Adam Gazzaley

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Adam Gazzaley
Adam Gazzaley speaking at TEDx San Jose
Adam Gazzaley

(1968-12-29) December 29, 1968 (age 54)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Alma materBinghamton University, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
SpouseJo Gazzaley (m. 2016)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of California, San Francisco

Adam Gazzaley (born December 29, 1968) is an American neuroscientist, author, photographer, entrepreneur and inventor. He is the founder and executive director of Neuroscape[1] and the David Dolby Distinguished Professor of Neurology, Physiology, and Psychiatry at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).[2] He is co-founder and chief science advisor of Akili Interactive Labs[3] and JAZZ Venture Partners.[4] Gazzaley is the inventor of the first video game approved by the FDA as a medical treatment.[5][6] He is a board of trustee member, science council member and fellow of the California Academy of Sciences.[7] He has authored over 180 scientific articles.[8]


Early life[edit]

Gazzaley graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1986. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from Binghamton University in 1990, followed by MD and PhD degrees in neuroscience through the NIH-sponsored Medical Scientist Training Program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.[9] His doctoral research on plasticity of glutamate receptors in the hippocampus and implications for cognitive changes in normal aging earned him the 1997 Krieg Cortical Scholar Award.[10] He completed an internship in internal medicine (1998–1999) and residency in neurology (1999–2002) at the University of Pennsylvania Health System.[11]

Following residency in 2002, Gazzaley had a research fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, and simultaneously worked as attending neurologist at the Northern California VA Medical Center, UCSF Medical Center and completed a clinical fellowship in cognitive neurology at the University of California, San Francisco Memory and Aging Center where he became board-certified in neurology.[12]


Gazzaley founded Gazzaley Lab at UCSF in 2006[13] and the UCSF Neuroscience Imaging Center in 2007. His research approach uses a combination of human neurophysiological tools, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG) and transcranial stimulation (TES). He used this approach to show that older adults exhibit neural deficits in suppressing distractions and also while multitasking.[14][15][16]

Several of Gazzaley's studies explore how cognitive abilities may be enhanced via engagement with custom designed video games, neurofeedback and TES.[13] In 2009 he designed a video game, NeuroRacer, to enhance cognitive abilities of older adults. In a study published in 2013 as the cover story of Nature he showed that the multitasking nature of the game caused improvements in tasks outside of the game involving working memory and sustained attention.[17]

He created the Neuroscape Lab[18] at UCSF , an environment designed to create and validate neurodiagnostics and neurotherapeutics using newly emerging technology. He developed the GlassBrain, a 3D MRI brain visualization that displays overlaid rhythmic brain activity in real-time using EEG recordings in collaboration with scientists at UCSD.[19][20]

In 2016, he merged Gazzaley Lab, Neuroscience Imaging Center and Neuroscape Lab into one research center – Neuroscape[1] — with the mission of bridging technology and neuroscience to create real-world solutions to enhance brain function.


In 2001, Gazzaley founded his first company, Wanderings Inc, to sell fine art prints of his nature photography.[21]

In 2011, Gazzaley co-founded Akili Interactive Labs,[3] a company that develops, validates and distributes digital medicine via scientifically validated video games,[22] and serves as a board member and its chief science advisor.[23] On June 15, 2020, Akili's EndeavorRx was FDA-cleared as a prescription treatment for children with ADHD.[24] This landmark event marked the first FDA-cleared digital treatment for ADHD, and the first video game approved by the FDA as the treatment of any medical condition. It was reviewed through FDA's de novo pathway and so its clearance creates a new regulatory classification of medicine.[5]

In 2015, he co-founded JAZZ Venture Partners, a venture capital firm investing in experiential technology to improve human performance, and serves as its chief scientist.[4]

In 2016, Gazzaley co-founded Sensync, a company creating a sensory immersion vessel to offer a novel wellness treatment called the Deep Brain Massage.[25] He served as its chief science advisor until 2021 when the company was dissolved.[26]

Public and media appearances[edit]

