Michael J. Joyner, M.D.
Joyner Content Image

Michael J. Joyner, M.D., is the Frank R. and Shari Caywood Professor of Anesthesiology at the Mayo Clinic where he served as Deputy Director and Associate Dean for Research from 2005-2010. He was named a Distinguished Investigator by his colleagues at Mayo in 2010 and has given numerous named lectureships around the world. Since the late 1990s he has played major leadership roles in Mayo’s GCRC and now CTSA programs. Finally, he was presented the prestigious American Physiological Society’s Walter B. Cannon Award in 2013.

He received his undergraduate (1981) and medical (1987) degrees from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, and obtained residency and research training at the Mayo Clinic. His research mentors at the University of Arizona included Jack Wilmore, Doug Stuart and Marlys Witte, and at Mayo Clinic John Shepherd, and Kai Rehder.

Dr. Joyner’s lab has been continuously funded by the NIH since the early 1990s. He has also had major editorial duties with both the Journal of Physiology London and the Journal of Applied Physiology. Dr. Joyner has participated in numerous peer-review panels for various funding agencies in the U.S. and abroad including serving as a charter member on two NIH study sections and chair of the CICS panel. His former fellows have established successful independent research laboratories at top institutions in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan.

Dr. Joyner’s research interests focus on cardiovascular control in conscious humans. He is especially interested in the interaction between local vasodilator signals, sympathetic vasoconstriction, and the regulation of arterial pressure. More recently his team has developed an interest in the idea that the carotid chemoreceptors can sense blood glucose and evoke counter-regulatory responses to hypoglycemia. Over the years he has used a variety of physiological models and pharmacological tools to study these topics in humans during small and large muscle mass exercise, mental stress, body heating, hypoxia and orthostatic challenge. Dr. Joyner is also a recognized expert on athletic performance and the physiology of world records.

Dr. Joyner’s deep understanding of topics in physiology combined with a wonderful interactive nature makes him a top tier educator. His talents in the classroom and at the podium carry over into more informal venues including journal clubs, lab meetings, and individual mentoring. He is very clear in his explanations, wonderful at addressing questions, exceptionally knowledgeable across disciplines, and has an uncanny ability to integrate many areas of physiology into the “big picture”. He was an Excellence in Teaching Nominee (Mayo Clinic, Department of Physiology), Teacher of the Year Nominee (Mayo Graduate School Physiology/Biophysics), and was the winner of the Teacher of the Year award for the Danish Cardiovascular Foundation.

Dr. Joyner represents the perfect balance of a successful scientist, teacher, and mentor. This is exemplified in the quotes from his colleagues and trainees shared below:

Dr. Joyner “is probably the most effective and well-liked scientific mentor that I have encountered in over 25 years of conducting scientific research”.

“One of Dr. Joyner’s ‘heroes’ is legendary coach John Wooden, who was quoted as saying ‘Mentoring is your true legacy. It is the greatest inheritance you can give to others. And it should never end. It is why you should get up every day - to teach and be taught’. There is no doubt in my mind that this is a driving force for Dr. Joyner.”

“He is the first investigator that I (and many of my colleagues) consider when referring our doctoral students for postdoctoral training”, and “I would be pleased to work with any trainee from the Joyner lab, and I would happily send my graduate students his way”.

Each of Dr. Joyner’s mentees has a unique story, yet there are some common themes:

Dr. Joyner offers each trainee a unique style of mentoring while fostering a team spirit. In order to do this, he spends time getting to know each trainee to better understand individual goals and interests. What is most striking in this regard is that he works with a wide range of trainees - from high school students to visiting professors - from a variety of backgrounds (including trainees from psychology, clinical pharmacology, animal/bench science, disadvantaged backgrounds, less experienced researchers, international trainees, medical students/residents, etc.), and yet he is still able to give each of them exactly what they need to succeed.

Dr. Joyner is exceptional in his support of career development for current and former trainees. He is a consistent and masterful advocate. A former trainee noted that, “his generosity in this regard is legendary”. He “genuinely cares for his mentees” and is “keen on helping them match their ‘dream career’.” He has repeatedly helped trainees figure out what they are interested in pursuing and unselfishly assisted them in writing grants and developing ideas that could be taken from postdoctoral training to be developed into an independent career. Dr. Joyner has really done an amazing job at fostering the success of his trainees by supporting them for award applications, writing letters of recommendation, helping them to get research funding, facilitating teamwork on projects and papers while in the lab, and serving as a role model. He also generously and regularly offers opportunities for trainees to be involved with journal peer review, authoring book chapters/review papers, giving scientific talks, and many other relevant opportunities.

Dr. Joyner is very generous with time and often puts trainee needs ahead of his own work. He is “always accessible and always willing to put his work aside to discuss research concepts, offer encouragement when needed, and help solve any kind of arising problem no matter what effort it took”. He makes every effort to have regular individual meetings with all trainees both formally in scheduled meetings and informally as a quick chat. Aside from having an open door and always being available, he is proactive in contacting his people to make sure that things are going well and provides assistance if they need anything. Furthermore, he “steadfastly provided immediate (<24 hours) feedback on grants/papers/etc including untold numbers of recommendation letters”. This cannot be underappreciated. He makes time to help, advise, and edit the work of his trainees even if that means extra hours of work for him to get it done. His feedback is thorough and thoughtful even when he is otherwise pressed for time.

Dr. Joyner’s influence has been life altering for his trainees and many people have identified Dr. Joyner as the reason they are where they are today. They credit him with helping them to find their career path and laying the groundwork for their success. In many cases, people have cited Dr. Joyner as the person who gave them the opportunity they needed to confidently pursue their dreams.

Dr. Joyner embodies all the characteristics of a Bodil M Schmidt-Nielsen Awardee. This sentiment was shared by his former postdoctoral fellows who simply said, “we have received the best mentorship we could have hoped for.”


2014 Bodil M. Schmidt-Nielsen Award Lecture (Joyner)

Listen and view the audio and PowerPoint files from the 2014 Schmidt-Nielsen Award Lecture during EB 2014.