Dr. Rafael Yuste

Rafael Yuste is professor of Biological Sciences and Neurosciences at Columbia University in the City of New York.  He was born and educated in Madrid, where he studied medicine at the Autonomous University of Madrid and the Fundación Jiménez Díaz. After working with Sydney Brenner in Cambridge (United Kingdom), he completed his doctoral studies with Larry Katz and Torsten Wiesel at The Rockefeller University in New York. Later he worked at Bell Labs with David Tank and Winfried Denk.  Since 1996 he has been a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University. In 2005 he was appointed Howard Hughes Institute researcher and co-director of the ​Kavli Institute for Brain Science at Columbia and in 2014 director of the Center for Neurotechnology at Columbia. 

Dr. Yuste is interested in understanding how the cerebral cortex works and how it is damaged in epilepsy and mental illness. To study these questions, Dr. Yuste and his team have developed optical microscopy techniques, such as calcium imaging of neuronal circuits, two-photon imaging of spines and neurons, holographic microscopy, and two-photon photostimulation with caged compounds and optogenetics. 

Dr. Yuste has received numerous awards for his work, including the Young Investigator Award from the Mayor of New York, the American Neuroscience Society Award, the Pioneer Investigator Award from the Director of the NIH, the Telva Science Prize, the Hero Award from the Querer Foundation, and the Eliasson Prize for global leadership from the Tällberg Foundation. He has been appointed Honorary Academician of the Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences. In 2012 he was named one of the 5 most influential scientists in the world by Nature magazine.

Dr. Yuste was the main promoter of the Brain Activity Map. This project was adopted in 2013 by President Obama as the BRAIN initiative and has given rise to the international BRAIN initiative. Dr. Yuste is currently involved in the adoption of ethical rules for neurotechnology and artificial intelligence (the “NeuroRights Initiative”) and their incorporation into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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