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Fellows Directory

Mark Mayer

Mark Mayer

Dr Mark Mayer FRS


Elected: 2019





Mark Mayer is a biologist notable for his seminal work on the biophysics and structural biology of glutamate receptor ion channels, the major mediators of excitatory synaptic transmission in the brain. He has made ground breaking observations that profoundly changed our view of receptor function and excitatory synaptic transmission in the brain.

His discovery that NMDA receptors are calcium permeable ion channels subject to voltage dependent channel block by magnesium provided, for the first time, a mechanism for coincidence detection at synapses in the brain. His studies on the structure of glutamate receptors, using X-ray crystallography, cryo-EM and analytical ultracentrifugation, elucidated the structural basis for subtype selective assembly, ligand recognition, and molecular mechanisms for allosteric regulation and desensitization.

After his BSc at Bristol University and PhD at The London School of Pharmacy he was a Harkness Fellow of the Commonwealth Fund, a Beit Memorial Fellow, and was awarded the Society for Neuroscience young investigator award. Currently he is a Scientist Emeritus at the National Institutes of Health.

Professional positions

Scientist Emeritus, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Biochemistry and molecular cell biology
    • Biophysics and structural biology
  • Anatomy, physiology and neurosciences
    • Pharmacology (non-clinical), Physiology incl biophysics of cells (non-clinical)
  • Other
    • Other interests


Ion channels, Structural Biology, Biophysics

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