Claudia Sanmiguel, MD


Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress
Ingestive Behavior and Obesity Program
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

CHS 42-210 MC737818
10833 Le Conte Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90095-7378
Phone: (310) 206-0192
Fax: (310) 825-1919

”The 15 hour days only make me tired, it’s the work I haven’t done that makes me weary”
– Claudia Sanmiguel, MD

Dr. Sanmiguel, was born in Bogota, Colombia into a loving and hard working family. When her mother decided to get a law degree and open a law practice, Claudia quickly learned that in a traditional Catholic nation, within a sexist world, gender subsumes class and privilege for women with non-traditional aspirations. Among the hundreds of thousands of Colombian high school students, Claudia was number two in academic achievement. She went on to graduate at the top of her class from the most prestigious medical school in Colombia.

As a practicing physician, she was drawn to the warmth of the Colombian people and repulsed by economic and class disparities. The first time she witnessed a patient’s death she realized that practicing medicine was not enough. Thus, she turned to medical research because she needed to give more. Striving for excellence took her from her beloved nation and family to far off Canada, where language and cultural differences were an issue. Although the great majority of the people that she met and work with  were welcoming and accepting, she experienced cultural prejudice for the first time, alone, and far from home.

“It was an invaluable lesson in understanding discrimination and the challenges of marginalized patient populations. I also learned humility and to appreciate the intrinsic value of every human being, the most valuable lesson of all.”
-Claudia Sanmiguel, MD

Her talent and expertise soon attracted a world class biomedical engineer, whom she worked with for a couple of years on the use of therapeutic electrical stimulation of the gut. Colombia lured her back with a very prestigious academic position at a University. However, it was not enough. She returned to Canada and her research. Shortly thereafter, her research attracted the attention of the Cleveland Clinic. It was here that she began investigating gut-brain signaling and its implications for the treatment of obesity and motility disorders. Soon, her mentor, Dr Edy Soffer decided to move from the Cleveland Clinic to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Claudia was invited to move to LA because there were no physicians in Los Angeles versed in her expertise.

The groundbreaking work of Emeran Mayer, MD, head of UCLA’s Center for the Neurobiology of Stress had always intrigued Dr. Sanmiguel. CNS provided her with the opportunity to clinically practice medicine, as well as lead an obesity-research team in a cutting-edge environment. Dr. Sanmiguel is now a U.S. citizen, was recently married, and CNS is her home.