Dr. Elizabeth Gould is an American neuroscientist and professor of psychology at Princeton University’s Department of Psychology. She studies structural plasticity in the adult mammalian brain because she is interested in changes in the physical characteristics of neurons that occur as the result of certain stimuli. She wants to determine the impact changes in brain structure have, as well as to identify factors that enhance plasticity and cell survival in the brain.
Dr. Gould was born in 1962 and received her Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience in 1988 at UCLA. In 1989, she was a post-doc working in the lab of Bruce McEwen at Rockefeller University, investigating the effect of stress hormones on rat brains. During her research, she developed evidence pointing to the idea that the brain might also heal itself. Library research into the historical record revealed at least two other scientists had come to the same idea. Each time, though, the work was abandoned due to severe criticism from other scientists. After eight years of research, she finally published a series of papers that convinced the scientific community that the brain does, in fact, heal itself. She continues her work at Princeton University as a professor of Psychology within the Department of Psychology.
In 2009 she was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) for her groundbreaking work on neurogenesis.
Listen to Dr. Gould in conversation the evening she accepted the Benjamin Franklin Medal.