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Recipient of a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

In December 2010, Dr. Mauricio Delgado stood among 84 other researchers who were honored with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and photographed with President Barack Obama. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Delgado joined Rutgers-Newark’s Psychology Department in 2006 where he created the Delgado Lab for Social and Affective Neuroscience. He and his research group use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate how the human brain learns from positive and negative reinforcers, and how this information is used to guide decision-making. Specifically, the goal of the research is to investigate how negative reinforcement influences the human brain and behavior, as a precursor to understanding how humans learn to cope with potential negative outcomes such as drug abuse. Delgado’s research group is funded in part by a five-year grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Delgado has contributed many articles to journals such as Nature Neuroscience, the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, the Journal of NeuroscienceScience, Neuron and Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. Because his research delves into intriguing areas -- the relationship between fear of losing money and the fear of physical pain, how thinking positive thoughts fights cravings, and how stress affects the judgment of financial traders, to name a few -- his research has been reported on by media such as New Scientist, The Economist, Scientific American, MSN Money, BBC News and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

A native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Delgado received his bachelor of science degree in neuroscience and behavior from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Both his master and doctoral degrees he earned from the University of Pittsburgh. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at New York University before joining the Rutgers faculty.

Delgado discussed his research on the Breakfast at the Barracks program.