Antonio Damasio

David Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience Director, Brain and Creativity Institute

Research Overview
Antonio Damasio is an internationally recognized leader in neuroscience. His research has helped to elucidate the neural basis for the emotions and has shown that emotions play a central role in social cognition and decision”making. His work has also had a major influence on current understanding of the neural systems, which underlie memory, language and consciousness. Damasio directs the newly created USC Brain and Creativity Institute.

Life and work
Damásio studied medicine at the University of Lisbon Medical School in Portugal, where he also did his medical residency rotation and completed his doctorate. Later, he moved to the United States as a research fellow at the Aphasia Research Center in Boston. His work there on behavioral neurology was done under the supervision of Norman Geschwind.

As a researcher, Dr. Damásio’s main interest is the neurobiology of the mind, especially neural systems which subserve memory, language, emotion, and decision”making. His research has helped to elucidate the neural basis for the emotions and has shown that emotions play a central role in social cognition and decision”making. Damásio has formulated the somatic markers hypothesis.
As a clinician, he and his collaborators study and treat the disorders of behavior and cognition, and movement disorders.

Damásio’s books deal with the relationship between emotions and feelings, and what are their bases in the brain. His 1994 book, Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain, was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and is translated in over 30 languages. His second book, The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness, was named as one of the ten best books of 2001 by New York Times Book Review, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, a Library Journal Best Book of the Year, and has thirty foreign editions. Damásio’s most recent book, Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain, was published in 2003. In it, Damásio explores philosophy and its relations to neurobiology, suggesting that it might provide guidelines for human ethics. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine, and the European Academy of Arts and Sciences. Damásio has received many awards including the Prince of Asturias Award in Science and Technology, Kappers Neuroscience Medal, the Beaumont Medal from the American Medical Association and the Reenpaa Prize in Neuroscience. He is also in the editorial board of many important journals in the field.

His current work involves the social emotions, decision neuroscience and creativity. Prof. Damásio is married to Dr. Hanna Damásio, his colleague and co”author of several works.


Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain 1994
The Somatic marker hypothesis and the possible functions of the prefrontal cortex, 1996
The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness, 1999
Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain, 2003



Hanna Damasio

Dana Dornsife Chair in Neuroscience and Professor of Psychology and Neurology

Biographical Sketch
HANNA DAMASIO, M.D. Hanna Damasio M.D. is Dana Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience and Director of the Dana and David Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center at the University of Southern California. She is also an adjunct professor at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California. Until 2005 she was a Distinguished Professor of Neurology at the University Of Iowa College Of Medicine, where she directed the Human Neuroanatomy and Neuroimaging Laboratory. Using computerized tomography and magnetic resonance scanning, she developed methods of investigating human brain structure and studied functions such as language, memory and emotion, using both the lesion method and functional neuroimaging. Besides her numerous scientific articles she is the author of the award”winning Lesion Analysis in Neuropsychology (Oxford University Press), which has been used worldwide in brain”imaging work, and of Human Brain Anatomy in Computerized Images (also Oxford University Press), the first brain atlas based on computerized imaging data, now in its second edition. Her research has receivedcontinuous Federal support for over two decades. Hanna Damasio is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Neurological Association. She recently shared the Signoret Prize in cognitive neuroscience with Antonio Damasio for their pioneering work in social cognition. She holds honorary doctorates from the Universities of Lisbon and Aachen. The Dornsife Imaging Center is dedicated to elucidating the neurobiology of mind and behavior, in health and disease, using state”of” the”art brain imaging technology. The Center works closely with the Brain and Creativity Institute whose activity is aimed at illuminating the brain basis of social behaviors (ranging from moral judgments and communication to economic decisions), normal and pathological cognitive development in children, consciousness, and the processes of creativity in art, science and technology. (For more information go to the Dornsife Imaging Center website at and the Brain and Creativity Institute website at

• Honorary Doctorate, University of Aachen
• Honorary Doctorate, University of Lisbon
• MD, University of Lisbon Medical School, 1/1969
Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

Tenure Track Appointments
• Dana Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience; Director, Dana and David Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center; Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience and Neurology, University of Southern California, 07/01/2005
• Professor, Department of Neurology, University of Iowa, 01/01/1985
• Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology, University of Iowa, 01/01/1977
• Distinguished Professor, University of Iowa, 01/01/1998 – 07/01/2005
• Associate Professor, Department of Neurology, University of Iowa, 01/01/1981 – 01/01/1985

Non-Tenure Track Appointments
• Distinguished Adjunct Professor, University of Iowa, 07/01/2005
• Adjunct Professor, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, Ca, 01/01/1994
• Instructor, Department of Neurology, University of Iowa, 01/01/1976 – 01/01/1977

