Columbia University in the City of New York

Nov 30, 20184:00 pm

Growing up in Science: Rui Costa's Unofficial Story

Credit: John Abbott

Featuring Rui Costa, DVM, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience and Neurology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center; Associate Director and Chief Executive Officer at Columbia's Zuckerman Institute. Part of the Growing Up in Science Seminar series.

November 30th, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm at the Jerome L. Greene Science Center (9th floor lecture hall)

This seminar will begin at 4:00 pm at the Jerome L. Greene Science Center on Columbia University’s Manhattanville campus (L7-119).

Rui Costa is the associate director and chief executive officer of Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute and a professor of neuroscience and neurology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

Dr. Costa works closely with the Zuckerman Institute’s codirectors, Nobel laureates Eric Kandel and Richard Axel, and is responsible for the administrative, financial and scientific management of the Institute. Professor Costa has substantial experience in institutional leadership for neuroscience research. Prior to joining Columbia in 2016, he was Director of Research at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Costa is an expert in movement and behavior in health and in disease. To gain insight into these brain processes, he has developed powerful new approaches and methodologies that harness genetics, cutting-edge imaging technology and brain-machine interfaces. Using these tools, his laboratory recently identified the mechanism by which the brain initiates a movement, such as taking a first step. Because problems with movement initiation are a hallmark sign of Parkinson’s disease, deciphering how this process goes awry in Parkinson’s are be critical for developing more effective treatments. Dr. Costa’s research has also shed light on how the brain combines distinct movements into a seamless sequence, called ‘action chunking.’ These investigations have led to a deeper understanding of how the brain learns to repeat movements that elicit a feeling of pleasure, while also providing insight into psychiatric disorders characterized by compulsive or repetitive movements and actions, such as autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Dr. Costa was an International Early Career Scientist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 2012-2017. In 2017, he was awarded the Ariëns Kappers Award from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences for his contributions to the field of neuroscience. In 2014, Dr. Costa was knighted Commander of the Order of Sant'Iago da Espada by the President of Portugal. In 2014, he also received the Young Investigator Award from the Fondation Louis-Jeantet and in 2012 from the Society for Neuroscience.

Growing up in Science is a seminar series initiated at NYU by Drs. Wei Ji Ma and Cristina Alberini in 2014. The speakers of this series do not talk about their science; they talk about the human side of becoming and being a scientist. They share their successes as well as the struggles, weaknesses, detours and failures.

This seminar is a joint effort of the Zuckerman Institute and the Columbia University Postdoctoral Society.

This seminar is part of the Growing Up in Science seminar series. For questions about this or future seminars, please contact series organizers Bianca Jones Marlin, PhD, or Chiara Bertipaglia, PhD.

Venue: the Jerome L. Greene Science Center (9th floor lecture hall)
3227 Broadway, New York, NY 10027

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