I am thankful to have discovered so many diverse passions in life, each offering me a unique opportunity to try to make this world a better place.

I hope you enjoy exploring and watching their evolution over time.

-Adam Gazzaley

I am thankful to have discovered so many diverse passions in life, each offering me a unique opportunity to try to make this world a better place.

I hope you enjoy exploring and watching their evolution over time.

-Adam Gazzaley

Bio

Adam Gazzaley was born in New York City in December 1968. By the age of 7 he knew that he wanted to be a scientist; inspired by watching Cosmos, voracious consumption of science fiction and frequent trips to the Museum of Natural History. At 13, he began his daily 4hr round trip treks on the NYC subway between his home in Queens and the Bronx High School of Science. It was at 16 that he had his first exposure to scientific research, volunteering in a biophysical chemistry laboratory at Columbia Medical School. He went on to attain a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry at Binghamton University. There he engaged in research on cryopreservation, and spent summers focused on spinal cord regeneration at NYU Medical School.

From 1990 to 1998, Adam lived in Manhattan where he obtained an M.D. and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. His doctoral research focused on neurotransmitter receptor plasticity in the brain in response to aging and injury. This research earned him the prestigious 1997 Cortical Scholar Award. It was also in 1997 that he discovered nature photography, leading to his first company – Wanderings – and his first website – comewander.com. In 1998, he moved to Philadelphia for Neurology residency at the University of Pennsylvania. Following Medical Board certification in 2002, he packed up a Jeep and drove across the country to San Francisco. There he conducted postdoctoral research training in cognitive neuroscience at University of California, Berkeley, and concurrent clinical training in cognitive neurology at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

In 2005, Adam joined the faculty at UCSF as an Assistant Professor in Neurology and Physiology and launched his own cognitive neuroscience laboratory – Gazzaley Lab – as well as a functional brain imaging center. Gazzaley Lab focused on understanding the neural mechanisms of attention and working memory, as well as their changes in the aging brain. In 2017, after demonstrating success with a custom-designed, closed-loop video game (Neuroracer) he designed to improve cognitive abilities in older adults (cover of Nature Sept 2013), he turned his lab into Neuroscape – a translational neuroscience center engaged in technology incubation and scientific research with the mission to design, develop and validate brain assessment and optimization tools. Adam is currently Professor in Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry at UCSF and the Executive Director of Neuroscape.

Sharing his research and perspectives has been a major priority for Adam throughout his career. He has filed multiple patents for his inventions, authored over 130 scientific articles, and delivered over 600 invited presentations around the world. His has been consistently profiled in high-impact media, such as The New York Times, New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, TIME, Discover, Wired, PBS, NPR, CNN and Today Show. He wrote and hosted the nationally-televised PBS special “The Distracted Mind with Dr. Adam Gazzaley”, and co-authored the 2016 MIT Press book “The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World”, winner of the 2017 PROSE Award in the category of Biomedicine and Neuroscience. Dr. Gazzaley has received many awards and honors, including the 2015 Society for Neuroscience – Science Educator Award for his contributions to the public education of science.

Over the last decade, Adam has expanded his interactions with industry – as an entrepreneur, investor and advisor – in an effort to translate his research and inventions into real world impact. He is the Co-founder and Chief Science Advisor of Akili Interactive, a company developing therapeutic video games, Co-founder and Chief Scientist of JAZZ Venture Partners, a venture capital firm investing in experiential technology to improve human performance, and Co-founder and Chief Science Advisor at Sensync, a technology company creating immersive, multi-sensory experiences. He has been a scientific advisor for over a dozen companies including Apple, GE, Nielsen, Deloitte, Magic Leap, the VOID, and the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.

Science & Invention

Neuroscape – Founder and Executive Director

Neuroscape is a translational neuroscience center at UCSF engaged in both technology development and scientific research to advance cutting-edge technologies as novel brain assessment and optimization tools.

Neuroscape focuses on assessing and optimizing cognitive control abilities using a wide range of technologies to help both healthy and impaired populations. Neuroscape also supports the neuroscience efforts of others by providing unique, state-of-the-art development studios and research facilities to drive the rapid translation of neuroscience into real-world solutions.