Other Employment
• Co-Director, Division of Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Neurology, University of Iowa, 01/01/1985 – 01/01/2004
• Director, Laboratory for Neuroimaging and Human Neuroanatomy, Department of Neurology, University of Iowa, 01/01/1982 – 01/01/2004
• Director, The Migraine Clinic, Department of Neurology, University of Iowa, 01/01/1977 – 01/01/1988
• Fellow-Associate, Department of Neurology, University of Iowa, 06/01/1976 – 10/01/1975

Description of Research
Summary Statement of Research Interests
Hanna Damasio pioneered the use of brain imaging methods in the study of brain lesions, such as
computerized tomography and nuclear magnetic resonance imaging, which can be used for diagnosing
all of the diseases that affect the brain. She is director of the USC Dana and David Dornsife Cognitive
Neuroscience Imaging Center. The second edition of Damasio’s detailed atlas of the human brain based
on computerized images Human Brain Anatomy in Computerized Images, which is a standard reference
in the field, was published in 2005. Her award”winning book Lesion Analysis in Neuropsychology is
widely used by neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists, psychiatrists, and neuroscientists, as
well as, medical and neuroscience students. She is the author of numerous papers on the
neuroanatomical substrates of higher brain function.


Mina J. Bissell, PH.D.

Distinguished Scientist, Life Sciences Division Faculty, Comparative Biochemistry, UC Berkley Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Berkeley, California

Dr. Bissell is a pioneer in the area of the role of extracellular matrix (ECM) and microenvironment in regulation of tissue”specific function with special emphasis in breast cancer, where she has changed some established paradigms. She earned an A.B. with honors in chemistry form Harvard/Radcliffe College and a Ph.D. in bacterial genetics from Harvard University. She joined the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1972, became Director of Cell & Molecular Biology in 1988, and was appointed Director of all of Life Sciences in 1992. Upon stepping down as the Life Sciences Division Director, she was named Distinguished Scientist. She is also the OBER/DOE Distinguished Scientist Fellow in Life Sciences.
Dr. Bissell has authored more 280 publications, is member of 5 international scientific boards, and is on the editorial board of a dozen scientific journals, including Science magazine. She has given more that 80 ‘named and distinguished’ lectures. Her awards include the Lawrence Award from AACR, the first “Innovator Award” of the US DOD, the Brinker Award from Komen Foundation, the Discovery Health Channel Medical Honor and medal, the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center Ted Couch Lectureship and Award, the Pezcoller Foundation”AACR International Award for Cancer Research the 2008 Excellence in Science Award from FASEB.
Dr. Bissell was elected as a Fellow of AAAS, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academics, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. She served as President of the American Society of Cell Biology and the International Society of Differentiation. She has received honorary doctorates from Pierre & Marie Curie University in Paris and the University of Copenhagen.


João Silveira Botelho

Following a high-profile career in both the public and private sectors, João Silveira Botelho was appointed to the Executive Committee of the Champalimaud Foundation in 2005.
Born in Lisbon, João Botelho graduated with a degree in Law from the University of Lisbon in 1978.
During a diverse professional career he has held a number of public sector posts. Among other positions, Mr. Botelho was Head of the Cabinet of the Secretary of State for Social Security in the ninth constitutional government (1983″1985), and Head of the Cabinet of the Ministry of Health in the tenth constitutional government (1985″1987). He has also been a prominent figure in Portuguese private enterprise and has held several high”profile positions including being President of the Board of Hospitalia, SA, from 1988 until 1995. João Botelho is currently a director of SGAL (Sociedade Gestora Alta de Lisboa), NA Gestão e Negócios, SGPS, and of the Belver Hotel Group. In addition to these, he is a member of the Executive Committee of the Champalimaud Foundation, a role he began in 2005.



Leonor Beleza

President of the Champalimaud Foundation

Leonor Beleza is a graduate of the University of Lisbon Law School, where she has also worked as an Assistant Professor. During a distinguished professional career she has held a number of high”profile public offices. Among other positions, she was Secretary of State of the Presidency of the Cabinet (1982″ 83), Secretary of State for Social Security (1983″85), and Minister of Health (1985″1990) in the Portuguese Government. She has been elected as a Member of Parliament on several occasions and on two occasions she has served as Vice”President of the Parliament (1991″94, 2002″2005). In addition to her prominent role in public affairs Mrs Beleza has also played an active role in the private sector.
Leonor Beleza is currently the Chairman of the Portuguese League for People with Physical Disabilities, Chairman of the Advisory Board of the D. Pedro IV Foundation, and a member of the General Councils of the CEBI Foundation and of the Gil Foundation. She is also a vigorous campaigner for women’s rights, a cause she has supported for many years. In 2004, Leonor Beleza was appointed Chairman of the Champalimaud Foundation by the will of Mr António Champalimaud.