The mission of The Brain Observatory is to advance scientific and personal knowledge of the brain.

Our Primary Goals are:

  1. To create spaces where members of the public can engage in neuroscience research and interact with neuroscientists

  2. To connect diverse communities to neuroscience knowledge, tools and career opportunities

  3. To promote personalized and preventive healthcare for the brain

Board of Directors

Jacopo Annese, Ph.D.
President and CEO

Alexander P. Butterfield

Sandra Dodge
Treasurer and Secretary

Medical Director

Stephen M. Dorros, M.D., F.A.C.R.
Radiology, UC San Diego

Scientific Advisory Committee


Roger Guillemin, M.D., PhD.
1977 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine, The Salk Institute (San Diego, CA)

Dana Small, Ph.D.
Psychiatry and Psychology, Yale University (New Haven, CT)

Todd Herrington M.D., Ph.D.
Neurology, Harvard Medical School (Cambridge, MA)

Jennifer McNab Ph.D.
Radiology, Stanford University (Stanford, CA)

Justin Feinstein, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology, Laureate Institute for Brain Research (Tulsa, OK) 

Santosh Kesari, MD, Ph.D.
Neurosurgery, John Wayne Cancer Center (Santa Monica, CA) 


Jack Glaser, Ph.D.
President, MBF Bioscience (Burlington, VT)

Robert C. Switzer III Ph.D.
President and Chief Scientific Officer, NeuroScience Associates Inc. (Knoxville, TN)

Todd Huffman
CEO & Co-Founder, 3Scan (San Francisco, CA)


Jacopo Annese, PhD.

Dr. Jacopo Annese graduated from the University of Rome in Italy with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology and zoology. He earned a master’s degree in neurological sciences at University College London, U.K., and completed the Ph.D. program in cognitive neuroscience at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH. He subsequently trained in computational anatomy at the Montreal Neurological Institute, Canada, and at the Laboratory of Neuroimaging at the University of California, Los Angeles. He joined the UCSD Dept. of Radiology in 2005 where he served as a research faculty member until 2015. His research has been featured in a variety of broadcasting and publishing media, including PBS NOVA, National Geographic, BBC, Discovery Channel, The New York Times, Bloomberg News, Financial Times, Esquire Magazine, and Discover Magazine.

Dr. Annese's primary goal in the field of neuroscience is to conduct research that is open to public engagement and promotes the highest standards in data sharing and collaboration within the scientific community.


Roger Guillemin, MD, PhD.
1977 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine
The Salk Institute (San Diego, CA)

Professor Guillemin graduated from the University of Lyon’s medical school in 1949, then pursued an interest in endocrinology at the University of Montreal’s Institute of Experimental Medicine and Surgery, receiving his PhD in 1953. Guillemin’s lead a team of researchers that eventually isolated a molecule called TRH (thyrotropin-releasing hormone), which ultimately controls all the functions of the thyroid gland. discovered somatostatin, which regulates the activities of the pituitary gland and the pancreas and is used clinically to treat pituitary tumors. He was among the first to isolate endorphins, brain molecules that act as natural opiates.

Professor Guillemin was awarded the 1977 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his work with hypothalamic hormones. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has received the Lasker Award in Basic Sciences and the National Medal of Science. In his spare time Professor Guillemin makes digital paintings with Mac computer. His art has been exhibited internationally, including a 2011 exhibit at the San Diego Natural History Museum.


Dana Small, Ph.D.
Psychiatry and Psychology, Yale University (New Haven, CT)

Dr. Small, is the Deputy Director of the John B. Pierce Laboratory at Yale University. She received her MSc in Neuroscience in 1998 and her PhD in Clinical Psychology in 2001 from McGill University Dana studies the perception of taste and its representation in the human brain. Using multiple brain scanning technologies her team looks at how external influences modulate the perception of taste Recently her interests have expanded to include understanding how individual factors, such as body mass index, smoking status, alcohol use, sensitivity to reward, and genetic makeup interact with influence food selection. Dana received the Ajinomoto Award for Research in Gustation in 2003, the Moskowitz Jacobs Award for Research Excellence in the Psychophysics of Taste and Smell in 2005, and the Firmenich Flavor and Fragrance Science Award in 2007 for her work on taste-odor integration.

Currently, Dana serves on the Executive Committee for the Association of Chemoreception Sciences and on the Editorial Boards of Chemosensory Perception and the European Journal of Neuroscience. She is also honored to have been included as an expert muggle scientist in the book “The Science Behind Harry Potter” by Roger Highfield. In addition to tasting and feeding, Dr. Small enjoys juggling, playing guitar and spending time with her husband, David and son, Darwin.


Todd Herrington M.D., Ph.D.
Neurology, Harvard Medical School (Cambridge, MA)

Todd Herrington is a Neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He serves as the Director of the Movement Disorders Deep Brain Stimulation program at Massachusetts General Hospital where he treats patients with Parkinson’s disease, tremor,  dystonia and other movement disorders. Dr. Herrington's research focuses on the impact of deep brain stimulation on the motor, cognitive and psychiatric manifestations of movement disorders. Using a combination of intraoperative neurophysiology, noninvasive neurophysiology and neuroimaging,

Dr. Herrington aims to further our understanding of the role of the human basal ganglia in health and disease and to develop novel approaches to neuromodulation to treat motor and nonmotor symptoms. His research has been supported by the Bachman-Strauss Dystonia & Parkinson Foundation, the American Academy of Neurology and the National Institutes of Health.