Gazzaley has delivered over 700 talks around the world on his research and perspectives. His public speaking has been recognized by receiving the 2015 Science Educator Award by the Society for Neuroscience.[27]

He has been profiled in The New York Times,[28][29] The New Yorker,[30] The Wall Street Journal,[31][32] Time,[33] Discover,[34] Wired,[35] PBS,[36] NPR,[37] CNN,[38][39] NBC Nightly News,[40] The Today Show,[41] and Good Morning America.[42] In 2013, he wrote and hosted the nationally televised, PBS-sponsored special, "The Distracted Mind with Dr. Adam Gazzaley".[43][44] In 2014, he co-hosted TEDMED.[45] He has appeared in several TV documentaries.[46]

Gazzaley has a chapter giving advice in Tim Ferriss' book Tools of Titans.

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 1997 Krieg Cortical Kudos- Cortical Scholar Award[47]
  • 2005 Cermak Award[48]
  • 2015 Elected Membership in American Society for Clinical Investigation[49]
  • 2015 Society for Neuroscience – Science Educator Award[50]
  • 2017 Prose Award[51]
  • 2020 Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences[52]
  • 2020 Global Gaming Citizen Honor[53]
  • 2021 Newsweek's inaugural list of America's Greatest Disruptors[54]
  • 2022 Fast Company’s list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies[55]
  • 2022 AURORA Institute Prize[56]



Gazzaley authored The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World, along with Dr. Larry Rosen. It was published by MIT Press in October 2016. ISBN 978-0-262-03494-4 It won the 2017 Prose Award in the category of Biomedicine and Neuroscience[51]

