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Torsten N. Wiesel

Chair Emeritus

Nobel Laureate & former Secretary General, Human Frontier Science Program Organization President Emeritus, The Rockefeller University

Torsten Wiesel received his MD from Karolinksa Institute in 1954. He has been President-emeritus at The Rockefeller University since 1998, when he stepped down after seven years of service as Rockefeller’s president. Under his leadership 30 new laboratories conducting vanguard research in key areas of biology, chemistry, and physics were added, and the renowned Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center joined with Rockefeller in 1996. Professor Wiesel joined the Rockefeller faculty in 1983 to head a new laboratory of neurobiology, and later that year he was named the university’s Vincent and Brooke Astor Professor. Prior to that he was on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and Chairman of the Department of Neurobiology.

In 1998 Professor Wiesel was elected president of the International Brain Research Organization, which is based in Paris, and was named Secretary General of the Human Frontier Science Program in 2000. He also serves on numerous boards, and held the position of Chair of the Board of Governors of the New York Academy of Sciences from 2001 to 2006.

In 1981 Professor Wiesel shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for studies of how visual information collected by the retina is transmitted to and processed in the visual cortex of the brain. He is also a recipient of the National Medal of Science, the United States’ highest honor for scientific achievement, and of the Presidential Award from the Society for Neuroscience. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, where he presently serves as member of the Council. Since 1994 he has been the Chair of the Committee of Human Rights, NAE and IOM. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society, Foreign Member of the Royal Society, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the New York Academy of Medicine.