Jennifer McNab, Ph.D.
Radiology, Stanford University (Stanford, CA)

Dr. McNab is assistant professor in the Department of Radiology at Stanford Medical School. Her research focuses on the development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques that probe the structural and functional architecture of the human brain. She investigates new techniques that can improve MRI contrast,  encoding and reconstruction of images. She specializes in the use of high-field 7T MRI to resolve microstructural features in the human brain.


Justin Feinstein, PhD.
Clinical Psychology, Laureate Institute for Brain Research (Tulsa, OK) 

Dr. Justin Feinstein is a Clinical Neuropsychologist at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research (LIBR).  He completed his bachelor’s degree and clinical internship at the University of California, San Diego.  He earned his doctoral degree at the University of Iowa and completed his postdoctoral training at the California Institute of Technology.

For the past 15 years, he has explored the neural underpinnings of fear and anxiety using both functional neuroimaging and detailed case studies of rare human patients with focal brain lesions.  While at LIBR, Dr. Feinstein hopes to translate this research into novel therapies for ameliorating stress and anxiety in clinically anxious patients.  


Santosh Kesari, MD, PhD,
Neurosurgery, John Wayne Cancer Center (Santa Monica, CA)

Dr. Santosh Kesari is a board-certified neurologist and neuro-oncologist and is currently Chair and Professor, Department of Translational Neuro-oncology and Neurotherapeutics, John Wayne Cancer Institute. He is also Director of Neuro-oncology, Providence Saint John’s Health Center and leads the Pacific Neuroscience Research Center at Pacific Neuroscience Institute. Dr. Kesari is ranked among the top 1% of neuro-oncologists and neurologists in the nation, according to Castle Connolly Medical Ltd and an internationally recognized scientist and clinician. He is a winner of an Innovation Award by the San Diego Business Journal. He is on the advisory board of American Brain Tumor Association, San Diego Brain Tumor Foundation, Chris Elliott Fund, Nicolas Conor Institute, Voices Against Brain Cancer, and Philippine Brain Tumor Alliance. He has been the author of over 250 scientific publications, reviews, or books. He is the inventor on several patents and patent applications, and founder and advisor to many cancer and neurosciences focused biotech startups. In addition, he is a member of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute.


Jack Glaser, Ph. D.
President, MBF Bioscience (Burlington, VT)

Jack Glaser, Ph.D., is the president and founder of MBF Bioscience; a software company specialized in computer-assisted microscopy tools. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the University of Vermont, and his Ph.D. from The John Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD).  Jack founded MicroBrightField (renamed MBF Bioscience in 2006) with his father, Dr. Edmund M. Glaser in 1987 with the goal to develop powerful yet affordable neuroanatomical imaging software for the global research community. Today, MBF software is used by over 1000 researchers around the world. Jack was named the "2007 Vermont Small Business Person of the Year" by the US Small Business Administration and received the Gibbetts ward for Small Business Innovation Research. Under his leadership, BF was voted among the Best Places to Work in Vermont in 2007, 2000, and 2010.


Robert C. Switzer III Ph.D.
President and Chief Scientific Officer, NeuroScience Associates Inc. (Knoxville, TN)

Dr. Switzer graduated from Michigan State University with a B.S. in Physics and Astronomy and then joined the Biophysics department under Dr. Barnett Rosenberg to study olfactory transduction mechanisms. Later, the intrigue of comparative neuroanatomy attracted him to the laboratory of Dr. John I. Johnson under whom he obtained his M.S. and Ph.D. in Biophysics.

Dr. Robert C. Switzer, III has over thirty-five years of experience in the neuroscience field. Immediately prior to founding NSA, he was the Director of the R. H. Cole Neuroscience Lab at the University of Tennessee which focuses on research related to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Switzer also has held positions at the National Institute of Mental Health and the Comparative Animal Research Lab in Oak Ridge Tennessee. Dr. Switzer has authored more than forty manuscripts in peer reviewed journals, published over fifty scientific meeting abstracts and contributed to seven books. In addition, Dr. Switzer is the inventor of NSA’s MultiBrain® technology and was awarded a patent for silver staining techniques used to detect Alzheimer’s disease pathology.


Todd Huffman, MS.
CEO & Co-Founder, 3Scan (San Francisco, CA)

Todd earned his Master’s in Computational Biosciences at Arizona State University and his Bachelor’s in Neuroscience at the California State University at Long Beach. He earned his Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Studies at Nanyang Technical University, Singapore. Huffman co-founded a firm, 3Scan, to develop new techniques for biomedical imaging in 2011. The company utilized a patented technique to digitize brain and other biological tissue in 3D using robotic micro-dissectors that also act as imaging devices. The company has raised over $20M in investments to expand the capacity as well as the market share of the invention.

He is also on the Board of Directors of Humanity+, an international nonprofit membership organization which advocates the ethical use of technology to expand human capacities. They support the development of, and access to, new technologies that enable everyone to enjoy better minds, better bodies, and better lives. In other words, they want people to be better than well.