Winrich Freiwald, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Rockefeller University

Winrich Freiwald is a professor at Rockefeller University in New York and head of the Laboratory of Neural Systems. After undergraduate studies in Göttingen and Tübingen, he performed his graduate work in the laboratory of Wolf Singer at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, Germany. In the following years, he was a lecturer at the University of Bremen, a postdoctoral research scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, a fellow at the Hanse Institute for Advanced Study in Delmenhorst, Germany, and head of the primate brain imaging group at the University of Bremen. He took a sabbatical at the California Institute of Technology before starting his laboratory at Rockefeller University. His research program is dedicated to uncovering the neural mechanisms and computational principles of intelligence, and he is best known for the discovery of the brain’s face-processing network and the elucidation of its key mechanisms. He and his research group discovered two additional areas and a new class of cells linking face perception to person memory, networks supporting social interactions, and an area controlling the focus of attention. To enable such discoveries, his group uses a combination of techniques including functional magnetic resonance imaging and electrophysiological recordings. Freiwald has received awards for his scientific discoveries, including a 2009 Feodor-Lynen fellowship, a 2010 Klingenstein fellowship award in the neurosciences, a 2010 Pew scholarship in the biomedical sciences, a 2011 McKnight scholarship, a 2011 NSF career award, a 2013 New York Stem Cell Foundation Robertson neuroscience investigator award, the 2016 W. Alden Spencer Award, the 2018 Perl-UNC Neuroscience Prize, the 2018 Golden Brain Award, a 2019 Vannevar Bush faculty fellowship, and the 2020 Karl Spencer Lashley Award of the American Philosophical Society.

Past Project: Circuit mechanisms of social cognitive computations

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