Adam & Neuroscape

July 2005, 15 years after completing college (followed by graduate school, medical school, internship, residency, post-doctoral training and clinical fellowship), I started my own laboratory at UCSF. It was just me, one research assistant and a room of empty desks. I rapidly filled an experimental suite with EEG, TMS and computer equipment as well as a scanner bay with a 3T MRI. Over the next 8 years, our cognitive neuroscience lab – Gazzaley Lab (or Gazzlab) – grew a team of over a dozen members (postdocs, students and research assistants) and made significant research contributions in the domains of aging, neural networks, attention and memory.

By 2016, it became clear that the lab I had started a decade earlier was no longer a traditional university laboratory. It had evolved into something much bigger and broader, with multiple laboratories, a wide-array of technologies and a world-class team of faculty, scientists, researchers and engineers. And so, in January 2017 I united everything I had built thus far and launched a new UCSF research center – Neuroscape – with the mission of bridging technology and neuroscience to create new approaches to better understand and enhance brain function. You can read all about our activities here.

Adam’s Inventions: Neuroracer, Beepseeker, ACE, Body-Brain Trainer, Rhythmicity, Meditrain, Glass Brain, Engage, Virtual Attention, Labyrinth

Akili Interactive – Co-Founder, Board of Directors, Chief Science Advisor

akili

Akili Interactive is a prescription digital medicine company combining scientific and clinical rigor with the ingenuity of the tech industry to reinvent medicine.

Therapeutically-active Digital Medicine

Akili’s software-based prescription digital medicine is delivered through a creative and immersive action video game experience to keep patients engaged and immersed in the treatment for the delivery of therapeutic activity with excellent compliance. Treatment looks and feels like a high-end interactive action video game. Our products leverage the fun, deep engagement, and rewards that make games incredibly compelling but, unlike typical video games, this personalized gameplay experience is engineered with adaptive algorithms designed to treat a disease or disorder.

Adaptive, Personalized Treatment

The algorithms adapt in real-time and between treatment sessions, automatically adjusting the level – or dose – for a personalized experience adapted to the needs of each patient. Treatments continuously challenge patients so it is never too easy or difficult, encouraging them to improve their performance.

Real-time Monitoring

Second by second monitoring of patient progress enables the treatment to continuously track patient compliance and progress, and for those data to be rapidly available to clinicians and caregivers to close the treatment loop performance.

Adam & Akili

May 2010, I stood on a stage in Boston at the Games for Health conference. I was sharing a first peek at our new data showing signs of cognitive improvement in the older adults who were played our video game Neuroracer. After my talk, a young guy in a suit (serious, but kind looking) approached me and asked if I would join him for lunch to discuss a potential business opportunity. hat guy was Eddie Martucci, from Boston-based PureTech Ventures, who was exploring a company idea to use video game technologies as therapeutics. He wanted me to consider the technology behind Neuroracer as being the seed to start a new company. Over the coming months, I brought Matt Omernick into the discussion, a close friend, creative lead at Lucas Arts and co-developer of Neuroracer. In 2011, we founded Akili Interactive with the mission of advancing the first FDA-approved video game as a digital medicine into the world. I encourage you to follow the exciting activities of Akili here.

Sensync – CoFounder and Chief Science Advisor

sensync-logo

Sensync is a new media and technology company that specializes in the creation of remarkable multi sensory experiences. We’re developing a revolutionary system that combines visuals, sound, vibrotactile, and olfactory stimulation to deliver unparalleled, fully immersive content.

Adam & Sensync

For many years, I had a vision of a new type of massage experience, one that was directed not at muscle repair and recovery, but at restoration of the mind from cognitive fatigue, or what I conceptualized as a “deep brain massage”. With advances in virtual reality technology, I saw an emerging opportunity to accomplish this goal via an immersive nature experience. This turned into a true reality after I reconnected with my long-time friend Alex Theory, a successful multi-media producer, who had converging interests. After months of deep-dive brainstorming and proof-of-concept development with an extended team including Jo Gazzaley, Jeff Stone and James Jensen, all the pieces fell into place. In 2017, we launched Sensync to create a first-of-its-kind “sensory immersion vessel” and deliver to humanity a much needed deep brain massage.

