Adam Gazzaley, M.D., Ph.D.

Gazzaley Lab Director

Professor of Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry
Director, Neuroscience Imaging Center


UCSF - Mission Bay
Neuroscience Research Building, Room 511C
675 Nelson Rising Lane
San Francisco, CA 94158







Photography site:

Curriculum Vitae:


Dr. Gazzaley was born and raised in New York City. He was interested in science since childhood and was always convinced that it was his career path. However, he did not discover his passion for the brain until later in his undergraduate years. He went on to receive his M.D. and Ph.D degree in Neuroscience through the NIH-sponsored Medical Scientist Training Program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. His doctoral research, under the mentorship of Dr. John Morrison, focused on plasticity of glutamate receptors in the hippocampus and implications for cognitive changes in normal aging. This research earned him the prestigious 1997 Krieg Cortical Scholar Award. He then completed an internship in internal medicine and residency in neurology at the University of Pennsylvania. Following residency, Dr. Gazzaley traveled to UC Berkeley for a research fellowship with Dr. Mark D’Esposito and Dr. Robert Knight. The research involved studying memory and attention in humans and the changes that occur with normal aging using functional MRI and EEG. During that time period he also completed a clinical fellowship in cognitive neurology at the Memory and Aging Center under the direction of Dr. Bruce Miller and became board-certified in neurology.

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 now Professor in Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry at the UC San Francisco, the founding director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center, and director of the Gazzaley Lab, 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 magnetic and electrical stimulation (TMS & TES). 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 neuroplasticity and how we can optimize our cognitive abilities via engagement with custom-designed video games, and how this can be bolstered by closed loop systems using neurofeedback and TES. Dr. Gazzaley is co-founder and chief science advisor of Akili Interactive Labs, a company developing therapeutic video games. He advises a dozen other tech companies, including GE and Nielsen. Dr. Gazzaley has filed multiple patents based in his research, authored over 100 scientific articles, and delivered over 425 invited presentations around the world. His research and perspectives have been consistently profiled in high-impact media, such as The New York Times, New York Times Magazine, New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, TIME, Discover, Wired, PBS, NPR, CNN and NBC Nightly News. He wrote and hosted the nationally televised, PBS special “The Distracted Mind with Dr. Adam Gazzaley”. National 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.

Dr. Gazzaley has won a number of awards throughout his career, including the Krieg Cortical Scholar Award (1997), Morris Bender Award in Clinical Neurology (1998),Laird Cermak Award (2005), Pfizer/AFAR Innovations in Aging Award (2005), Ellison Foundation New Scholar Award in Aging (2006), and Harold Brenner Pepinsky Early Career Award in Neurobehavioral Science (2012).