Adam Gazzaley, UCSF Neuroscientist

I first teamed up with Mickey to give a keynote lecture at the 2012 AARP meeting in New Orleans.  We gave a talk together on rhythm and the brain to a large audience and also presented a unique demonstration of Mickey’s brain rhythms using real-time EEG signals overlaid onto a 3-D reconstruction of his brain (CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO). Since then, Mickey and I have launched a research collaboration with my lab. As we now understand it, brain function is dependent on complex rhythms of activity, which guides interactions between brain regions to generate synchronized neural networks from which our minds emerge. The goal of our collaborative project, Rhythm and the Brain, is to advance our understanding of the role of rhythm in higher-order brain function and also how we can influence brain rhythms through novel interventions (e.g., neuromodulation, rhythm training, video game training, neurofeedback). The ultimate goal is to improve cognition and mood in the healthy and impaired, thus positively impacting the quality of our lives. Most recently, we have worked to advance EEG mobile technology, allowing Mickey to ‘play’ his brain using sonification software in his band’s latest tour, and also share with the audience his real-time brain visualization during the show! The next stage of this journey will be to couple this to an ongoing collaboration with NVIDIA, the global graphic-processing unit (GPU) giant, which is directed at using their chips to improve real-time EEG so that it can be used as a scientific tool to explore dynamic brain states in real time.  


Dr. Adam Gazzaley obtained an M.D. and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, completed clinical residency in Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, and postdoctoral training in cognitive neuroscience at UC Berkeley. He is the founding director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center at the UC San Francisco, an Associate Professor in Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry, and Principal Investigator of a cognitive neuroscience laboratory. His laboratory studies neural mechanisms of perception, attention and memory, with an emphasis on the impact of distraction and multitasking on these abilities. His unique research approach utilizes a powerful combination of human neurophysiological tools, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG) and transcranial stimulation (tCS). A major accomplishment of his research has been to expand our understanding of alterations in the aging brain that lead to cognitive decline. His most recent studies explore how we may enhance our cognitive abilities, and/or prevent them from declining in various neuropsychiatric conditions, via engagement with custom designed video games, neurofeedback and tCS. Dr. Gazzaley has authored over 80 scientific articles, delivered over 300 invited presentations around the world, and his research and perspectives have been consistently profiled in high-impact media, such as The New York Times, New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, TIME, Discover, Wired, PBS, NPR, CNN andNBC Nightly News. Recently, he wrote and hosted the nationally televised, PBS-sponsored special “The Distracted Mind with Dr. Adam Gazzaley”. Awards and honors for his research include the Pfizer/AFAR Innovations in Aging Award, the Ellison Foundation New Scholar Award in Aging, and the Harold Brenner Pepinsky Early Career Award in Neurobehavioral Science.