Investment

JAZZ Venture Partners – CoFounder and Chief Science Advisor

The leading venture capital firm focused on technologies that enhance human performance. JAZZ VP partners with visionary entrepreneurs building companies at the intersection of digital technology and neuroscience — extending the boundaries of human performance and optimizing how we live, learn, train, work, and experience the world.
jazz-grey
The leading venture capital firm focused on technologies that enhance human performance. JAZZ VP partners with visionary entrepreneurs building companies at the intersection of digital technology and neuroscience — extending the boundaries of human performance and optimizing how we live, learn, train, work, and experience the world.
Portfolio Companies

Adam & JAZZ

In March 2015, I became involved in discussions with four friends (Andrew Firlick, Zack Lynch, John Spinale, John Harris) about the promise of a newly emerging field that all of us envisioned would be a major part of the future. We had originally come together to support the growth of Akili Interactive, each in our own way, but we saw an opportunity to foster the development of many different companies that would use non-invasive technologies as tools to enhance the human condition. This led to the creation of JAZZ Venture Partners and our first human performance fund. You can read all about our activities here.

Personal Investments

The Beehive

The Beehive is a ‘60s-inspired neighborhood cocktail bar that channels free-spirited, funkier times.

Located in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District, The Beehive offers era apropos craft cocktails
and delicious fare that exudes modern Mad Men vibes.

Adam & Beehive

Hosting friends in our home for meals and drinks is an important part of our lives. So, when Jo and I were approached to invest in an exciting new cocktail bar in our neighborhood by our dear friend, Arnold Wong, we jumped at the opportunity and became the first investors in The Beehive. We are very proud of what the amazing Beehive team has created. Please check it out when you are in San Francisco.

Art

Wanderings – Photographer

Adam & Wanderings

It was the fall of 1997 when my uncle handed me a 1968 Nikkormat (the year I was born) that he retrieved from his camera collection as a gift for me, along with a 36-roll case of Fuji Velvia film. You see, I had spent the entire day during a family gathering at his house completely immersed in Galen Rowell’s Mountain Light, which I randomly pulled off one of his book shelves. Galen’s presentation in this masterpiece of stunning nature photographs, coupled with enthralling descriptions of technology, cognition, nature and outdoor adventure, captivated me in a way that had not occurred since I first encountered science as a 7-year old. I was never the same after that day. With that first camera, and Galen’s book at my side, I dove head first into this new found passion.

I’ve been traveling the world ever since seeking beauty in nature and learning how to capture and share those experiences. This journey led to the creation of my first website (comewander.com), a book, and a small business – Wanderings – to sell fine art prints of my images. This lasted until 2006 when Gazzlab was born, which demanded all my time. In December 2017, twenty years after I began wandering in Mountain Light, I relaunched comewander.com with a collection of my favorite 400 images. Wanderings lives on today through my global travels as a speaker, and remains a major love in my life. I sincerely hope comewander.com helps you to step out of the inevitable burdens of everyday experience and to appreciate nature as the transformative portal I believe it to be.

Wine

Synapse – Winemaker

Pinot Noir from Sta. Rita Hills. 2015 – 2016 – 2017

Pinot Noir from Sta. Rita Hills. 2015 – 2016 – 2017

A synapse is a space.

A connecting space that binds neurons to form the extraordinary neural network that is our brain.

Just as a synapse creates something more than a collection of individual neurons, our hope is that synapse connects people, binding the network that is our community.

Adam & Synapse

Starting our own wine was a natural evolution of the love that my wife, Jo Gazzaley, and I share for wine, nature and creating awesome stuff. After years of being inspired by watching our close friends the Harlans create some of the world’s best wines, we decided in 2015 to baby step into wine production ourselves. Working with an amazing team at The Wind Foundry in Napa, we’ve helped bring a lovely Pinot Noir from the grapes of Santa Rita Hills into the world – Synapse – to share with our friends.

Writing

The Distracted Mind – Author

A book explaining why our brains are so distractable, how technology aggravates it, and how to live better in a high-tech world without giving up modern technology.
*Winner of 2017 PROSE Award in the category of Biomedicine and Neuroscience

A book explaining why our brains are so distractable, how technology aggravates it, and how to live better in a high-tech world without giving up modern technology.
*Winner of 2017 PROSE Award in the category of Biomedicine and Neuroscience

Gazzaley and Rosen’s work is brilliant and practical, just what we need in these techno-human times.

