Adam Gazzaley

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Adam Gazzaley
Adam Gazzaley speaking at TEDx San Jose
Adam Gazzaley

(1968-12-29) December 29, 1968 (age 50)
Brooklyn, New York, United States
ResidenceSan Francisco, United States
Alma materBinghamton University, Mount Sinai School of Medicine (MSSM)
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 Professor of Neurology, Physiology, and Psychiatry at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).[2] He is also co-founder and Chief Science Advisor of Akili Interactive Labs [3] and JAZZ Venture Partners.[4] He has authored over 130 scientific articles.[5]


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 M.D. and Ph.D degrees in Neuroscience through the NIH-sponsored Medical Scientist Training Program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.[6] 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.[7] He completed an internship in internal medicine (1998-1999) and residency in neurology (1999-2002) at the University of Pennsylvania Health System.[8]

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.[9]


Gazzaley founded Gazzaley Lab at UCSF in 2006[10] 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.[11][12][13]

Several of Gazzaley's studies explore how cognitive abilities may be enhanced via engagement with custom designed video games, neurofeedback and TES.[10] 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.[14]

He created the Neuroscape Lab[15] 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.[16][17]

In 2016, he merged the three entities he created at UCSF (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.[18]

In 2011, Gazzaley co-founded Akili Interactive Labs,[3] a company working to create digital medicine and the first FDA approved video game,[19] and acts as its Chief Science Advisor.[20]

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]

Public and Media Appearances[edit]

Gazzaley has delivered over 600 invited 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 of Neuroscience.[21]

He has been profiled in The New York Times,[22][23] The New Yorker,[24] The Wall Street Journal,[25][26] TIME,[27] Discover,[28] Wired,[29] PBS,[30] NPR,[31] CNN,[32][33] NBC Nightly News.,[34] The Today Show.[35] In 2013, he wrote and hosted the nationally televised, PBS-sponsored special, “The Distracted Mind with Dr. Adam Gazzaley”.[36][37] In 2014, he co-hosted TEDMED 2014.[38] He has appeared in several TV documentaries.[39]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 1997 Krieg Cortical Kudos- Cortical Scholar Award[40]
  • 2005 Cermak Award[41]
  • 2015 Elected Membership in American Society for Clinical Investigation[42]
  • 2015 Society for Neuroscience - Science Educator Award[43]
  • 2017 Prose Award[44]



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[44]

Notable Research Articles[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Neuroscape - Bridging the gap between technology and neuroscience".
  2. ^ "Adam Gazzaley, M.D., Ph.D., UCSF".
  3. ^ a b "Akili Interactive".
  4. ^ a b "JAZZ Venture Partners - The Firm".
  5. ^ Search Results for author Gazzaley A on PubMed.
  6. ^ "Medical Board of California, License Holder". Retrieved 2014-12-18.
  7. ^ "Krieg Cortical Scholar Award". Retrieved 2014-12-18.
  8. ^ "US News Doctors: Dr. Adam Howard Gazzaley". Retrieved 2014-12-19.
  9. ^ "ABPM American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology". Diplomate Verification. Retrieved 2014-12-18.
  10. ^ a b "Neuroscape - Bridging the gap between technology and neuroscience".
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ 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. doi:10.1038/nn1543. PMID 16158065.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ "Neuroscape Lab puts brain activity on vivid display". UCSF. Retrieved 2014-12-18.
  16. ^ "Glass Brain". Retrieved 2014-12-24.
  17. ^ ""Glass Brain" Offers Tours of the Space between Your Ears". Scientific America. Retrieved 2014-12-24.
  18. ^ "Wanderings".
  19. ^ "Games to Sharpen the Brain". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2014-12-18.
  20. ^ "Akili - Adam Gazzaley".
  21. ^ danablog505 (19 October 2015). "Adam Gazzaley Receives SfN Science Educator Award".
  22. ^ Clive Thompson. "Can Video Games Fend Off Mental Decline?". New York Times.
  23. ^ Matt Richtel. "A Multitasking Video Game Makes Old Brains Act Younger". New York Times.
  24. ^ Patricia Marx. "Mentally Fit – Workouts at the brain gym". The New Yorker.
  25. ^ Evelyn M. Rusli. "Inside Mickey Hart's Brain: How Tech and Neuroscience Are Converging". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2014-12-19.
  26. ^ Brian Gormley. "Games to Sharpen the Brain". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2014-12-19.
  27. ^ Maia Szalavitz. "Teaching Old Brains New Tricks With a Videogame". TIME.
  28. ^ David Ewing Duncan. "Looking at Stress—and God—in the Human Brain". Discover Magazine. Retrieved 2014-12-19.
  29. ^ Brandon Keim. "Brain Scans Show How Multitasking Is Harder for Seniors". Wired. Retrieved 2014-12-19.
  30. ^ "Your devices are probably ruining your productivity. Here's why".
  31. ^ Jon Hamilton. "Multitasking After 60: Video Game Boosts Focus, Mental Agility". NPR. Retrieved 2014-12-19.
  32. ^ Elizabeth Landau. "Video game may help aging brain". CNN. Retrieved 2014-12-19.
  33. ^ "Can video games take your brain to the next level? - CNN Video".
  34. ^ "NBC Nightly News". NBC. Retrieved 2014-12-19.
  35. ^ McFadden, Cynthia. "Can brain games keep aging minds young? There's an app for that!".
  36. ^ "Santa Fe Productions - The Distracted Mind with Dr. Adam Gazzaley".
  37. ^ "Raising awareness about the distracted mind (PBS special)". PBS. Retrieved 2014-12-18.
  38. ^ "Adam Gazzaley".
  39. ^ "Adam Gazzaley".
  40. ^ "Krieg Cortical Kudos Awards".
  41. ^ "Cermak Award".
  42. ^ "The ASCI's 2015 ballot results – The American Society for Clinical Investigation".
  43. ^ "Society for Neuroscience".
  44. ^ a b

External links[edit]