Marlyn Mayo, M.D., is a Professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center, and a member of its Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases.

She earned her medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, in 1990. After her internship and residency in internal medicine at University of California, Irvine, she completed a fellowship in gastroenterology/hepatology at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Dr. Mayo became interested in primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) because of her interest in autoimmune diseases. She found it very curious that the body would attack itself. Although she was initially interested in lupus and scleroderma, an attending physician she worked with during her residency inspired her to follow him into hepatology. Dr. Mayo then came to UT Southwestern to do research and work on the largest PBC trial at the time with Burton Combs, M.D., who started the liver unit at UT Southwestern. She had the opportunity to work with many patients as well as do basic lab research on the causes of PBC. 

Later, Dr. Mayo worked with Peter Lipsky, M.D., to conduct research on intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP). She became interested in this disease because it is similar to PBC. Current research is finding some of the genes that cause this disease, which may later help her find causes of PBC. From there, Dr. Mayo started to treat other diseases that relate to pregnancy and liver diseases. 

Currently, Dr. Mayo's research focuses on the pathogenesis of autoimmune liver diseases. The molecular events involved in bile duct damage in primary biliary cirrhosis and development of cryoglobulins in hepatitis C are current areas of investigation. She studies how the T cell receptors and other co-stimulatory molecules on the surface of B and T lymphocytes participate in the genesis and chronic perpetuation of autoimmune diseases. Dr. Mayo also conducts clinical trials in the UT Southwestern General Clinical Research Center investigating new treatments for primary biliary cirrhosis. 

Not only does Dr. Mayo practice medicine, she also teaches it. She finds it fun to be involved in training of fellows and is now the training director for the Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases. All of UT Southwestern’s Division of Digestive and Liver Disease fellows publish papers before they leave, and some may play a role in shifting current standard medical practices. One student research project examined the causes of jaundice in pregnancy and challenges the current paradigm of viral hepatitis testing. Data from this research project suggests that patients should instead be examined by ultrasound for gallstones and treated right away.

In addition, Dr. Mayo has been involved in setting the standards for medical education. These standards are moving away from the concept of competency by numbers to conceptual competency-based evaluation. Fellows are no longer evaluated on the number of procedures they perform, but on milestones that determine a fellow is capable of working at a specialist level. Milestones include scoping with ease and comfort, as well as intake and diagnosis at a specialist level. There is also no set time period to finish their training. If a fellow takes longer to become competent, he or she will not complete their fellowship until ready. As an educator, Dr. Mayo is able to determine some of the milestones fellows must reach.

Most importantly, Dr. Mayo understands the value of active listening and good communication. To be an effective teacher and physician, she knows she must be able to listen to her students and patients and effectively explain issues to them. “Some patients know their bodies very well, and physicians can figure out their issue if they just listen,” she says.

Dr. Mayo was included in D Magazine's Best Doctors list for 2018.

Meet Dr. Mayo

Liver Disease Specialist

Marlyn Mayo, M.D., specializes in the diagnosis and management of acute and chronic liver diseases, and she enjoys establishing a friendly and supportive relationship with her patients. Dr. Mayo has a keen interest in immune-mediated liver diseases such as primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), autoimmune hepatitis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, overlap syndromes, and liver diseases in pregnancy. She also has a special interest in the management of itching from liver disease.

"Every time a patient dies from an autoimmune disease, I want to work harder to find a cure."

Since some immune-mediated liver diseases primarily affect women, Dr. Mayo has a particular interest in evaluating pregnant women and is involved in a research study examining jaundice in pregnant women. 

Dr. Mayo finds it gratifying to take a patient who was probably told she could never get pregnant, or should not get pregnant, and work with her to deal with her chronic disease. “It only takes nine months to see a baby at the end, instead of years and years of research to see results,” she says.

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Education & Training
  • Fellowship - UT Southwestern Medical Center (1993-1996), Gastroenterology
  • Residency - University of California, Irvine (1991-1993), Internal Medicine
  • Internship - University of California, Irvine (1990-1991), Internal Medicine
  • Medical School - Baylor College of Medicine
Professional Associations & Affiliations
  • American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), Fellow, Cholestasis SIG Steering Committee
  • European Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (EASL), Member
  • Anerican College of Gastroenterology(ACG), Fellow
  • American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), Fellow
Honors & Awards
  • D Magazine Best Doctors, Hepatology 2010-2016, Peer-nominated top 5 Hepatologists in the Dallas-Forth Worth area
Books & Publications
  • Primary biliary cirrhosis
  • Liver Disease in Pregnancy
  • Autoimmune liver diseases

Clinical Focus

  • Liver Disease
  • Liver Transplant Medicine
  • Gastroenterology
  • Cancer Screening

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