Jack Kornfieldauthor of The Wise Heart

Popular Writing

The Cognition Crisis – Medium Jul 2018

Anxiety. Depression. ADHD. Dementia. The human brain is in trouble. Technology is a cause — and a solution.

Taking Control of Your Distracted Mind – Thrive Global Nov 2016

Many of us are awakening to the reality that modern humans are now faced with a critical need to manage our lives more intentionally in the increasingly complex environment that we inhabit. Let’s speak plainly here: This is the direct result of interference generated by the recent explosion in accessibility to information.

How mobile tech can influence our brain – CNN Sep 2012

The rapid evolution of mobile technology has placed quite a burden on our brains.
Nowadays, attention to even the most pressing of matters can be interrupted at any moment by a familiar buzzing in the pocket — a friendly nudge to “pay attention to me!” that many find virtually impossible to resist, even while driving on busy roads.

Scientific Publications

Speaking

Dr. Gazzaley, a public speaker for over a decade, has delivered over 600 invited presentations around the word. His keynote talks presented in five continents and over two dozen countries have captured the imagination of diverse audiences: academics, entrepreneurs, investors, educators, lawyers, bankers, doctors, judges, children, healthcare professionals, technologists, engineers and congressmen. The venues where he has spoken have been just as wide-ranging: universities, hospitals, retirement communities, prisons, music festivals, elementary schools, Apple stores, White House, Congress, conferences (SXSW, TED, DreamForce, CES, Exponential Medicine, Fortune Brainstorm Health, Wired Health, Miken Institute…) and companies (Apple, Google, Amazon, Sony, Microsoft, GE, Deloitte, RedBull, Samsung, NVIDIA, SalesForce…). For his extensive contribution to the public education of science he was awarded with the 2015 Society for Neuroscience – Science Educator Award.

If you are interested in having Adam Gazzaley speak at an event, please contact speaker@gazzaley.com with the details including date, location, audience, honorarium/ speaker fees, travel.

Talks

GTC Keynote Presentation

GTC
San Jose, CA Nov 2014

Promise of Tech and the Brain

TEDxSonoma
Santa Rosa, CA Nov 2015

The Future of the Mind

World's Fair Nano
San Francisco, CA Jan 2017

Virtual Reality and the Brain

Games for Change
New York, NY Sep 2017

Media

Video

Hosted by renowned neuroscientist and M.D., Ph.D., Dr. Adam Gazzaley, THE DISTRACTED MIND delves deeply into attention, distraction, the myth of multi-tasking, and how to use the latest research to possibly improve our skills and abilities at any point during our lives. While the brain can seem almost boundless in its potential, it has limitations, such as processing speed, attentional limitations, working memory limitations, and sensitivity to interference, which can be both internal and external.

Dr. Gazzaley explores the impact that multi-tasking has on our safety, memory, education, careers and personal lives. Most importantly, THE DISTRACTED MIND tells us what we can do to improve our attentional abilities and our focus as we age, and as media continues to dominate our landscape. From changing our behaviors, to literally changing our brains, Dr. Gazzaley shares information you need to survive and thrive in the information age.

  • There’s an app for that, says scientists. Three times a week for a month, [Ann Stewart] played a video game called “NeuroRacer,” guiding a car down a winding road while picking out f...

  • With the explosive growth in social media, emails and related media in recent years, NBC’s Maria Shriver continues our “Brain Power TODAY” series with a look into whether technology could be harming o...

  • So for this episode of Next Level, we first went behind the scenes into the Neuroscape lab at UCSF. Lead by neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley (pictured above), the team at Neuroscape has spent the past 12 ...

Print

  • WiredUK – “Game your brain: the new benefits of neuroplasticity” by Joao Medeiros

  • Akili Interactive plans to run clinical trial for ‘Project: EVO’ game with aim of getting regulatory approval Doctors don’t usually prescribe videogame play. But one company, which has just raised $30...

  • “You just crashed a little bit,” Adam Gazzaley said. It was true: I’d slammed my rocket-powered surfboard into an icy riverbank. This was at Gazzaley’s San Francisco lab, in a nook cluttered with mult...

Advising

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  • Apple
  • Nielsen
  • GE
  • Fitstar
  • TEDMED
  • AFAR
  • Rio Grande
  • Sync Project
  • President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition