Alcino Silva

Alcino Silva
Phone: 
310-794-6609

Alcino Silva was born in Portugal in 1961, but his family moved to Luanda, Angola, when he was 3 years old. He came to the United States to attend Rutgers University in 1979. There, he worked with William Sofer on Drosophila tRNA non-sense suppressors and minored on philosophy (epistemology). In 1983 he joined the graduate program of human genetics at the University of Utah, where he worked with Ray White, a pioneer in Human Genetics, on the inheritance of epigenetic information (Silva et al, 1988; Cell PMID: 2898978). While a graduate student, Dr. Silva organized yearly graduate symposia where leading luminaries from the Arts and Sciences shared their insights on the nature of innovation and creativity. During his post-doctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with Nobel Laureate Dr. Susumu Tonegawa (1988-92), Dr. Alcino J. Silva introduced transgenic mice to neuroscience studies of learning and memory and pioneered the field of Molecular and Cellular Cognition (Silva et al, Science 1992, PMIDs 1321493 &1378648). His first independent position (1992) was with the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY, where his research group had a key role in the development of Molecular and Cellular Cognition into a mainstream neuroscience field. In 2002 Dr. Silva founded and became the first President of the Molecular and Cellular Cognition Society, an international organization with more than 4000 members and with branches in North America, Asia and Europe. Besides work on molecular and cellular cognition, his laboratory also works on developing approaches for systematic studies of scientific practices. The goal is to develop pragmatic, validated, general principles for increasing the efficiency of science. In 2006/2007 Dr. Silva served as Scientific Director of the Intramural Program of the National Institute of Mental Health. He is currently Professor of Neurobiology, Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences, and Psychology. He currently heads the Center for Genetic Studies of Cortical Plasticity, and serves as the co-director of Plasticity and Learning studies at UCLA. He also serves in the Board of Regents of the University of Minho, Portugal. He has been awarded a number of prizes and distinctions, including most recently the Order of Prince Henry (2008), the highest award given by the Portuguese Government to a Private citizen, the Marco Canavezes Medal of Science (2008), and the Senior Roche Award For Translational Neuroscience (2009).