Prof. Pierre Magistretti

Distinguished Professor, Bioscience, Vice President for Research, Director, KAUST Smart Health Initiative


Pierre J. Magistretti, received his MD in 1979 from the University of Geneva and his PhD in Biology in 1982 from UCSD. He is Distinguished Professor at KAUST BESE Division where he was Dean from 2012 to 2020. He is a Professor Emeritus at the Brain Mind Institute at EPFL and at the Departments of Psychiatry at UNIL/CHUV and UNIGE. He is the Director of KAUST Smart Health Initiative and, in 2022, he was appointed as Vice President Research, KAUST.

Magistretti discovered the central role that glial cells play in the brain’s neuro- energetics. Glial cells were long considered as “glue” that held neurons together. Magistretti shifted this paradigm by identifying the fundamental physiological function of glia and lactate in the brain. These findings uncovered the origin of the signals detected by functional brain imaging as well as the role of astrocytes in neuronal plasticity and neuroprotection.

Magistretti is the author of over 250 publications in international peer-reviewed journals; he is on the Clarivate list of highly-cited scientists (> 45’000), with an h- index of 106. He has been elected at the International Chair 2007-2008 of the Collège de France, Paris. He is member of Academia Europae and of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences.

Magistretti has been awarded the Camillo Golgi Medal Award, the Emil Kraepelin Professorship, the Goethe Award of the Canadian Psychological Association and the Ott Prize of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences. In 2016, he shared with David Attwell and Marcus Raichle the IPSEN Foundation Prize and he is an honorary member of the Chinese Association of Physiological Sciences. He served as the President of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and the International Brain Research Organization. Magistretti has been on the Board of Trustees of the Human Frontiers Science Program Organization from 2003 to 2020 and a Fellow of the American College of Psychopharmacology. He is member of several academic scientific advisory boards including the Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives. He is the co-founder of two start-up companies based on his research, LynceeTech and GliaPharm. 

All sessions by Prof. Pierre Magistretti

Deans's Panel: KSHI's focus on cross disciplinary research
02:00 PM
Prof. Iain M Young

Professor, Environmental Science and Engineering, Dean of the Biological and Environmental and Engineering Division

Prof. Gianluca Setti

Dean of the Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Science and Engineering (CEMSE) division, KAUST

Prof. Chak Chan

Professor, Chemical Engineering, Dean of Physical Sciences and Engineering (PSE), KAUST

Prof. Pierre Magistretti

Distinguished Professor, Bioscience, Vice President for Research, Director, KAUST Smart Health Initiative