Laura Wolszon, Ph.D.

Scientific Associate, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute
Instructor, Neuroscience for Architecture, NewSchool of Architecture and Design


Laura Wolszon has a Ph.D. in Biophysics and focused her research career on the neurophysiology and development of the brain.  After 12 years in the lab at Columbia, she transitioned into technology transfer at Columbia and then UC San Diego. In 2005, she took a position at UCSD’s Calit2, where she built interdisciplinary strategic partnerships and research programs, both internally and with university and industry partners.  She now is a scientific associate in a neuroscience laboratory at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla.

Beginning in 2003, Dr. Wolszon engaged frequently with many of the architects and neuroscientists who founded the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture (ANFA) and developed an interest in using knowledge gained from neuroscience research in support of evidence-based design. While working at Calit2, she initiated a collaboration among scientists and architects to study brain responses during wayfinding in VR environments*.

From 2017-2019, Laura re-developed and taught the first of 4 courses for a certificate program in Neuroscience for Architecture at the NewSchool of Architecture and Design in San Diego.  This course is offered to undergraduates and graduate students, to help them identify and utilize key concepts and scientific evidence when designing for the built environment.

Dr. Wolszon became a member of the ANFA Board of Directors in February, 2020. Her focus is to help grow ANFA’s influence and encourage new research opportunities, and to facilitate future partnerships between scientists and architects.

Selected Publications

*Gramann, J. Schulze, N.B. Shamlo, E. van Erp, A. Vankov, S. Makeig, L. Wolszon, E. Macagno (2008) Neural responses during navigation in the virtual aided design laboratory: brain dynamics of orientation in architecturally ambiguous space.  In: Movement and Orientation in Built Environments: Evaluating Design Rationale and User Cognition; S. Haq, C. Hölscher, S. Torgrude (Eds.), SFB/TR 8 Report No. 015-05/2008, Report Series of the Transregional Collaborative Research Center SFB/TR 8 Spatial Cognition, Universität Bremen / Universität Freiburg.