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Outstanding Faculty Awards

Giorgio Ascoli

Professor of Neuroscience
George Mason University

Giorgio A. Ascoli is University Professor in the Molecular Neuroscience Department and founding director of the Center for Neural Informatics at the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study of George Mason University, where he has been since 1997.

Dr. Ascoli was born in Milan, Italy. After an education in the humanities and achieving top national youth ranking in competitive chess, he trained in Chemistry at the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa, and received a Ph.D. studying proteins involved in learning and neurodegeneration. Dr. Ascoli won the European Phillips Young Investigator Award in 1989 for the synthesis of a new organic molecule and moved to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, in 1994.

Dr. Ascoli is internationally recognized in computational neuroanatomy, and edited the first book on this topic in 2002. He is a leading pioneer in neuroinformatics, and founding editor-in-chief of the premier journal in the field. Dr. Ascoli created and curates NeuroMorpho.Org, the largest collection of three-dimensional digital reconstructions of neurons. This free resource was accessed 50,000 times from hundreds of countries to download 2 million files in five years. Dr. Ascoli is also active in cognitive science and co-edited the book Consciousness, Mind and Brain in 2005. The original test he designed to quantify autobiographic memories (cramtest.info) was taken by more than 1,200 subjects who scored over 11,000 memories. Dr. Ascoli’s 120 peer-reviewed publications were cited more than 1,000 times, and his work was presented at 350 conferences and invited talks and described in textbooks and national media.

Dr. Ascoli serves on review panels for the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and Intel Science Talent Search, national and international scientific advisory boards, and editorial boards of numerous biomedical journals. He received $10 million in grants from the US Departments of Health, Education, and Defense. Dr. Ascoli teaches graduate and undergraduate courses; his lab currently includes 5 postdocs, 8 doctoral students, and 10 interns.

Dr. Ascoli is married to Rebecca F. Goldin (a professor of Mathematics, also at George Mason University). They are proud parents of Benjamin (12), Ruben (10), Gabriel (6), and Jonah (4).

View Nomination Packet

Dr. Georgio Ascoli


"I am not surprised that my most fertile scientific ideas came not from experimental observations or inspiring research articles, but from trying to communicate with fellow humans. There is no discovery without teaching, and this motivates my commitment to mentor many students and postdoctoral fellows."