Moran Cerf is a professor of neuroscience and business at the Kellogg School of Management and the neuroscience program at Northwestern University. Additionally, he holds a position at the Department of Neurosurgery, where he studies patients undergoing brain surgery to examine behavior, emotion, decision making and dreams. This is done by directly recording the activity of individual nerve cells using electrodes implanted in the patient's brain for clinical purposes. Dr. Cerf is a visiting faculty at NYU and also a member of the Institute on Complex Systems.
Dr. Cerf holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Caltech, as well as an MA in Philosophy and a B.Sc. in Physics from Tel-Aviv University.
His research uses methods from neuroscience to understand the underlying mechanisms of our psychology. He has published works that address questions such as: "How are conscious percepts formed in our brain?", "How can we control our emotions?" and "Which brain mechanisms determine if we find content interesting and engaging?". Recently, his focus has been on the neural mechanisms that underlie decision making, thereby offering a new perspective on predicting future choices and investigating how much free will we have in our decisions.
Dr. Cerf holds multiple patents and his works have been published in wide-circulation academic journals such as Nature and Science, as well as popular science journals such as Scientific American Mind, Wired, New Scientist and more. Additionally, his work has been portrayed in numerous media and cultural outlets such as CNN, BBC, Bloomberg, NPR, Time, MSNBC, and dozens of others. He has been featured in venues such as the Venice Art Biennial and China's Art, Science and Technology association, and has contributed to magazines such as Forbes, The Atlantic, Inc., and others.
He has made much of his research accessible to the general public via his public talks at TED, PopTech, Google Zeitgeist, the Davos World Economic Forum, DLD and other venues, gathering millions of views and a large following.
He received several awards and NIH grants for his work, including the instructional improvement grant, and the prestigious president scholarship for excellent Ph.D. He was recently named one of the "Best 40 Under 40 Professors".
Prior to his academic career, Dr. Cerf spent nearly a decade in industry, holding managerial and engineering positions in computers security (as a hacker at Check Point and Imperva), pharmaceutical (CTO, Pharmaco-Kinesis), telecom (product architect, TTI Telecom), fashion (architect, Vivvva), software development (programmer and team leader, Log-On Software), and innovations development (inventor, S.I.T).
Additionally, Dr. Cerf is the Alfred P. Sloan professor at the American Film Institute (AFI), where he teaches an annual screenwriting class on science in films and is a consultant to various Hollywood films and TV shows.