With a medical degree and a Ph.D in Cognitive Neuroscience, I divide my time today between the United States, where I am a clinical professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, and France, where I am a lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine of Lyon I.
Until 2001, I directed the Center for Complementary Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh’s Shadyside Hospital. I was also Chief of the Hospital’s Division of Psychiatry and Director of the Behavorial Sciences teaching program.
I received medical degrees from both Laval University, in Canada, and the Necker Faculty of Medicine, in Paris, France. I performed my internship in internal medicine and psychiatry at the Royal Victoria Hospital of McGill University (Canada), then I obtained one of the first Ph.D’s in Cognitive Neuroscience in the United States — at Carnegie-Mellon University (Pittsburgh) under the guidance of Nobel Laureate Herbert Simon, and one of the founders of modern neural network computer modeling Jay McClelland. I was then a resident and later Assistant Professor at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic at the University of Pittsburgh.
In Pittsburgh, I was the cofounder, with Dr. Jonathan Cohen (now director of the Center for the Study of Brain, Mind and Behavior at Princeton University) of the Laboratory of Clinical Cognitive Neurosciences, which I co-directed for eight years. My research was related to computer modelling of cognition and emotions in neural networks, and the study of the links between the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex using functional brain imaging (PET and functional MRI).
Since 1998, I have participated in both clinical and fundamental research projects with the aim of explaining the efficacy and action mechanisms of a set of medical approaches described as "complementary" or "alternative" at the Center for Complementary Medicine of Shadyside Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh.
In the course of my academic career, I have authored more than ninety scientific monographs and I have received several awards for my work. I have been invited to speak at numerous conventions, and universities, such as the universities of Stanford, Columbia, Cornell, and Cambridge.
In the 1990s, following the first Gulf War, I also worked in the humanitarian field. I worked as a general practitioner in Irak (Kurdish territory) in 1991, with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders, then on a voluntary basis, again with MSF, in Guatemala, India (Tibetan refugees), Tajikistan and Kosovo. As a member of the first Board of Directors, I was part of the group that founded MSF,USA/Doctors Without Borders, USA and I served on the Board from 1991 to 2000.
Since June 2000, I have been a member of the OECD’s council of experts on Brain Research and Education Sciences, which suggests directions for education policy based on developments in neurosciences. I was the first consultant for this program on the issue of emotional intelligence.