Alejandro M.S. Mayer, Ph.D., M.S.Ed.

Professor, Pharmacology

Alejandro M.S. Mayer, Ph.D., M.S.Ed.

Midwestern University
Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine
Department of Pharmacology 
Science Hall 322 J
555 31st St.
Downers Grove, IL 60515 

Office: (630) 515-6951



Ph.D. Immunovirology University of Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Postdoctoral Marine pharmacology-Immunopharmacology University of California, Santa Barbara 1988
Master of Science in Education Higher Education Administration and Policy Northwestern University 2008


Dr. Mayer continues to be actively involved in immunopharmacology and toxicology of marine natural products using brain macrophages or microglia as the in vitro model. He has authored more than 70 peer-reviewed publications, which include a series of 15 marine pharmaceutical preclinical pipeline reviews covering the period 1998-2011 which he has co-authored with marine chemists Drs. Gustafson, Hamann, Berlinck, Rodriguez , Fusetani and Taglialatela-Scafati, and which have systematically reviewed global marine preclinical pharmacological and pharmaceutical research. In 2010 he reviewed the global clinical pharmaceutical pipeline with Dr. Glaser, Cuevas, Jacobs, Kem, Little, McIntosh, Newman, Potts and Shuster. Dr. Mayer has been awarded the first 2 patents for Midwestern University and has been funded by the Department of Commerce, NOAA, Sea Grant College Program and NIH, and is a member of AAAS, American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, and the Society for Toxicology. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the ejournal MARINE DRUGS, a journal that focuses on the development of marine pharmaceuticals . He has hosted a marine pharmacology web page since 2005 as a service for both the general public and the global research community at large interested in pharmaceutical research with marine chemicals. The marine pharmacology and pharmaceutical  pipeline webpage is available at and remains # 1 in Google using the keywords "marine pharmacology".

Research projects

Project I:

Marine pharmaceuticals: marine natural products as pharmacological agents for the modulation of inflammatory and neurotoxic mediators generated by activated microglia   Neuroinflammatory conditions are complex and poorly understood disease processes which are hypothesized to involve microglia or brain macrophages.  When microglia become activated they release cytotoxic substances (reactive oxygen intermediates, eicosanoids, cytokines and metalloproteinases) which are cytotoxic to brain cells.  Microglia are believed to be involved in human brain disorders, such as postischemic brain injury, HIV encephalopathy, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis. Present therapies of these inflammatory conditions are based on steroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory therapy which is associated with a high incidence of unsatisfactory toxicity and poor efficacy.  Marine anti-inflammatory natural products could constitute a novel source of lead compounds to enable the development of a new generation of drugs for the clinical management of neurological diseases. The Mayer lab which has been studying marine natural products at CCOM for the past 23 years, has become a global leader in the discovery of novel marine antineuroinflammatory compounds, and has contributed the first two patents assigned to Midwestern University (US patents # 6,3887,916 and # 6,602,881) in 2002 and 2003, respectively. Dr. Mayer's marine pharmaceutical's website is currently # 1 in Google and has been visited over 18,000 times. Dr. Mayer has been serving as the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Marine Drugs since January 2014.

Project II:

Marine toxicology: immunotoxicology of marine and freshwater-derived cyanobacterial lipopolysaccharides Cyanobacteria or blue-green algae, are photosynthetic prokaryotes that represent one of the oldest life forms and are a rich source of natural products with unique pharmacological and toxicological properties, that possess neuroprotective, cytotoxic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Cyanobacterial LPS differs from Gram-negative bacteria both chemically and biologically. The Mayer lab has been studying the immunotoxicology of cyanobacterial lipopolysaccharides and demonstrated that these LPS may elicit release of superoxide anion, thromboxane B2, cytokines, chemokines, and matrix metalloproteinase-9  by rat microglia in vitro (Mayer et al.,  Toxicological Sciences 121(1): 63-72, 2011 below).

Selected Publications (see PubMed results)

Mayer, A.M.S., M. L. Hall, M. Holland, C. De Castro, A. Molinaro, M. Aldulescu, J. Frenkel, L. Ottenhoff, D. Rowley and J. Powell.  Vibrio vulnificus M06-24/O  lipopolysaccharide stimulates  superoxide anion, thromboxane B2, matrix metalloproteinase-9, cytokine and  chemokine release by rat microglia in vitro. Marine Drugs 12:1732-1756, 2014.

C. Jiménez-Romero, A.M.S. Mayer and A.D. Rodríguez. Dactyloditerpenol acetate, a new prenylbisabolane-type diterpene from Aplysia dactylomela with strong anti-neuroinflammatory activity. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 24: 344-348, 2014.

Mayer, A.M.S., A.D. Rodríguez, O.Taglialatela-Scafati and N. Fusetani. Marine pharmacology in 2009-11: Marine Compounds with Antibacterial, Antidiabetic,  Antifungal, Anti-inflammatory, Antiprotozoal, Antituberculosis, and Antiviral Activities; affecting the Immune and Nervous Systems, and other Miscellaneous Mechanisms of Action.  Marine Drugs 11: 2510-2573, 2013.

Mayer, A. M. S., E. Avilés and A. D. Rodríguez. Marine sponge Hymeniacidon sp. amphilectane metabolites potently inhibit rat brain microglia thromboxane B2 generation. Biorganic and Medicinal Chemistry 20: 279 - 282, 2012.

Mayer, A.M.S., J. Clifford, M. Aldulescu, J. Frenkel, M. L. Hall, K. B. Glaser, and J. Berry Cyanobacterial Microcystis aeruginosa lipopolysaccharide elicits release of superoxide anion, thromboxane B2, cytokines, chemokines, and matrix metalloproteinase-9  by rat microglia. Toxicological Sciences 121(1): 63-72, 2011.

Mayer, A.M.S., K.B. Glaser,  C. Cuevas, R. S. Jacobs, W. Kem, R. D. Little, J. M. McIntosh, D. Newman, B. C. Potts and D. E. Shuster. The Odyssey of Marine Pharmaceuticals: a current Pipeline perspective. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences 31(6): 255-265, 2010.

A. Mayer, S.P. Gunasekera, S.A. Pomponi and S.H. Sennett. Anti-inflammatory uses of the Manzamines. United States Patent No.: US 6,387,916, issued May 14, 2002.

A. Mayer, S.P. Gunasekera, S.A. Pomponi and S.H. Sennett. Anti-inflammatory uses of the Manzamines. United States Patent No.: US 6,602,881 issued Aug. 5, 2003.