Dr. Joaquín Fuster

Emeritus Professor of Anatomy and Psychiatry at UCLA (USA).
Conference title: 
The Prefrontal Cortex Opens the Child to its Future
Curriculum vitae: 

Joaquín Fuster was born in Barcelona in 1930.  He studied Medicine at the University of Barcelona.  He specialized in Psychiatry in Barcelona and Innsbruck (Austria). In 1957, he moved to the United States to begin his career in neuroscience at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In 1962-64, he worked as a visiting researcher at the Max-Planck Institute for Psychiatry in Munich. In 1967 he defended his Doctoral Thesis at the University of Granada (Spain). Subsequently and until now, Dr. Fuster has been professor of Psychiatry and a member of the Brain Research Institute and the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, UCLA School of Medicine.

He has made notable contributions to cognitive neuroscience: (1) He demonstrated that activation of the mesencephalon reticular formation facilitates visual attention (Science, 1958). (2) He was one of the pioneers of the intracellular registry in the brain, by demonstrating it an exponential psychophysical function between the intensity of a luminous stimulus and the amplitude of synaptic potentials in the visual system (Z. vergl. Physiol., 1965). (3) He demonstrated reversible defects of operant memory by selective cooling of cortical areas (Brain Res., 1970; Exp. Neurol., 1981).  (4) With one of the first recording systems with microelectrodes in the awake animal, designed by him (Science, 1961), he discovered the first "memory cells" in the prefrontal cortex of the monkey using operant memory (Science, 1971; J. Neurophysiol., 1973). (5) He discovered the first memory cells in the inferotemporal cortex (Science, 1981; J. Neurosci., 1982).  (6) He demonstrated functional interactions between inferotemporal and prefrontal cells in visual operant memory (Brain Res., 1985). (7) He discovered tactile memory cells in the parietal cortex (PNAS, 1996, 2000). 8) Using operant memory tests of different modalities, he revealed the distributive and associative nature of cortical memory networks (Nature, 2000; Cerebral Cortex, 2007).

The list of his honors and awards includes the following: Honor Member of the Royal National Academy of Medicine (1997); Jean-Louis Signoret Prize (University of La Sorbonne, Paris, 2000); International Fyssen Award (2000); Doctor Honoris Causa, Miguel Hernández University, Alicante (2003); Goldman-Rakic Award in Cognitive Neuroscience (2006); Miller Award from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (2006); Doctor Honoris Causa, Autonomous University of Madrid (2008).

Fuster is the author of more than two hundred papers and four books: Memory in the Cerebral Cortex (Cambridge: MIT, 1995); Cortex and Mind: Unifying Cognition (NewYork: Oxford, 2003); Brain and Freedom (Barcelona: Ariel, 2014); The Prefrontal Cortex (London: Elsevier Academic Press, 2015, fifth edition).

For more details, please consult http://www.joaquinfuster.com

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