The Brain Plasticity Revolution and an Impending Rebirth of Psychiatric and Neurologic Medicine

Strategies for rapidly and inexpensively identifying neurological/psychiatric weakness and distortion—combined with genomics and increasingly more sophisticated chemical analyses of blood and other body fluids—now provide us with simple, scalable strategies for delineating specific aspects of preclinical stages of neurological and psychiatric disorders. In parallel, we have an increasing understanding of how to engage the plastic brain in ways that reverse those weaknesses and distortions on a path to neurological normalcy. The word for broadly achieving such renormalization is prevention—or in already diagnosed patients, cure—two goals that up to now have rarely been achieved in brain-targeted medicine. This scientific explosion foretells a rapid transformation from a treatment-based to prevention-based brain medicine era.

Dr. Michael Merzenich is an emeritus UCSF professor who is broadly recognized for his seminal research in the science of neuroplasticity, and for his team’s efforts to translate this research into improvements in brain performance and organic brain health in normal and in variously struggling child and adult populations. He also led a UCSF team that developed the modern cochlear implant. Merzenich has published several hundred papers in prestigious scientific journals; been awarded nearly 70 U.S. patents; with UCSF’s permission, co-founded 3 companies focused on the translation of this research for human benefit; and has received many international prizes and awards for his teams’ ground-breaking research.


Robert Lee Kilpatrick


MLF: Health & Medicine

Speaker photo courtesy Dr. Michael Merzenich.

Image - Michael Merzenich

Dr. Michael Merzenich

Ph.D., Professor (Emeritus), UCSF; CSO, Posit Science

Image - Robert Lee Kilpatrick

Robert Lee Kilpatrick

Ph.D., Chair, Health & Medicine Member-Led Forum—Moderator