Prof. David Ziegler

David Ziegler

Adjunct Professor


Dr. Ziegler completed his PhD in Systems Neuroscience in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he took a cutting-edge multimodal neuroimaging approach to examine the effects of healthy aging and Parkinson’s disease on cognitive control systems in the brain.

In addition to his appointment at USF, Dr. Ziegler is Director of the Technology Program for Multimodal Biosensing at Neuroscape and is a Specialist in Neurology at UCSF with affiliations in the Weill Institute for Neurosciences & Kavli Institute for Fundamental Neuroscience. The current focus of his research is on unmasking the neural mechanisms that account for age-related changes in cognitive control and translating these basic neuroscience findings into cognitive neurotherapeutic interventions to alleviate impairments in attention in diverse populations. He has a particular interest in merging complementary mind-body approaches, such as meditation and yoga, with neuroplasticity-based tech-focused interventions to improve cognition while also enhancing overall wellbeing. Dr. Ziegler has received numerous awards, including a UCSF School of Medicine Technology Transformation Grant, a Human Brain Mapping Trainee Travel Award, the Angus MacDonald Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at MIT, the Denison University President’s Medal, and was a two-time recipient of the Harvard/MIT/MGH Advanced Multimodal Neuroimaging Training Program Fellowship. His research has been featured in The New York Times, the Faculty of 1000, the MIT Spotlight, Nature Outlook, and in numerous regional media outlets.

Research Areas

  • Cognitive and Translational Neuroscience
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • Geriatric Neurology and Psychiatry


  • PhD, Systems Neuroscience, MIT, 2011
  • BS, Psychobiology, Denison University, 1999

Prior Experience

  • Director of Multimodal Biosensing, Technology Program, Neuroscape, UCSF
  • Associate Professional Researcher, Department of Neurology, UCSF

Awards & Distinctions

  • UCSF School of Medicine Technology Transformation Grant

  • Human Brain Mapping Trainee Travel Award

  • The Angus MacDonald Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at MIT

  • The Denison University President’s Medal

  • The Harvard/MIT/MGH Advanced Multimodal Neuroimaging Training Program Fellowship, two-time recipient

Selected Publications

  • Ziegler DA, Simon AJ, Gallen CL, Skinner S, Janowich JR, Volponi JJ, Rolle CE, Mishra J, Kornfield J, Anguera JA, Gazzaley A. (2019). Closed-loop Digital Meditation Improves Sustained Attention in Young Adults. Nature Human Behaviour, 3(7):746-757. DOI: 10.1038/s41562-019-0611-9

  • Hammond T, Xing X, Ma D, 4, Nho K, Crane P, Elahi F, Ziegler DA, Liang T, Cheng Q, Jacobs N, Lin A, Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiatives (ADNI). (2020). β-Amyloid and Tau Drive Early Alzheimer’s Disease Decline While Glucose Hypometabolism Drives Late Decline. Communications Biology. 3, Article number: 352. DOI: 10.1038/s42003-020-1079-x

  • Mishra J, Sagar R, Parveen S, Kumaran S, Modi K, Maric V, Ziegler DA, Gazzaley A. (2020). Closed-loop Digital Meditation Facilitates Neuro-Cognitive and Behavioral Development in Adolescents with Childhood Trauma. Translational Psychiatry. 10, 1-13. DOI: 10.1038/s41398-020-0820-z

  • Ziegler DA, Janowich J, Gazzaley A. (2018). Differential Impact of Interference on Internally- and Externally-Directed Attention. Scientific Reports, 8(1):2498.

  • Ziegler DA, Ashourian P, Wonderlick JS, Sarokhan AK, Prelec D, Scherzer CR, Corkin S (2014). Motor Impulsivity in Parkinson Disease: Associations with COMT and DRD2 polymorphisms. Scand J Psychol, 55(3): 278-86.

  • -Ziegler DA, Wonderlick JS, Ashourian P, Hansen LA, Young JC, Murphy AJ, Kopuzha CK, Growdon JH, Corkin S. (2013). Substantia nigra volume loss before basal forebrain degeneration in early Parkinson disease. JAMA Neurology, 70(2), 241-247.