Indre Viskontas, MM, PhD

Cognitive Neuroscience Affiliate

An experienced observer of human behavior, Dr. Indre Viskontas has published ground-breaking work on the neural basis of memory and creativity and has won numerous research and teaching awards. Holding a PhD from UCLA in cognitive neuroscience, Dr. Viskontas studies how memories, creativity and other cognitive processes are supported by neural networks, using the latest techniques, including direct recordings from neurons in the human brain, high-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging and voxel-based morphometry.

Dr. Viskontas’s work is characterized by innovation and a focus on the "big" questions in neuroscience: how do brain cells code memory? What memory processes enable creative thinking? How can the paradoxical facilitation of creativity emerge from a degenerating brain?

Since completing her PhD in 2006, she has published more than 30 articles and chapters, including several seminal articles in top scientific journals such as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Journal of Neuroscience, Current Opinion in Neurology and Nature: Clinical Practice. Her dissertation was recognized as the best of her class, and she was a finalist for the New York Academy of Sciences dissertation prize.

Dr. Viskontas has also been the recipient of numerous fellowships, including a 4-year Julie-Payette Research Fellowship awarded to the top 10 Canadian graduate students in the Life Sciences, the Ursula Mandel Fellowship, a UCLA dissertation fellowship, a McBean Family Foundation fellowship, the Charles and Sue Young award for the top five graduate students at UCLA, and the prestigious Larry Cermak award at the Memory Disorders Meeting.

She is currently affiliated with the Memory and Aging Center at UCSF, under the direction of Dr. Bruce Miller. Her ongoing collaborations include projects with internationally-acclaimed artist Deborah Aschheim, with whom she is creating art pieces and scientific research investigating the interplay between memory, creativity and the brain, as well as several studies of creativity in patients with degenerative dementias. She has been invited to speak at scientific conferences around the world, and is the Associate Editor of the journal Neurocase. She is also hosted a television series called Miracle Detectives which aired in 2011 on the Oprah Winfrey network.

Dr. Viskontas is also a classically-trained soprano with a masters of music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and performs with regional opera companies and chamber music groups in the Bay Area.