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Michael Merzenich


Michael Merzenich (Photo: Peter Bagde).

Michael Merzenich is Professor Emeritus in Neuroscience at the University of California, San Francisco.

Born in Lebanon, Oregon, Merzenich gained a first degree in science at the University of Portland in 1964, and earned a PhD in physiology at Johns Hopkins University in 1968. After postdoctoral research at Madison, Wisconsin, he joined the UCSF Department of Otolaryngology, working on a prototype for today’s electronic cochlear implants. He was Co-Director of the Coleman Memorial Laboratory, then Co-Director of the Keck Center for Integrative Neuroscience at UCSF until retirement in 2007.

From 1996 to 2003 he led the company Scientific Learning, then co-founded Posit Science, developing computer-based ‘brain training’ for enhancing cognitive performance.

Merzenich is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine. His awards include the Zülch Prize of the Max-Planck Institute, the Purkinje Medal, and the Karl Spencer Lashley Award.

Life story: Michael Merzenich

Michael Merzenich giving a lecture at the 2016 Kavli Prize week (Photo: Thomas Eckhoff).

Healthy adult human brain viewed from the side. The brain is viewed as if looking through the head from a person’s right ear. Brain cells communicate with each other through these nerve fibers, which have been visualised using diffusion imaging tractography. (Credit: Henrietta Howells, NatBrainLab, Wellcome Images)

Read the life story of Kavli Prize Laureate Michael Merzenich:

The Brain's Remarkable Capacity for Change


Watch videoes with Michael Merzenich:

Michael Merzenich rethinks how brains can change.