David DiGregorio, PhD, head of the neuroscience department at Institute Pasteur in Paris, has been named chair of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, effective Jan. 1, 2023.
At the Institute Pasteur, DiGregorio leads a multidisciplinary research team of neurophysiologists, computational neuroscientists, and physicists specializing in optics and statistical analyses. His research program identifies the biological rules governing how synaptic function and integration contribute to the temporal dynamics of neural circuit activity underlying precisely timed behaviors.
“Dr. DiGregorio brings an impressive research program that will integrate well with the work of other scientists and program leaders at the School of Medicine,” said Dean John J. Reilly, Jr., MD. “We are pleased to bring a world leader in his field to join with our talented faculty. His work will strengthen connections between teams at our school and lead to breakthroughs that improve our understanding of human health. We look forward to his contributions.”
DiGregorio’s laboratory is searching for the biological rules governing how communication between neurons at synapses sculpt brain activity underlying temporally precise behaviors. His team also brings expertise in advanced optical and electrophysiological methods that are essential for monitoring, interpreting, and predicting neural circuit function.
The combination of theoretical neuroscience, careful laboratory experimentation using advanced technology, and precise measurement and analysis of DiGregorio’s research program will build on other investments, such as the creation of the new CU Department of Biomedical Informatics, that have been made by the CU School of Medicine in recent years to advance scientific discovery and understanding.
DiGregorio earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Stanford University in 1992 and his doctorate in neuroscience from UCLA in 2000. He then performed a postdoctoral fellowship at University College London, focused on the biophysical mechanisms determining synaptic strength and short-term plasticity at central nervous system synapses. In 2005, DiGregorio was recruited by the French National Center for Research (CNRS) to head an independent research team. In 2010, DiGregorio joined the Institute Pasteur to lead a research unit.
“At the Pasteur Institute, I have had the privilege of directing an initiative designed to leverage multiple disciplines, including immunology, microbiology, cell and infection biology, to explore holistic approaches to understanding the nervous system and its associated diseases,” DiGregorio said. “I’m pleased that the University of Colorado School of Medicine emphasizes such collaboration too because working together creates new opportunities for discovery.”
DiGregorio will succeed Angie Ribera, PhD, who has been a member of the School of Medicine faculty since 1990 and has led the department since 2012. She also serves as associate dean for research education, providing leadership for the School of Medicine’s PhD-granting programs in the basic sciences.