Photo of Leah Mayo

Leah Mayo

Assistant Lecturer. My research focuses on the neurobiology of stress and emotion processing in healthy and clinical populations.


Many psychiatric conditions are hallmarked by dysregulated stress reactivity and emotional responding. My research aims to better understand stress and emotion processing in order to develop novel psychiatric therapies.

Our work combines behavioral, psychophysiological, and neuroimaging methods to gain better insight into how we perceive and react to stressful situations and emotional stimuli. I am particularly interested in the role of the endocannabinoid system, a neuromodulatory system involved in both stress reactivity and emotion processing. In healthy populations, we are exploring how external factors (e.g. stress, drugs of abuse) influence the endocannabinoid system. In clinical populations, we are interested in how the endocannabinoid system becomes dysregulated and contributes to impairments in stress and emotional reactivity. Our overall goal is to determine if the endocannabinoid system can serve as a novel target in the treatment of psychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Publications in DiVA


Irene Perini, Leah M. Mayo, Andrea Johansson Capusan, Elisabeth Paul, Adam Yngve, Robin Kämpe, Emelie Gauffin, Raegan Mary Rose Mazurka, Bijar Ghafouri, Niclas Stensson, Anna Asratian, J. Paul Hamilton, Åsa Kastbom, Per A Gustafsson, Markus Heilig (2023) Resilience to substance use disorder following childhood maltreatment: association with peripheral biomarkers of endocannabinoid function and neural indices of emotion regulation Molecular Psychiatry, Vol. 6, p. 2563-2571 Continue to DOI


Irene Perini, Sara Kroll, Leah M. Mayo, Markus Heilig (2022) Social Acts and Anticipation of Social Feedback Neuroscience of Social Stress: es, p. 393-416 Continue to DOI
Steven J. Middleton, Irene Perini, Andreas C. Themistocleous, Greg A. Weir, Kirsty McCann, Allison M. Barry, Andrew Marshall, Michael Lee, Leah M. Mayo, Manon Bohic, Georgios Baskozos, India Morrison, Line S. Loken, Sarah Mcintyre, Saad Nagi, Roland Staud, Isac Sehlstedt, Richard D. Johnson, Johan Wessberg, John N. Wood, Christopher G. Woods, Aziz Moqrich, Håkan Olausson, David L. Bennett (2022) Na(v)1.7 is required for normal C-low threshold mechanoreceptor function in humans and mice Brain, Vol. 1145, p. 3637-3653 Continue to DOI
Leah Mayo, Christine A. Rabinak, Matthew N. Hill, Markus Heilig (2022) Targeting the Endocannabinoid System in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Promising Case of Preclinical-Clinical Translation? Biological Psychiatry, Vol. 91, p. 262-272 Continue to DOI
Luke J. Ney, Kevin M. Crombie, Leah Mayo, Kim L. Felmingham, Tim Bowser, Allison Matthews (2022) Translation of animal endocannabinoid models of PTSD mechanisms to humans: Where to next? Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, Vol. 132, p. 76-91 Continue to DOI


Research leader and experiment participant with electrodes on her chin.

The brain’s cannabinoid system protects against addiction

High levels of the body’s own cannabinoid substances protect against developing addiction in individuals previously exposed to childhood maltreatment, according to a new study from Linköping University.

researcher and participant each sits in front of a computer with a curtain between them so that they do not see each other.

CSAN were praised at neuroscience event

Society for Social Neuroscience recently organized its 12th annual meeting. CSAN was well-represented at this year’s meeting, with individuals from several groups being recognized. One of them was Leah Mayo who was awarded the Early Career Award.

Leah Mayo.

Leah Mayo received the Young Investigator Award

Leah Mayo, researcher at CSAN, has received this year’s Young Investigator Award from the European Behavioral Pharmacology Society (EBPS). - It is really encouraging to be recognized by many of the scientists who have inspired a lot of my research.

About me


  • 2020 Assistant Professor, Center for Social and Affective Neuroscience (CSAN), Linköping University
  • 2015 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, CSAN, Linköping University
  • 2015 Ph.D. in Neurobiology, University of Chicago
    Advisor: Harriet de Wit
    Thesis title: A multidimensional approach to de novo drug conditioning in healthy humans: combining self-report, behavioral, and psychophysiological measures.
  • 2013 M.S. in Molecular Pathogenesis & Molecular Medicine, University of Chicago
  • 2009 B.S. in Neuroscience, University of Michigan
    Advisors: Shelly Flagel, Terry Robinson, Huda Akil
    Thesis title: Characterizing individual variation to reward-related cues in animals selectively bred for locomotor response to novelty.


  • 2020-2024 Swedish Research Council Starting Grant
  • 2019-2021 Brain & Behavior Research Foundation NARSAD Young Investigator Award
  • 2015-2017 Linköping University Centre for Systems Neurobiology Postdoctoral Fellowship