Damien Fair

University of Minnesota

Damien Fair is a Cognitive Neuroscientist and Professor in the Institute of Child Development and the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. He is also the Redleaf Endowed Director of the Masonic Institute of the Developing Brain.

Combining technical advances in functional MRI, advanced mathematics, and expertise in psychology and neuroscience, Dr. Fair has been able to demonstrate several basic principles of brain development and its relationships to typical and atypical behaviors. His work cuts across both human and animal models using these non-invasive tools as a bridge between species.

He has published more than 150 journal articles in high-impact journals including Nature Neuroscience, Molecular Psychiatry, Neuron, PLoS, PNAS, Science, and more. His work has been cited well over 28,000 times. In 2012, he was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers Issued by President Barack Obama and the White House. In 2020 he was named a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellow. He currently serves on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and Council for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Fair is deeply committed to public service, community engagement, and STEM education. He founded and directed the Youth Engaged in Science (YES!) initiative and the OHSU Fellowship for Diversity and Inclusion. He’s also served on the Society for Neuroscience Program Committee, Public Education and Communication Committee, Press Committee, Workforce and Training Groups, and maintained a position on the BrainFacts.org editorial board. He has given several briefings to the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus and the American Brain Coalition on the intersection of brain development and policymaking. He aims to advance the intersection of cognitive psychology and neuroscience and widen the reach of those who are trained and ‘touched’ by the efforts.

Education and Training


Augustana College


Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine