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He invented the Nauta Silver Impregnation Method stain, used for tracing degenerating nerve fibers.
He taught at the University of Utrecht (1941–1946), the University of Leiden (1946–47), the University of Zurich (1947–1951), the University of Maryland (1955–1964), and at MIT (1964–1986), where he was named Institute Professor in 1973. He was a neurophysiologist in the Division of Neuropsychiatry at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (1951–1964) and a neuroanatomist at McLean Hospital (1975).
Dr. Nauta was the author or co-author of more than 100 papers for professional journals and books.
In 1994 Nauta was awarded the NAS Award in the Neurosciences from the National Academy of Sciences. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Society for Neuroscience, which he served as president, the American Association of Anatomists and the American Neurological Association. He died in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1994.
- "NAS Award in the Neurosciences". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
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