Gazzaniga inducted into Institute of Med.

by Elise Waxenberg | 10/28/05 5:00am

Michael Gazzaniga, director of Dartmouth's Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and former dean of the faculty, will join 1,601 of the top health-science experts in the country as a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, the institute announced Monday.

Gazzaniga will leave the College at the end of Fall term for a full-time position at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he will direct a new interdisciplinary center for the study of the mind.

Currently the David T. McLaughlin distinguished professor of psychology and brain sciences, Gazzaniga is one of 64 new members elected by the active IOM membership. He joins six other Dartmouth-affiliated experts who are already IOM members, including five associates from the Dartmouth Medical School.

"Let me simply say I am flattered by the appointment, and I am grateful for the honor. I hope to serve the institute well," Gazzaniga said.

IOM President Harvey V. Fineberg welcomed the institute's new members on Monday.

"Election recognizes those who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care and public health. It is considered one of the highest honors in these fields," Fineberg said.

Members of the institute, which was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, conduct research in medical science, public health issues and health policy. Their studies are used to provide independent, science-based counsel for the government and other public entities.

College Provost Barry Scherr called Gazzaniga's election a "well-deserved recognition of his many outstanding contributions to the advancement of knowledge and of his stature as a scientist."

"His colleagues at Dartmouth are also mindful of his contributions to our college, and we are delighted to see this national recognition," Scherr said.

Gazzaniga is widely regarded as the founder of the field of cognitive neuroscience, which encompasses research on how the brain enables the mind.

A 1961 Dartmouth graduate, Gazzaniga first returned to the College to direct its cognitive neuroscience program in 1988. He was appointed to the President's Council on Bioethics in 2002 and, the same year, appointed dean of the faculty -- a position from which he resigned in 2004.

Gazzaniga also secured a $21.8-million grant from the National Science Foundation for the College's new Center for Cognitive and Educational Neuroscience. Gazzaniga will travel to Hanover regularly over the next four years in order to continue overseeing the project.

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