Macagno trained at Columbia University in Physics and is currently a professor at the University of California in San Diego, where he teaches and conducts research in neuroscience. Besides working on the cellular and molecular bases of neural development, his current research includes several projects at the interface of Architecture and Neuroscience, using novel technologies to monitor brain activity in virtual reality environments in the study of spatial navigation and spatial cognition in normal and neurologically impaired subjects, particularly in the built environment. Macagno was President of the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture in 2010-12.serving as its president.
Neuroscience, if it is to be relevant to the field of architecture, has to be broadly conceptualized. Humans interact with the built environment by interpreting and filtering sensory information and generating appropriate behavioral responses. Design of the built environment may benefit, therefore, from a careful consideration of what sensory stimuli will be provided by the design in order to succeed in promoting appropriate responses, given the goals to be achieved – learning, healing, well-being, comfort, accessibility, etc. Since Neuroscience encompasses many levels of analysis, from the molecular to behavioral, which levels should be emphasized in bringing this field into the education of the architect? The answer is not altogether clear, thus the curriculum is a work in progress in which ANFA should play a foundational role.
Innovations in Architectural Education: Immersive environments for evaluating spatial cognition. Edelstein, E; Hamilton, T; Zhang, L; Schulze, J; Macagno, E.In: Bhatt, M., Hölscher, C., Shipley, T. (Eds.), Spatial Cognition for Architectural Design – SCAD 2011 Symposium Proceedings (pp. 63-66). Bremen/Freiburg: Transregional Collaborative Research Center SFB/TR 8 Report No. 029-08/2012 (http://www.sfbtr8.spatial-cognition.de/papers/SFB_TR8Rep029-08_2012.pdf) (2012)
Spatial Cognition and Architectural Design in 4D Immersive Virtual Reality: Testing Cognition with a Novel Audiovisual CAVE-CAD Tool. L. Zhang, J. Gossmann, C. Stevenson, M. Chi, G. Cauwenberghs, K. Gramann, J. Schulze, P. Otto, T.-P. Jung, R. Peterson, E. Edelstein and E.R. Macagno. In: Bhatt, M., Hölscher, C., Shipley, T. (Eds.), Spatial Cognition for Architectural Design – SCAD 2011 Symposium Proceedings (pp. 41-50). Bremen/Freiburg: Transregional Collaborative Research Center SFB/TR 8 Report No. 029-08/2012 (http://www.sfbtr8.spatial-cognition.de/papers/SFB_TR8Rep029-08_2012.pdf) (2012)
Form Follows Function: Bridging Neuroscience and Architecture. E.A. Edelstein and E. Macagno. In: Sustainable Environmental Design in Architecture: Impacts on Health, S. Rassia and P.M. Pardalos, Editors, Springer Optimization and Its Applications, 2011, Volume 56, Part 1, pp. 27-41 (2011).
Wireless Physiological Monitoring and Ocular Tracking: 3D Calibration in a Fully-Immersive Virtual Health Care Environment. L. Zhang, Y. Chi, E. Edelstein, J. Schultze, K. Gramman, A. Velasquez, G. Cauwenberghs and E. Macagno. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 1:4464-7 (2010).
Neural Responses during Navigation in the Virtual Aided Design Laboratory: Brain Dynamics of Orientation in Architecturally Ambiguous Space. E.A. Edelstein, K. Gramann, J. Schulze, N.B. Shamlo, E. van Erp, A. Vankov, S. Makeig, L. Wolszon, E. Macagno. In SFB/TR 8 Report No. Report Series of the Transregional Collaborative Research Center SFB/TR 8 Spatial Cognition. Haq, S., Hölscher, C., Torgrude, S. (Eds.) 2008 (p35-41). (2008).