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Brian G. Dias, PhD

Assistant Professor
Yerkes National Primate Research Center and Emory University School of Medicine (Department of Psychiatry)

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar



Brain Dias, PhD, is a researcher at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. He grew up in India and received his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Dias’ research has investigated the neurobiology underlying stress, depression, social behavior and fear in rats, lizards, birds, fruit flies and mice. Currently, he seeks to understand how stress or trauma impacts mammalian neurobiology, physiology and reproductive biology, and how parental legacies of stress or trauma influence offspring. Armed with this understanding, Dr. Dias and his team aim to devise treatment interventions to lessen the effects of stress or trauma in both ancestral and descendant populations.

Toward this goal, Dr. Dias uses molecular, cellular, genetic, epigenetic, physiological and behavioral approaches to investigate how micro (genome, epigenome and hormones) and macro (ancestral, in utero and post-natal experiences) environments influence the biology of an organism and its responsiveness to stress or trauma. While most of his current work uses mice, generous collaborators have enabled Dr. Dias and his team to begin investigating the biological basis of behavioral states and neuropsychiatric disorders in nonhuman primates and humans. 

Dr. Dias’ work has been widely covered by media, including features in Nature, on the BBC and in a list of the 10 Most Important Discoveries of 2014 published by La Recherche Magazine.

In addition to his scientific work, Dr. Dias is interested in scientific innovation and education. This interest has seen Dr. Dias participate in the 2016 Sci-Foo Camp – an invitation-only ideas festival often described as a mini-Woodstock of ideas. Google, O’Reilly Media, Nature and Digital Science co-organized the festival.

Dr. Dias is a faculty member of the Emory Tibet Science Initiative, teaches Neuroscience to Tibetan Buddhist monastics and was recently on a panel discussing “Consciousness – Perspectives from Western Neuroscience and Buddhist Philosophy” with His Holiness – The Dalai Lama, Dr. Christof Koch (Director, Allen Brain Institute), Dr. Carol Worthman (Emory University), Ven. Lodoe Sangpo and Ven. Gelek Gylatsen (Tenzin Gyatso Scholars). Video link:


View publications on PubMed