Select research articles[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Neuroscape – Bridging the gap between technology and neuroscience".
  2. ^ "Adam Gazzaley, M.D., PhD, UCSF".
  3. ^ a b "Akili Interactive".
  4. ^ a b "JAZZ Venture Partners – The Firm".
  5. ^ a b "FDA Permits Marketing of First Game-Based Digital Therapeutic to Improve Attention Function in Children with ADHD". Food and Drug Administration. June 17, 2020.
  6. ^ "FDA Approves Video Game Based on UCSF Brain Research as ADHD Therapy for Kids".
  7. ^ "The Academy welcomes twelve new members to its Board of Trustees".
  8. ^ Search Results for author Gazzaley A on PubMed.
  9. ^ "Medical Board of California, License Holder". Archived from the original on December 19, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  10. ^ "Krieg Cortical Scholar Award". Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  11. ^ "US News Doctors: Dr. Adam Howard Gazzaley". Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  12. ^ "ABPM American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology". Diplomate Verification. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  13. ^ a b "Neuroscape – Bridging the gap between technology and neuroscience". Archived from the original on February 8, 2014. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  14. ^ Gazzaley, A.; Clapp, W.; Kelley, J.; McEvoy, K.; Knight, R. T.; d'Esposito, M. (2008). "Age-related top-down suppression deficit in the early stages of cortical visual memory processing". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 105 (35): 13122–6. Bibcode:2008PNAS..10513122G. doi:10.1073/pnas.0806074105. JSTOR 25464001. PMC 2529045. PMID 18765818.
  15. ^ Gazzaley, Adam; Cooney, Jeffrey W; Rissman, Jesse; d'Esposito, Mark (2005). "Top-down suppression deficit underlies working memory impairment in normal aging". Nature Neuroscience. 8 (10): 1298–300. doi:10.1038/nn1543. PMID 16158065. S2CID 205430780.
  16. ^ Clapp, W. C.; Rubens, M. T.; Sabharwal, J.; Gazzaley, A. (2011). "Deficit in switching between functional brain networks underlies the impact of multitasking on working memory in older adults". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 108 (17): 7212–7. Bibcode:2011PNAS..108.7212C. doi:10.1073/pnas.1015297108. JSTOR 41242155. PMC 3084135. PMID 21482762.
  17. ^ Anguera, J. A.; Boccanfuso, J.; Rintoul, J. L.; Al-Hashimi, O.; Faraji, F.; Janowich, J.; Kong, E.; Larraburo, Y.; Rolle, C.; Johnston, E.; Gazzaley, A. (2013). "Video game training enhances cognitive control in older adults". Nature. 501 (7465): 97–101. Bibcode:2013Natur.501...97A. doi:10.1038/nature12486. PMC 3983066. PMID 24005416.
  18. ^ "Neuroscape Lab puts brain activity on vivid display". UCSF. May 19, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  19. ^ "Glass Brain". Archived from the original on December 19, 2014. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  20. ^ "'Glass Brain' Offers Tours of the Space between Your Ears". Scientific America. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  21. ^ "Wanderings".
  22. ^ Gormley, Brian (July 31, 2012). "Games to Sharpen the Brain". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  23. ^ "Akili – Adam Gazzaley". Archived from the original on December 19, 2014. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  24. ^ "In a landmark decision, FDA greenlights a video game for kids with ADHD". June 15, 2020.
  25. ^ "Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina and Sensync Partner to Introduce the World's First Multi-Sensory Virtual Reality Wellness Experience: The Vessel, Featuring Deep Brain Massage". Four Seasons Press Room. Retrieved November 28, 2019.
  26. ^ "Sensync".
  27. ^ danablog505 (October 19, 2015). "Adam Gazzaley Receives SfN Science Educator Award".
  28. ^ Clive Thompson (October 23, 2014). "Can Video Games Fend Off Mental Decline?". The New York Times.
  29. ^ Matt Richtel (September 4, 2013). "A Multitasking Video Game Makes Old Brains Act Younger". The New York Times.
  30. ^ Patricia Marx (July 22, 2013). "Mentally Fit – Workouts at the brain gym". The New Yorker.
  31. ^ Evelyn M. Rusli (March 10, 2014). "Inside Mickey Hart's Brain: How Tech and Neuroscience Are Converging". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  32. ^ Brian Gormley (July 31, 2012). "Games to Sharpen the Brain". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  33. ^ Maia Szalavitz (September 4, 2013). "Teaching Old Brains New Tricks With a Videogame". Time.
  34. ^ David Ewing Duncan. "Looking at Stress—and God—in the Human Brain". Discover. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  35. ^ Brandon Keim. "Brain Scans Show How Multitasking Is Harder for Seniors". Wired. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  36. ^ "Your devices are probably ruining your productivity. Here's why". PBS. October 17, 2016.
  37. ^ Jon Hamilton. "Multitasking After 60: Video Game Boosts Focus, Mental Agility". NPR. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  38. ^ Elizabeth Landau. "Video game may help aging brain". CNN. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  39. ^ "Can video games take your brain to the next level? – CNN". CNN.
  40. ^ "NBC Nightly News". NBC. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  41. ^ McFadden, Cynthia. "Can brain games keep aging minds young? There's an app for that!".
  42. ^ "FDA approves video game for treating ADHD in kids". Good Morning America.
  43. ^ "Santa Fe Productions – The Distracted Mind with Dr. Adam Gazzaley". Archived from the original on October 7, 2014. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
  44. ^ "Raising awareness about the distracted mind (PBS special)". PBS. March 7, 2013. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  45. ^ "Adam Gazzaley".
  46. ^ "Adam Gazzaley". IMDb.
  47. ^ "Krieg Cortical Kudos Awards".
  48. ^ "Cermak Award". Archived from the original on January 9, 2017. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  49. ^ "The ASCI's 2015 ballot results – The American Society for Clinical Investigation".
  50. ^ "Society for Neuroscience".
  51. ^ a b "Prose Award Winners".
  52. ^ "Fellows California Academy of Sciences".
  53. ^ "2020 Global Gaming Citizen Honor". YouTube.
  54. ^ "2021 America's Greatest Disruptors". Newsweek.
  55. ^ "2022 World's Most Innovative Companies".
  56. ^ "2022 AURORA Institute Prize".

External links[edit]