome, delves into the history of the gut, suggests ways we can harness brain-gut communication to manage our overall health, and offers insight into the future of the evolving field.
Here are the details of our conversation:
[00:02:04] Emeran’s early career
[00:06:18] Gaining support for brain-gut research
[00:10:47] History of the brain-gut connection
[00:15:33] Homeostasis in health and disease
[00:18:15] The “Common Denominator” of immune activation
[00:23:57] Disease prevention through diet and microbe exposure [00:29:01] Commercial microbiome testing
[00:34:23] Gut feelings and intuition
Emeran A. Mayer is a Gastroenterologist, Neuroscientist and Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, the Executive Director of the G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress & Resilience at UCLA and Founding Director of the Goodman Luskin Microbiome Center at UCLA. As one of the pioneers and leading researchers in the role of brain gut interactions in health and chronic disease, in particular in IBS, his scientific contributions to basic and translational enteric neurobiology with wide-ranging applications in clinical GI diseases and disorders is unparalleled. He has published close to 410 scientific papers, co-edited 3 books, published the best selling The Mind Gut Connection book in 2016 and The Gut Immune Connection book in June 2021. He is the recipient of the 2016 David McLean award from the American Psychosomatic Society and the 2017 Ismar Boas Medal from the German Society of Gastroenterology and Metabolic Disease. His most recent work has focused on alterations in the bidirectional communications within the brain gut microbiome system and their role in chronic inflammatory and functional diseases of the gut, obesity, and cognitive decline.
Dr. Mayer’s Website: EmeranMayer.com