Michael R. Irwin, MD

Michael Irwin, MD

Cousins Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Distinguished Professor of Psychology, UCLA College of Letters and Sciences
Director, Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, Semel Institute for Neuroscience
Director, Mindful Awareness Research Center







Internal Medicine, UC San Diego School of Medicine, 1981 - 1982


MD, UCSD School of Medicine, 1981


Psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine, 1982 - 1985

Board Certification

Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, 1987

Contact Information

Scientific Interests

Dr. Michael R. Irwin is one of the world's foremost psychiatric experts on the psychoneuroimmunological pathways by which psychosocial and behavioral factors influence health and disease. He has pioneered research on the psychoneuroimmunologic pathways of disease; mapped reciprocal regulation of the neural and innate immune systems to develop a social transduction theory of depression; and tested innovative behavioral interventions to target sleep and inflammatory signaling with implications for promoting well-being in older adults and cancer survivors.

Irwin has published more than 300 research articles and five books and has lectured internationally. His research has been continuously funded for more than 25 years by his principal investigator leadership of more than 27 awards from the National Institute of Health, along with numerous collaborative projects. He has served on the advisory council of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and has been elected president of the Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society, Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research and American Psychosomatic Society. He was twice awarded the UCLA Outstanding Research Mentor Award by the Department of Psychiatry; received Excellence in Integrative Medicine Research Award, from the European Society of Integrative Medicine; and is a recipient of a lifetime career award from the Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society.

Highlighted Publications

Irwin MR, Olmstead R, Carrillo C, Sadeghi N, Nicassio P, Ganz PA, Bower JE. Tai Chi Chih Compared With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for the Treatment of Insomnia in Survivors of Breast Cancer: A Randomized, Partially Blinded, Noninferiority Trial. J Clin Oncol. 2017 Aug 10;35(23):2656-2665. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2016.71.0285. Epub 2017 May 10.

Irwin MR, Olmstead RE, Ganz PA, Haque R. Sleep disturbance, inflammation and depression risk in cancer survivors. Brain Behav Immun. 2013 Mar;30 Suppl:S58-67. Epub 2012 May 24

Bower JE, Garet D, Sternlieb B, Ganz PA, Irwin MR, Olmstead R, Greendale G. Yoga for persistent fatigue in breast cancer survivors: a randomized controlled trial. Cancer. 2012 Aug 1;118(15):3766-75. Epub 2011 Dec 16

Bower JE, Ganz PA, Irwin MR, Kwan L, Breen EC, Cole SW. Inflammation and behavioral symptoms after breast cancer treatment: do fatigue, depression, and sleep disturbance share a common underlying mechanism? J Clin Oncol. 2011 Sep 10;29(26):3517-22. Epub 2011 Aug 8

Bower JE, Ganz PA, Irwin MR, Arevalo JM, Cole SW. Fatigue and gene expression in human leukocytes: increased NF-kappaB and decreased glucocorticoid signaling in breast cancer survivors with persistent fatigue. Brain Behav Immun. 2011 Jan;25(1):147-50. Epub 2010 Sep 18