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Doris Ying Tsao is an American systems neuroscientist and professor of biology at the California Institute of Technology. She is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and the director of the T&C Chen Center for Systems Neuroscience.[2] She won a MacArthur "Genius" fellowship in 2018.[3]

Doris Tsao
Doris Tsao.jpg
ResidenceUnited States
Alma materCalifornia Institute of Technology
Harvard University
Known forvisual perception
Scientific career
Visual perception
ThesisStereopsis (2002)
Doctoral advisorMargaret Livingstone

Tsao grew up in College Park, Maryland and attended Springbrook High School.[4] She completed her B.S. in biology and mathematics (in just three years) at Caltech in 1996, and she received a Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School in 2002 working with Margaret Livingstone.[5] She was the head of an independent research group at the University of Bremen in Germany until 2009, when she joined the faculty at Caltech.[6]

Tsao is recognized for pioneering the use of fMRI with single-unit electrophysiological recordings and for discovering the macaque face patch system[7] for face perception.[8][9][10] She was named in MIT Technology Review's TR35 list in 2007.[11] She described a neural code that a primate's IT cortex uses to process faces.[12][13] She is serving on the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director (BRAIN Initiative Working Group 2.0) established in 2018, the group that advises on allocation of $1.511 billion toward neuroscience research.[14]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Svitil, Kathy (6 December 2016). "Caltech and the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute Launch Major Neuroscience Initiative". California Institute of Technology.
  3. ^ Healy, Melissa (October 4, 2018). "How does the brain see? MacArthur fellow Doris Tsao says the answer will reveal how the brain works". Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ "National Merit Semifinalists". Washington Post. 24 September 1992.
  5. ^ Tsao, Doris (2006-10-06). "Eppendorf 2006 Grand Prize Winner". Science. 314 (5796): 72–73. doi:10.1126/science.314.5796.73. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 17023645.
  6. ^ "Doris Tsao - Simons Foundation". Simons Foundation. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  7. ^ TEDx Talks (2013-02-01), You Look Familiar: Unearthing the Face Within: Doris Tsao at TEDxCaltech, retrieved 2017-06-06
  8. ^ "2014: Tsao". The Golden Brains. Minerva Foundation. November 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  9. ^ Tsao, Doris Y.; Freiwald, Winrich A.; Knutsen, Tamara A.; Mandeville, Joseph B.; Tootell, Roger B. H. (September 2003). "Faces and objects in macaque cerebral cortex". Nature Neuroscience. 6 (9): 989–995. doi:10.1038/nn1111. ISSN 1097-6256.
  10. ^ Tsao, Doris Y.; Freiwald, Winrich A.; Tootell, Roger B. H.; Livingstone, Margaret S. (2006-02-03). "A Cortical Region Consisting Entirely of Face-Selective Cells". Science. 311 (5761): 670–674. doi:10.1126/science.1119983. ISSN 0036-8075. PMC 2678572. PMID 16456083.
  11. ^ Singer, Emily (2007). "Innovator Under 35: Doris Tsao, 31". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  12. ^ Chang, Le; Tsao, Doris Y. (2017-06-01). "The Code for Facial Identity in the Primate Brain". Cell. 169 (6): 1013–1028.e14. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2017.05.011. ISSN 0092-8674. PMID 28575666.
  13. ^ Sheikh, Knvul (1 June 2017). "How We Save Face--Researchers Crack the Brain's Facial-Recognition Code". Scientific American.
  14. ^ "Advisory Committee to the NIH Director - Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) - National Institutes of Health (NIH)". Retrieved 2018-04-27.

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